I happened to be speaking with a Taichi friend of mine a little while ago and he mentioned to me that Cheng Man Ch'ing was said to have coined a phrase that you should 'invest in loss', this was with respect to learning how to yield properly or become softer in your approach, the idea being that by investing in small losses in push hands practice now you would be setting yourself up to cash in that investment in the future. In other words when someone pushes you then yield to this push...
I suppose one may take the phrase in a few directions. I think the loss referred to is not "yielding" but getting pushed out. Take two equal players in a friendly round of push hands. One finds I'll say himself in a disadvantageous position. Loss is imminent. He can't figure his way out of the situation (how to yield effectively). What should he do? Win at all costs (resorting to local muscle) or stick to the principles being studied (yielding among them)? The advice is to forgo the win and invest in the principles, that is, take the loss.
But if he's sticking to the principles why does he suffer a loss? It takes time to learn to apply the principles. Once he has one wouldn't expect him to lose. Well, not unless his partner is an equal or better player and our principal finds himself in a disadvantageous position.
In short, one learns from following principle, not the win. Shorter, "invest in loss".
How would you work with this in aikido? Curious to see what people think.
I would think that for the most part the comparable phrase in aikido would be "invest in not winning".