Learning from Mistakes

Every mistake, teaches us something.

Progress in Budo often doesn’t feel good and usually although maybe seen by others we mightn’t feel it ourselves so much.

Sort of a one step forward, two step back kind of situation. I had a student say to me recently that they feel they may be getting worse. This wasn’t the case at all. Actually the student has improved considerable and so I think about why the impression is different. I think I have figured this out, somewhat.

When One improves in Budo, they are then able to realize a great deal more mistakes they have been making. By improving we can realize where improvement is still needed and greatly lacking. As we become aware of our weaknesses we may feel put down. Its only because the mistakes seem new. But the mistakes aren’t new at all, the awareness is.

It is easy for a student to become frustrated by their own lack of experience. It should however be understood that the Dojo is a place to get things wrong. It cant be expected to get a technique right in one go, or even perfect in a hundred. We study movements thousands of times. With a good mindset, things will improve over time. A important thing is not to belittle ourselves or eachother. Self criticism is only useful to a point. I have seen it being more of a hindrance than a benefit to many people. Only when someone is secure enough within themselves can they use self criticism constructively.

With so many nuances in a technique or Kata, we can only learn in layers. When one principle is grasped, we can start to look at another. So it always feels like we go back to the beginning. And it feels new again. Relaxing is like this. There is always a little bit more tension. You relax completely, only to find another layer of tension underneath. There is no end to this {at least that I have found}.

I have had this feeling on a regular basis and although frustrating, I have learnt to embrace it. It may piss me off, but it’s very necessary. I might even like it…… a little bit. And this brings me to another point.

The importance of Kihon.

A part of training that may become evident after a year or so is that it is necessary to always return to the beginning. To the basics. If we try to progress only upward, the training may become very convoluted and perhaps due to working with the same partners who we used too it becomes ungrounded. There is a lot of this in Aikido. Large flowery techniques with little attention to basics. By only focusing on getting better, it can actually get very bad, very quickly. By always going back to basics, we can check that the techniques still work.


Filed under Budo Concepts, Life

3 responses to “Learning from Mistakes

  1. Reblogged this on 天地 – Tenchi Aiki and commented:
    Amazing thoughts. I agree with every word you said. I have somethings to say about the subject too, I think I’ll write a post about it soon. 🙂
    Peace and harmony for you, my friend.

  2. Pingback: Lost in Detail | Irish Budoka

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