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Peter Boylan
04-22-2014, 09:21 AM
I recently had the chance to see someone who does a technique subtly better than I do it. My technique was powerful, but this teacher's technique is just better. I can't get to his technique with the technique I have though. To get better, I have to get worse. I have to invest in failing at doing the technique at the teacher's higher level rather than succeeding at the somewhat lower level I'm at now. I will fail at this new technique for a while before I begin to master it. I wrote this blog about the experience of purposely choosing to fail in order to progress later.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/04/investing-in-failure.html

What do you think? Is failing really important for progress?

Erick Mead
04-22-2014, 02:47 PM
I recently had the chance to see someone who does a technique subtly better than I do it. My technique was powerful, but this teacher's technique is just better. I can't get to his technique with the technique I have though. To get better, I have to get worse. I have to invest in failing at doing the technique at the teacher's higher level rather than succeeding at the somewhat lower level I'm at now. I will fail at this new technique for a while before I begin to master it. I wrote this blog about the experience of purposely choosing to fail in order to progress later.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/04/investing-in-failure.html

What do you think? Is failing really important for progress?

Success seduces. Failure teaches.

Failure can be analyzed for its defect(s). Success nearly always has the haunting taint of plain dumb luck.

SeiserL
04-23-2014, 07:50 AM
Yes agreed.
I read a good book on skills acquisition.
It suggested that every time we get good at something we should back it off, slow it down, and refine it further. When we get good at that new level, we should back it off, slow it down, and refine it further.
When we fail, it just means we are learning something new and can learn to do it better.

Janet Rosen
04-23-2014, 10:52 AM
Agree it is part of the cycle of learning/mastering anything. Practice to hone the skill level you are at - be willing to achieve a plateau - then either seek/identify or be delighted to have brought to you the next challenge and start process all over by blowing it.....until you don't...

jonreading
04-24-2014, 11:05 AM
We kinda have a running joke in our dojo because we run into failure so often... to this topic I'll say two points:
1. Aikido is a perishable skill. There is a natural skill of expression based upon several organic factors of influence. This is different than an academic competency. Because of the number of organic variables, it is easy to solicit a false-positive response when training. Maybe your partner fell because you did it right, maybe your partner fell because she did it wrong.
2. Aikido is a progressive academic pursuit. There is a natural progression required to gain competency about how to move. The method of teaching that resonated with you many years previous has less academic impact now. The manner in which you learned tenkan on day 1 is a different lesson than the manner in which you refine tenkan now.

I sorta implied this in the advanced techniques thread, but for my training I advocate finding a solid foundation platform and base my training on that platform. I would also advocate that if your platform never changed, whatever you are doing it would not be increasing your academic understanding. It could be improving your proficiency based upon that platform.

This brings into question two things with which I consistently wrestle. The first is the validity of my education platform. The second is the methodology by which I evaluate my need to change my platform and move onto bigger, better things.

For example, is aikido a valid fighting art, or is it not? I have heard convincing arguments on both sides. For me, this is an important question because that foundational platform gives me a metric of success (or failure). If I choose to consider aikido an art of peace, then a metric of success may be determined by placing a mood ring on the finger of my opponent and assessing the color spectrum. Or, a metric of success may be inventoried by the number of cuddly teddy bears I distribute. Conversely, if I choose aikido to be an effective fighting art, I should easily be able to count the number of severed fingers I wear around my neck. Possibly, also the number of villages under my thrall.

Obviously, I make fun of our comparisons. But, I do this to illustrate the difference of "success" or "failure" between education platforms. When we first learned tenkan, the metric of failure was immobilization, right? I cannot turn and drag my partner around. Later, my metric of failure is using too much muscle. Training from a perspective of failure is different than training from a perspective of success.

Interestingly, we often train from a perspective of failure, but we often respond to challenges with a perspective of success...

Gary David
04-24-2014, 11:42 AM
Training from a perspective of failure is different than training from a perspective of success.

Interestingly, we often train from a perspective of failure, but we often respond to challenges with a perspective of success...

I think more along the line of "adapting".......how do I adapt what I do to fit my size, the way I move, how I perceive, how I react......my age. It works or it doesn't.....how do you adapt to make it work.
Gary

jonreading
04-24-2014, 02:39 PM
Yes. To my point, I think when confronted with actual need, our metric changes from "I want this to work," to "this needs to work." All of a sudden, we stop caring about how it works and become satisfied with the metric being successful, for any reason. This is why we pray during football games, right?

For me, adaptation is a means to successfully addressing organic variables beyond the basic process. I think a fair criticism of aikido is that we sometimes over-focus on failure metrics and that does not adequately prepare us for success methodology. When looking good is more important than it working good... you are gonna have problems.

To re-quote Mike Tyson, who was quoting Joe Frazier.... "Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face."