Simon was looking for some extra help prior to the World Karate Championships in 2002. This is his account of how a telephone session helped him to enjoy the experience:
In 1999 I took up karate again after a 16 year break. I have always enjoyed the style aspects of Karate, especially the "Katas", the series of "forms", or set moves, in which I have won a number of competition medals, but I have never enjoyed the sparring aspects. This probably dates back to the only sparring competition I had ever entered (back in the early 1980's, when I received a cracked rib and badly swollen foot from my only bout). At the end of 2000 I was in the situation that, in order to continue my improvement, I needed to expand my experiences beyond the small club in North Wales at which I trained. An open offer to travel to Birmingham once a month to train with the UK National SKF Karate squad was made to all members of our club, so I took the opportunity to "train with the best". I had no intention of competing for the squad but the opportunity was too good to pass up.
I enjoyed the training but was always very wary of sparring with the most senior members as the very thought of it left me in a genuine "cold sweat", I was basically scared of them. Whenever I was in a sparring situation all I could think of was how to avoid getting hurt, and all my training and tactics went out of the window, resulting in me getting easily defeated, but I didn't care because at least I had avoided getting hurt!!
As 2001 progressed and the World Championships approached I suddenly realised that it was expected that I would be entering into my category (Over 35's). As the championships were being held in the UK for the first time in 20 years everyone training with the squad was expected to compete to provide a large "Home Team" from the host nation. This was more than I had bargained for, but how do you say "No, I am not going to take the opportunity of representing my country at an international level"? As the date approached the fear of sparring got worse and worse and I my techniques got worse and I started getting hurt as my skills disappeared in a fog of fear.
My career is as a trainer so I know a lot of the techniques employed for motivation and visualisation but I could not get past the "fear barrier", so I posted a "cry for help" on a web based forum of HRD and Training specialists, and that is how I met Jo Cooper who specialised in NLP and TFT (Thought Field Therapy). TFT is a "strange" process that appears to work on the same principles as acupuncture, but without needles, and can be used to treat emotional and psychological problems. Jo offered me her assistance and with just one 1/2-hour telephone session was able to do something that completely removed the terror I used to suffer. I cannot explain the theory but would recommend everyone who has a similar "problem" to contact her, as the results were quite amazing. Team colleagues noticed the change immediately, and at the next squad session many people asked "What has happened to you, you have really improved enormously?". I felt fantastic!!.
I had a brilliant time at the championships, despite losing my first round bout, and it has become one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I am happy to say that I was even ahead on points at one stage, and suffered no fear what so ever. I now enjoy all aspects of my Karate and even "relish" the opportunity of competition sparring.
© Jo Cooper 2002-2017. All rights reserved