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Monster : The warrior who lost

Yet every time he entered a competition the result would be the same. Monster and his opponent would stand up facing each other and the referee would signal start. Monster would scream and, sustaining the scream, charge forward, running at his opponent, fists flailing. A truly terrifying sight. As often as not Monster’s opponent would side step and Monster would charge past him and step out of the area. The referee would stop the contest, call him back and signal a restart.

I once even saw him charge past his opponent, right out of the arena and into the next one disrupting that fight. Whereupon he stopped, shook his head like a bull, turned round and charged back into the fight.

On each restart Monster would try even harder, shouting louder, flailing faster and charging in with even more aggression and his opponent would side step again. Eventually his opponent would counterattack. A roundhouse kick, placed with surgical precision, would tap the back of Monster’s head as he charged past. The referee would signal ippon and the contest would be over.

No one tried harder than Monster yet he was always beaten by someone who, even in the face of a fierce and daunting opponent, relaxed and allowed himself to perform.

Monster : the warrior who lost.  Or.  Release the performer within

Monster !

In my younger days I was deeply involved in martial arts. For many years I practised and taught karate. Several times each year our club would take part in tournaments, often quite large affairs involving competitors from all over the country. We would occasionally encounter teams from a club in a neighbouring town. Over the years we got to know the people from that club quite well and would occasionally train together.

One particular individual from this club, who we saw compete on a regular basis, was a black belt called Graham. Graham was well over six feet tall and very muscular. His flaming red hair and scarlet complexion belied a very gentle character, except, that is, when he became a real berserker - hence his nickname Monster.

Monster was very dedicated, he never missed a training session and did lots of extra weight training, he was the epitome of the head down and charge school of thought. No one tried harder than Monster.

The moral of our tale
high level performance is as much about allowing the natural performer within to emerge as it is about trying harder. Either one, without the other, is insufficient.