I nodded my head through all of what you wrote.
In sparring, I would often do things to disrupt people’s focus and create openings. If you can get someone to believe your focus is off by acting erratically it also created opportunities.
In karate Bunkai, so many people miss the point. They say if your opponent does this then you do this. Really it is exactly as you described. It doesn’t matter what your opponent does, you do strategy and be confident nothing they can do is something you can’t handle. Obviously this takes years of practice.
In Okinawa, it was humbling to be absolutely destroyed! I had become one of the larger fishes in my pond at home. Seeing the focus of people who had trained for double the time I had been alive reminded me I have so much more to learn. For some that would be terrifying, for me it was exciting!
I do believe my study of karate has had a profound effect on who I am as a person too. It’s a shame it took me so long to realize it’s more than punches and kicks as you said.
Have a great day,