“Failure is the key to success; Each mistake teaches us something.” O-Sensei

This is my favorite quote from O-Sensei for a variety of reasons.  One of the main reasons is that it embodies my personal philosophy.  This is not just limited to Aikido, but to life in general.  In life, as with Aikido, failure is inevitable.  Look back on your own life.  How long did it take you to learn to walk, to speak, or to learn your profession?   Can anyone honestly say that they accomplished these tasks the first time?  I thought not.  The reality is that failure is unavoidable, and is sure to be your truest companion through life.

Most people are disappointed by failure because they expect perfection.  This is faulty reasoning when going to an Aikido class, though.  Perfection is a sign of mastery, and if one can truly master a thing (be it Aikido or anything else) there is nothing left to learn.  The impressive thing about Aikido is that it does not have a glass ceiling.  There is no upper limit.  Even O-Sensei trained when he was recognized as the master of his art.  Even he, at his highest level of skill, saw fit to improve upon what he had built, presumably because he was not satisfied on some level.  We should expect failure, because perfection is impossible.

Since we cannot avoid failure, we should embrace it fully, in Aikido and in life.  Personally, I find it to be the best teacher: No organization can compare to the school of hard knocks.  For me, the hard things are best remembered, while that which is easily earned is just as easily forgotten.  Life is hard, Aikido is hard, so you should expect to fail.  It makes life more interesting!

19 thoughts on “Failure

  1. I don’t think you’re a failure, Ryan. I just think you need a hug.

    Everyone, gather round… *group hug*

    (Just kidding. Nice article.)

  2. And he did hold you to it… 0_0…..

    I’m a perfectionist in most things.
    I tend to hate myself and torture myself excessively when I don’t get something the first time around. I never feel like I’m doing good enough :(…If there is room for improvement then you aren’t done.. if you aren’t done then you have to keep going, if you don’t keep going you are failing!!!! sometimes when some one tells me I’m doing good at something I get embarrassed and just want people not to notice me, I’m not feeling improved, or good enough, or done achieving what I am intending… or I think they are humoring me. They day I feel like I’m good enough I’ll quit… which with my personality will be 30 years after I die.

  3. Up until the bee stung me, Lyndon, Karl and myself had a nice class outdoors at UNF.

    I focused on a sequence of movements starting from ikkyo, then progressing to shihonage, then sankyo, and then returning to ikkyo.

    From those positions I had Karl and Lyndon discover as many techniques as they could.

    Looking forward to the Halloween party tomorrow evening!

  4. Sorry I couldn’t make it to the party.
    Been working 10 hours and due back at work tomorrow morning, ..5am… 0_0

  5. Halloween party was awesome. Balloons everywhere, candy, lights….

    Thanks to everyone who helped, including all the delicious food. Details to follow in newsletter….

  6. The Halloween party was awesome. All the kids seemed to be having a wonderful time. Sorry we couldn’t hang around to help clean up but the piney woods were calling.

    And thanks to everyone who helped make me feel welcome when I started in August. I had been off the mat for a few years and was a bit nervous about starting back. Everyone’s kindness and willingness to help made the transition easy. Thank you for being patient and understanding as I fumble through each week. I look forward to many years of becoming one with the mat.


  7. I’ll shoot you something soon. I want to go to winter camp and talk about whatever i find there…. 0_0 that and i’m in the midst of midterms.

  8. Tonya is coming into town tomorrow afternoon and staying a week. Just thought you would like to know. I’m not sure if and when she will be stopping by the dojo.

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