I didn't make the cut in my kata division at the first day of the WKC World karate championship. I was disappointed, of course. Last year I got silver in that division, and I know I'm better now than I was last year... not making the first cut stung. I confess there were a few things about the judging I didn't understand, like why we had to have our hands inspected (and twice) after doing our katas. Other rings where my teammates were competing also had results that left me puzzled. But every time something like that happens I force myself, as much as possible, to not complain. At all. About anything.
Why? It's not because any particular complaint is valid or not. Some complaints are perfectly valid. But even in those cases, I try very hard to say - and think - nothing of it. Because life is like that; sometimes you get shortchanged, and sometimes you win even though you know in your heart some other person was equally deserving.
(For the record, I do not believe I deserved to make top four today, or that I got robbed in any way. The truth is that the competition this year was much more fierce than last year.)
I'm not saying any of this to try and sound morally superior to anyone. And I understand that if everyone behaved like me, nothing would improve. But to me, it's a strategic thing; I believe that the more you accept these sorts of things with the best zen attitude you can muster, the luckier you get in the future. It's kind of like karma, in my mind.
I could be wrong about it - and possibly I'm a sucker for not complaining more often. But I also know that I've been pretty lucky in life so far, and I wouldn't want to jinx it. And besides, there's no justice in life. There's just life. And life is notoriously messy. Also beautiful.
I'm lucky I get to compete at this level in a sport I enjoy (and - lest we forget that detail - I do for fun) and pleased to be getting better at it.