A broken thumb halted five-times New Zealand heavyweight karate champion Pete Parson's progress through to the finals rounds of the world championships in Toyama, Japan earlier this month.
The Wanganui fighter, who is also a four-time Australian heavyweight champ, made it through to the top 16 on the planet after winning his first two bouts.
But despite posting the fastest knockdown of the tournament (13 seconds), Parson broke his thumb in his third and final bout of the knockout competition.
Parson was keen to get another crack at the world champion Takuma Kouketsu after an accidental KO clip to Kouketsu's jaw cost him his fifth Australian title in August. The Japanese fighter went on to reclaim his world title in Toyama.
"This was my first time at the world championships and a bit of an eyeopener, but it was a great experience and showed we are not that far away from the best in the world," Parson said.
Fellow Wanganui fighter, Kazuki Campbell, who now lives in Wellington, also competed.
"I made it into the top 16 on the final day and I got the fastest knockdown for the tournament. After winning my first two bouts I broke my thumb in the third which didn't make it any easier. It's always difficult to beat the Japanese in Japan," Parson said.
"Kazuki won his first fight and then fought extremely well in his second, but the decision went against him at the end of the fight. The experience proved we are right up there and we're both keen to have another crack."
Into his 30s now, Parson was at a crossroads and had contemplated retiring.
"The broken thumb is in plaster, so I'm having a forced break. I'll make a decision by the end of the year, but I'll probably come back and have another go. I'd like to find someone to fight in the River City Rumble on March 16 next year and then there's a New Zealand nationals and the Australian nationals later in the year. The next world championships are not for another couple of years."
A highlight of the Japanese trip was a visit to Honbu in Tokyo, the original Dojo where karate began.