I am a kickboxing world champion who has Asperger's Syndrome. I want to show through my sport that people with Asperger's can be successful and also to promote awareness and more importantly understanding of Asperger's Syndrome - starting with this blog.
22 November 2013
Sports Awards, Hall of Fame Awards...Speeches....
I always seem to be saying this but it really is true so maybe I should be getting used to it but November has been a very busy, hectic month for me. Sooo much has happened, a lot of wonderful things but truthfully I have been struggling a lot.
Since coming back from Italy and the World Championships I have really struggled. It is not something that is new, I always feel this way after the World Championships and I always forget (inconveniently) that this happens. I get extremely anxious because that goal I was focusing on is suddenly not there anymore and yes it was something I achieved and that was great but it is a bigger change in my life than it may outwardly appear. My training - diet and exercise regimen is so structured, I need adequate amounts of sleep, a little bit of remedial work, eating at specific times and of course training. I have fixed appointments in my calendar and I have something to aim for. Then I go away to a place I have never been before - where things might be done slightly different to the last time I went to a World Championships and then I come back home to a completely different scenario. When I come home everyone wants to see me, wants to congratulate me and catch up. All that structure and training routine is not there anymore, I can still go to the sessions but most of my team are not there, they are resting. I can eat what I like, when I like. It is all different. It feels impossible to keep up that training regimen without the rest of my team doing it, without that clear goal and when those months of hard training are taking their toll. I do need a rest, but I don't like it. So I'm anxious, I have all these other things I can be doing but I don't know where to start or what to do. I don't have the structure I need anymore and I know in a month or two I will be back in that hard training again anyway so whatever I do now is a gap fill. It is tough to deal with and I have been very anxious these past few weeks, so much so it has been hard to get on top of things.
But nevertheless I have still had some great things happen. For a start I was nominated for Northants Sports Disabled Sports Person of the Year, an award I won last year. I was nominated by my friend Austin Hughes who came along with my husband and I. My coach Alex Barrowman was also up for the Coach of the Year award after winning the district award. I didn't expect to win as I was up against some tough contenders who had competed in the Paralympics, plus I had won the award the year before so I was incredibly taken aback when I was announced the winner.
My coach and I at the Northants Sports Awards
This was a great achievement but then I was invited to speak at Anna Kennedy's Autism's Got Talent Roadshow at Baston House in Bromley on the 16th November. It is always an honour to be a part of these events. Everyone performing is so talented at what they do and there is always a great feeling amongst those performing at the show. I had a difficult and emotional speech lined up, I wondered how I would be able to deliver it without any problems but I needn't have worried. Normally for Autism's Got Talent my speeches had been about the things I had achieved and telling my story, I felt this time that many people were already aware of my story and that I needed to deliver more of a message through my story. I am proud to say that it went amazingly well, I had a lot of positive feedback afterwards and Anna requested that I do this speech again when I speak at her autism event at the House of Commons in December. After then I will hopefully be posting and sharing this speech on youtube.
The very next day, 17th November, I was at the Martial Arts Illustrated Hall of Fame awards where I was put forward for an award. I was given my award for determination and achievement in martial arts. It was an honour to receive such an award in the presence of so many dedicated and talented martial artists. There was also an opportunity to say a few words and five years ago I would have been too scared to but this time I saw it as practise to speak to such a large audience. I spoke for only a few minutes but had standing ovations from some areas of the crowd which I didn't notice until I was told by people I was sitting with.
Martial Arts Hall of Fame Award
It has been wonderful to have been recognised both in local sport and also the world of martial arts for my achievements and I also really enjoyed speaking at Autism's Got Talent. Now all that needs to happen is this anxiety to pass and to establish a good structure again.