Like many people, I used to stress out about what everyone else thought of me. I was always very self conscious whether it was about my fighting style or the fact that I’m a sentient training dummy made from wood. At first I tried my best to fit in by suppressing who I really was, but eventually I learned to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and finally start being myself.

When I first saw the King of Iron Fists Tournament, I was blown away by how incredible everyone’s fighting styles were. I felt that if I could just learn the moves of every fighter in the tournament, then I could be popular too and people would want to practice martial arts with me.

And so, I set out to learn every fighting style that was around. I spent tireless hours mastering iconic moves like Snake Upper, Electric Wind God Fist, and the Handstand Position. After mastering all of the styles, I learned how to switch between them randomly between each round of a fight. For a while this seemed great, but I knew deep down that these weren’t my fighting moves and this wasn’t the real me.

Of course everyone liked Jin, Eddy, and Bryan’s moves, but I slowly realized that copying them at random left me feeling hollow. If people only liked me when I was mimicking their favorite fighter’s style, then they didn’t actually like me. It had finally hit me that I was just performing everyone else’s greatest hits like some kind of sad martial arts cover band.

That’s when I knew it was time to turn over a new leaf. After some serious self-reflection, It became clear that I first needed to alter my mindset. The root of the problem was that I worried so deeply about what others might think of me if I wasn’t good enough. It helped to remember that everyone makes mistakes, and that even the greatest fighters in the world will sometimes miss a just frame attack or fail to break a grab.

Next, I wrote down the traits I wanted to have and the type of person I wanted to be. With those things in mind, I started to set goals like keeping a journal, developing my own fighting style, and destroying the great world-threatening evil that awakened me in the first place.

I learned to trust my instincts and to not be afraid to make mistakes. It allowed me to be creative again without the fear of failure weighing me down. I turned my weaknesses into strengths and through that I was able to complete a moveset that I can proudly call my own. I was finally able to carve my own identity and I’ve been happier ever since.

Finding yourself can be a long journey – after all it took me 2000 years to do so. While it certainly wasn’t easy, it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and I’m happier than I’ve ever been because of it. These days I’ve even taken a hiatus from martial arts to branch out and discover even more new things about myself.

Maybe someday I’ll return to the world of martial arts to show off my new found moveset and confidence. But even if I never go back, that’s fine by me as well. Even though this journey began with the intent of finding my own fighting style, I ended up finding so much more than that. Besides, my old friends from the King of Iron Fists Tournament don’t seem to like the new me anyways.