Making a Fresh Leaf

Sep 6, 2010, 7:19 AM |

"Do not think you have to win.  Rather, think that you do not have to lose"

Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan Karate)

As quotes go, I think this one ranks at about a 9.2/10 on the Yoda scale of awesome and it's something I've had bouncing around in my head for a good few years.  When it's applied to karate it works on plenty of levels, but the trouble is, it doesn't always work out of context.  

Take for instance, chess.  Although before I get ahead of myself, I should perhaps clarify something, after all, not everyone is involved in the "karate scene".  Generally speaking, and brace yourself because this may come as a shock, there are only two outcomes in a karate competition: win or lose.

But as anyone in an endgame with a king behind their only pawn will eventually tell you, "Leave me the **** alone!".  Yes, that's right.  Chess has plenty of draws.  And last season, I was following ol' Funakoshi San's wisdom a little too well.  Out of 14 league games I managed to avoid losing 13 times.  Yay me!  On the other hand I only managed to actually scrape a win off the board 5 times and since I know you're keeping track, I don't have to tell you that left me with 8 draws.  Here's one of them:

So you can see that I was so heavily focused on "not losing" that I missed a quite obvious "win".  At least it provided some merriment to the teams, particularly my 175 ECF opponent who got to point it out once the clocks were stopped.
I know how you feel, Jean-Luc.
One would think that this season I'd aim to go for a more aggressive approach; convert more draws into wins even at the cost of an occasional added loss.  Well one would be wrong.  Instead I'm going to inject a little more spice and variety into my games; create more imbalances and take more risks.  In short, I'm going to play for fun.  We'll see how it goes.