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Losing Makes You Strong

As I watch people training I see them trying to do the kata correctly, to be right. They always want to win. So much so that even when they are in the role of the attacker they often compete with their training partner. Turning what should be a learning experience into a game of tag. This immature need to win is not training and it is not learning.

Look at the failure of our educational systems where teaching for the test has become the norm. Students just memorize what’s going to be on the test so that their scores meet expectations, but that is not learning. You learn from making mistakes, from fixing problems and looking for new and different options to succeed.

When you exercise to build strength you don’t improve if you don’t fail. Your muscles have to be pushed to failure so that they can build back stronger. This is how we grow by working through challenges, loss, and failure.

When you train for self protection the best way to improve your odds of surviving a real conflict is to lose. When you are the uke try to understand how the techniques defeat you. When you are doing the kata if it doesn’t work don’t force it. Don’t just try to win, try to understand why it’s not working. Simply put lose.

Every time you lose and figure out why, you are training yourself to be stronger. Over the decades of training I have lost and died at the hands of my training partners and all my amazing teachers thousands of times. Each time has made me stronger and less likely to lose in reality.

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