I know I only have seconds left. I sweep my right leg around, trying to make it look like I’m aiming for his ribs. He falls for it.
He takes a step back to avoid the kick that never comes, then moves in arm cocked back for a reverse punch. He’s not worried. He knows he has me beat. I only have one option.
I snap my head around, spotting like a dancer in a pirouette. I flex my left leg as I pivot, and spring into the air. As my body continues to turn, my eyes fix on my target. I feel my leg extend, and my heel connects with the side of his head.
He goes down, not unconscious, but definitely dazed. I land lightly, my posture automatically dropping back into a fighting stance.
Then I hear the buzzer. It seems to take forever to turn my head and look at the score board. 6-7. I got my three points. The referee raises my hand. I won! My first tournament, and I won!
I realize why my Tae Kwon Do instructor always drilled us about proper breathing as I pass out and fall to the floor. Smiling.