The Greatest Irony of Martial Arts (and Life): Failure, pain and loss as accurate measures of success.

This week in the dojo, both nights were what I call hard training.  I was thrown harder than normal (for me) to the mats, my limbs were twisted into painful pretzels, I acquired a few bruises, bumps, went through a round of sparring with five separate attacks I had to avoid or fend off.  I got hit in the face.  I was put in chokehold.  Another person had my face and body smashed into the mats.  By Thursday morning I was pretty sore and tired (My chiropractor had a field day with all of the loud CRACKS! my body was making).

This is what I call a successful week.  Sound crazy?  Maybe it is a little.  I learned, I grew, and now I’m writing about it.  See? Success!

I believe one of the greatest ironies of in life is how much we have to throw ourselves into something to find success.  Our willingness to fail, fall down, bleed, bruise, and generally feel pain is directly correlated our success in whatever we are called to do with life.

This is especially true in the martial arts.  One cannot learn how to land properly without actually let someone throw you.  Learning to avoid a punch requires someone aiming at a body part and occasionally landing a few hits.  Getting out of chokehold means you have to let someone get painfully close to cutting off your blood supply.  Hitting someone hurts.  If I do it wrong, it hurts like a mother.

Failure fits right into this scenario.  The more I try the more opportunities I have to fail.  The more I fail, the more likely I am to succeed.  Why? Because failure is a hallmark of learning.  If everyone were able to wake up knowing everything ever, we wouldn’t need teachers (or maybe we’d be in the Matrix).  No one ever succeeded in anything standing there and looking pretty.

When learning a martial art loss immediately takes up residence in the process.  In many cases the first thing to go is arrogance.  Arrogance creates an impenetrable wall into an empty brain. A good student knows that they know pretty much nothing and have everything to learn.  Learning to accept failure and pain as a part of training and life humbles the heart and makes the person malleable.

Allowing failure, loss, and pain to be our guide means we are trying.  Never giving up means one day success.

Are you a person with dream? Have you tried and failed a few times?  Did you stay down on the 7th fall?

Get up friend and try again!


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