Once upon a time, I was amongst the top Martial Arts players in the country. I have been playing Karate, Kickboxing competitions for 9 years. Let me be more precise, I have winning medals for 9 years. Today, I wonder what made me leave that and take up a new sport.
I personally love sports that are played individually, not team games. Only you face the consequences of your deeds. I love the thrill, the excitement until the last second of the match. More importantly, I enjoy the hard work and physical training that goes behind every match. Both martial arts and climbing are significant to develop me as an athlete.
I had participated in 7 days camping event. I was an alien to this world. I was fascinated by the so-called, ‘adventure’. I experienced all the activities, Zipline, Rappeling, River crossing, and climbing. With every inch of movement towards the top, there was fear of falling plus satisfaction that you are overcoming it. Slowly steadily when you climb up and look down, instantly you are afraid of falling, yet you don’t want to give up. You strive until you reach the top, that is when you encounter with peace and self-satisfaction. I was contemplated by that feeling, I wanted more of that. It was just like getting attracted to a drug, drug of climbing.
Immediately, I contacted Sachin Gaikwad a renowned climber from Pune. He took initial climbing coaching for me on the natural rocks in FC college. As I was improving the excitement also kept growing. Later I learned about Raje Shivaji Climbing Wall around 2010 and enrolled myself there. It was at this climbing gym, where I was introduced to this adventure sport as a professional sport, where National, International competitions are held. Subsequently, I concentrated on serious climbing and set a goal to participate in the Sports Climbing Competition. I agree I was poor at climbing on artificial holds. For the first time in my life, I started using the Internet for something beneficial. I used to research on International climbing standards, follow all the best climbers, watch their videos and train myself. I was fond of Chris Sharma and his dynos. Dynamic moves were fun for me. I knew that is my kind, so I started focusing on Bouldering.
IMF West Zone competition, 2012 was my first competition as a climber athlete. Although I was not in the ranking, I did learn many things about my climbing. At that time I was doing Karate also. I was also aware of the politics in the Karate, probably that is the reason why climbing was taking over me. It was a hard yet practical decision to stop my Karate practices and give 100% only to climbing. I knew with climbing I have a chance to again showcase my talent, through something that is not my craft.
Every moment is a self-discovery they say. After a decade of dedication to the most aspiring interest in my life, I had discovered another interest. An interest that had changed my priorities. An interest that was about to show me the whole new world of athletes.
Just to relive those times I again participated in the Pune Muay Thai Competition in 2017. I had no practice for 5-7 years, but there was a belief that I would definitely be in the ranking. I won a Silver medal.
I have received and still get showered by immense love and respect from Karate students and my coaches. All the wrestling and fight movies capture my heart even today. I am extremely proud to be associated with such a sport that has shaped my life. I am sure the mental strength and focus I have are only because of Martial Arts. Martial Arts is in my blood, wherever I go it guides me.
I wonder even today…if it was not Martial Arts I would have never been a skilled climber.