Sunday, 7 September 2008

Mistakes? Great!!!

Have you ever wanted to do something, but were afraid of being shown up or making a mistake? Let me share my experience with this.

A friend came to me and told me that one of my students had been "humiliated" at a Tai Chi seminar.

My student had been selected by the teacher for practical applications (self defense) demonstrations, and had been thrown about quite roughly. The other students found this most amusing, and treated it like entertainment. Whenever the teacher asked for a volunteer, my student stepped up for more. The rest of the class found this hilarious.

I was very happy with this outcome. I used to do the same thing with Master Liming Yue. Whenever he wanted to demonstrate techniques, I was always the first to volunteer. Sometimes, the other students would laugh. But knew I was getting better.

Martial Arts are about making mistakes. For only by making mistakes, can we eliminate errors and get better and better. As we get better, the opportunity to make these mistakes (lessons) gets smaller and smaller. It is those who can safely put themselves into situations where they can learn from their mistakes who will achieve the greatest. 

As for the student - he went on to become British Open Kung Fu Champion later that year.


Restita, Seattle Wushu Center said...

Rich, Great post! When I took Aikido, Sensei would do randori for demonstration. I would always sit up straight and think "pick me! pick me!'....and usually I would be picked as one of the Uke. Sometimes I took Ukemi incorrectly because I didn't flow with a throw, but it helped me learn how to perform the techniques better, by feeling the outcome. When my Taiji teacher would use me for demonstrations, the only time I would get hurt would be if I reacted incorrectly or picked the wrong time to attack or push. Always a learning experience....its not true learning without mistakes!

Jesse Crouch said...

I'd say that's quite far from humiliation.. that perception is actually kind of odd to me. Certainly if you're being tossed around and there's some level of humor in it, sure, but otherwise I can't really see it.

Engaging yourself through participation is one of the best ways to learn.

Feeling someone else do the technique to you is just as important as doing it yourself.