This post is dedicated to Bill Cummins: We leave for Ireland in just over a week (Friday evening, Oct. 28, to be precise), and that means we're just hitting the rough patch.

The mental game.

You see, training relentlessly (which we've been doing since the spring) has a certain simplicity to it. An elegant simplicity, even. You train, train, train some more, and when you feel like a break you train harder, and then for a change you train some more.

That's not to say it's easy. But it is simple.

Now we're so close to the actual competition that we can't train this relentlessly anymore. Now's the time to let the body rest up a bit, catch up on sleep, and fill up on good healthy food. We still have to train some, of course - but not as hard, and not as much.

Instead we have to get inside our heads and work on the mental aspect of the game. And that is hard. Half my brain screams that I'll never be ready to compete, that it's hopeless. But the other half, the one that knows how hard we've been working, how much progress we've made, and how much it doesn't matter how ready I feel anyway, that one is trying to fight back. There's no doubt it needs to win. There's no doubt I won't allow it to lose. But the battle is maddeningly difficult nonetheless.

I remind myself that doing live television used to scare me, too, until it stopped being terrifying. And that competing in karate can't be as much of a challenge as having to come up with something informative, relevant, and interesting to say to tens of thousands of people who turn to you (LIVE) for their information on the sudden resignation of a pope at 6 in the morning with - I swear I am not making this up - less than 5 minutes to prepare. And not just pulling it off but pulling it off and making it look easy. That's what training and experience will do to you. They'll make you very good at what you do.

So, really, I just need to relax a little bit and trust my training and experience.

Oh, and speaking of which, we're headed out to Mississauga tomorrow to compete in this tournament - the last one before Worlds. If you're in the area and want to come cheer us on, please do!