When I was about 12 years old I had a huge fear. I was afraid of being beaten up by bullies in the street. I was so scared to go to school every day that my parents put me into the Kyokushin Karate School to get this fear out of me.
Every training session, after stretching and practicing punches, we had practice fights. I was fighting against older, bigger and more experienced guys. It was painful, unpleasant and that time lasted an eternity for me.
One day our trainer Alexander said, “Please all sit in a circle. I have to tell you something.” What he said not only changed my attitude to Karate and fighting but also my attitude to impromptu speaking.
“Guys, don’t fear the pain from the punches. Have an attitude to a fight as you would to a game. Here you missed a punch, here you managed to hit your opponent and there you made a successful block. It’s fun, interesting and exciting!” These words struck a chord with me and I will remember them forever.
Once I started to think about the fight as a game I forgot about the pain and instead enjoyed the challenge. My parents found it difficult to believe but after 2 months I even volunteered to participate in the Kyiv city Karate championship.
The fight lasted 1.5 minutes. I punched, I kicked and I made blocks but most often, I was punched. After 45 seconds I was completely exhausted and felt that I couldn’t even raise my hands, nevertheless punch. The audience raved, “Andrii! Andrii! Kick his ass! Kill him!” When you hear your name cheered this should give you more strength and power to win, however in my case it was the opposite. Guess what. My opponents name was also Andrii! He had a green belt and over 7 years experience in Karate.
I lost that fight. I was beaten up. But it was truly fun! Few things can compare with it.
After the fight my trainer called me and said, “Andrii. You fought like a lion. I am proud of you. And by the way you greatly challenged this guy who has won two previous city championships.” These were some of the most pleasant words I have ever heard.
Was it painful to have a full strength fight with the best Karate fighter in Kyiv? Of course! Did I have bruises on my body after the fight? In fact I had them almost everywhere. Was it fun? It was incredibly cool and this fight is one of my best childhood memories.
This Karate championship had a tremendous effect on my development as a fighter not only when sparring but also in life.
If you fight, your success is fully determined by your attitude. In impromptu speaking it’s the same. Your attitude fully determines your learning curve and success.
If you asked me, “Andrii, what is the most important technique to remember to become a world class impromptu speaker?” I would say for sure: “Think about the impromptu speech as a game. Your attitude will change your frame of mind and instead of concentrating on the difficulty of finding the right words your brain will release the perfect answer.”