On Aikido Journal today, I read a blog article entitled "Fight or Quit." The author recounted a shodan exam that a friend of his faced and walked away from each time he took the test.
You can see the article here: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1543
One of the instructors, this was karate by the way, would coach his students during sparring and would shout out from the side "Fight or quit! Fight or quit!"
I was disgusted. I am still.
Call me silly, but when I heard Yoda from Star Wars say, "Do... or do not. There is no try." I took him seriously!
Think about it: when you "try something," are you really giving it your best effort? Are you going all out 100% when you try something out? People will test drive veihicals knowing full well they can't afford them. People will eat samples of food at the store just to get a quick bite and not intend to buy the product. People will "try" free samples, try on clothes, "try" something new because of peer pressure....... all the while knowing they aren't going to be doing this ever again! Then why bother?
Sure, it's good to try new things to open your mind to different subjects and ideas, but when doing so, it is VERY important, imho, to admit why you are doing this and be open to change.
I could go on and on, but let's get back to training. When you go to the dojo, are you giving aikido a try? or are you really there to learn what is being taught? Whenever you test, are you testing with the idea that "if I fail, I'll just try again another time" or are you there to take the test and pass it?
On my last test, 1st kyu, I stepped onto the mat knowing my butt was gonna get handed to me big time. Everything we have ever trained to do was going to be asked of me... and then some. For an hour, I was on the mat (and I'm by no means in good shape) executing techniques the best I knew how. I was rusty, it was not my best performance and I knew it, but I knew I was there and I had to follow through. I had to finish no matter what.
It would have been so easy for me to stop half way through and say,"Sensei, my iriminage sucks and I wouldn't pass me if I were you so I'm gonna stop right now and train a few more months and yada yada yada." BS! Sensei said to test so I took the test! It was HIS call. It was HIS decision. Sensei is Sensei and it is not my place to question him on ability. If he said I was ready and he wanted me to test, then by God that's what I was gonna do! He gave me the option of picking a day in a particlar month, other than that... show up and do it! And I did.
After my test, he asked me if I was worn out to the point of being sick. I offered to prove it, but he declined.
And I was. I was dead. And I passed.
When I got married, I didn't go into it thinking,"Well, if it doesn't work out like I have planned, I can always get a divorce." Huh. We're not having a child to see if we like being parents. I didn't get my license in real estate to "try" out real estate sales... and I'm sure not going to quit now.
POINT IS: If you're going to DO something, then by God... DO IT!
My brother-in-law once told me," If you're gonna be a bear... be a Grizzly." Meaning, if you're going to do something, be the biggest and baddest one out there doing it.
We can't all be Shihan. We can't all be Grand Master Soke Death Ninjas of the Martial Arts World or whatever. BUT... we CAN be the best we can be and we CAN stick to it and NOT QUIT!
The article above was very interesting. I don't know if I took from it what the author wanted me to, but I did get something out of it for sure:
Quiting is NOT an option.
Please, for the love of all you hold dear, do not put the option of quiting on the table.
Not for yourself, not for your students, not for your children, family or friends. Quiting is easy. Quiting is walking off and forgetting about it. Quiting... can also get you killed, maimed, injured, humiliated, and set up for losses in the future.
If you do something and loose, at least you know you did your best and need to improve. If you do something and fail, you know you have more to learn and have room to grown. But if you do something and walk away, YOU will be the one defeating yourself.
... and that is the worst defeat of all.