After tonight's sparring session, my sensei said to me, "You're getting pretty good."
I was so surprised, all I could say was, "Really? Thanks!"
My surprise speaks to how sparring isn't just a fight between you and your opponent. It is a fight between you and your own brain. My brain usually tells me, "You suck at sparring. You're too slow." But tonight I consistently landed my points and made my blocks. Tonight, I was pretty good.
The battle is to remember this the next time we're strapping on our shin protectors and popping in our mouthpieces. If I can be pretty good tonight, then I can be better the next time. And maybe even great the time after that.
Fighting your own negative thinking is always half the match.