Hi Autrelle, haven't read you in a while, good to read you again.
I do have one small concern about your post...are you sure there was a "challenge" at all? In many of the arts where there is sparring, asking to spar is not considered a challenge at all.
Years later, I reflect that you may be right. At that moment, I may have let my own insecurities get the best of me. If true victory IS self-victory, that day was a loss for sure. But even today, I can't say that I wouldn't handle a similar situation to differently. Maybe I would. Humph.