Failure: Pro's and Con's

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Utahblaine, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Utahblaine

    Utahblaine White Belt

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    Hey everyone. This topic has been floating around my mind quite a bit.

    What role does Failure play in Martial Arts?

    To me, Failure can be a powerful teaching too as well as a motivator if used correctly.

    It seams though that for many schools and teachers, failure is becoming taboo and seen as little more then detrimental to a student's self-confidence. I certainly know that this is true in many cases, but I feel there is more to it.

    Could it be said that not letting a student experience failure is also detrimental to their view of their actual ability or to their level of humility?

    Especially when based on poor performance/effort, lack of knowledge of curriculum and poor attitude, I feel that letting a student experience "success" when it just hasn't been earned based off their personal abilities can be a terrible message to send to a student.

    Failure in a test or even in a simple challenge is integral in anyone's training.

    I'd love to hear your thought on the matter and trade some insights. Thanks.
     
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  2. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    If your training includes live, resisted drills (i.e. sparring and related exercises), then you will experience failure on a consistent basis. There will be no question of a teacher "letting" a student experience failure. It's an inevitable part of the process.
     
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  3. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    ^^^^^This!
    Key aspect of training.
     
  4. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Failure is OK but just don't get used to it.

    If you ask your

    - 1st girl to go out and she says no.
    - 2nd girl to go out and she says no.
    - ...
    - nth girl to go out and she says no.

    You may afraid to ask your n+1th girl to go out after that. You may stay single for the rest of your life.
     
  5. Yokozuna514

    Yokozuna514 Purple Belt

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    That is the wonderful thing about sports. It allows it's participants to deal with failure in a controlled setting. Learning how to deal with failure is as important with learning how to deal with success. In both cases, a student/player can experience the array of emotions that come with each event and learn how to keep them in perspective. Hopefully practicing how to deal with these emotions will better prepare them with how to deal with failure or success in the real world.
     
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  6. wab25

    wab25 Brown Belt

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    If the art trains any sort of weapon disarm... I think it is most important that the students fail a lot at it. The worst thing you could do, is do knife or gun disarms, where the student always succeeds. This gives them a false sense of security, concerning their skills and the likely outcome. If they see the weapon for real, you really don't want them to mistake their "success" in taking the play weapon, from their buddy, who lets them win every time, for skill... they may try to take the real weapon, instead of handing over their wallet. They may be in for a surprise... those weapons really are quite effective at killing and maiming people and real bad guys don't just let go.
     
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  7. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    Tony about nailed it.

    I would add that if you are training in an environment that sheilds you from failure, you aren't really learning anything.

    Any confidence brought about from such an environment is false confidence anyway.
     
  8. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Usually:

    Long term failure -> wrong training method

    For example, if your foot sweep fail again and again, you may need to train shin bite and scooping kick first before you start to train foot sweep.

    shin bite -> scooping kick -> foot sweep
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Part of societies problem today. A person must learn not to swim in failure but must learn what it feels like. How does a person know what failure is if they never experience it? I do not subscribe in condemning a person for failing. Instead teach them up with it. Show them where they went wrong and move on. Don't drown them in it. Conversely, proof of concept works best IMHO. When they are doing it right, confirm it.
     
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  10. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think there is still a mental journey that courting loss delivers that just loosing doesn't.
     
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  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Bjj is an example of this where you get people come in from other clubs and clean house.

    And is considered a good thing.
     
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  12. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    it depends how your defining success and failure and theres clearly shades of grey,silver medals are for the fastest looser.
    for some people just being there and taking part is a major success and to then brand them a failure for not being as good as others is both cruel and unnecessary. some people have to learn to succeed and that requires some level of success, that they then wish to repeat so it spurs Them to greater effort. if they get a belt for turning up every week and taking part, then that's more than ok, if that build confidence and commitment. it's not taking anything away from anyone else
     
  13. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Failure should never be about being branded as anything. It's not something you are. It's just part of the learning process.

    If you want to get really good at applying a technique, you're going to have to fail at it a whole bunch of times. You'll fail because you missed some detail of the basic body mechanics, leading you to better understand and be more consistent with those details. You'll fail because you try to apply the technique in the wrong situation, leading you to better understand the appropriate circumstances for application. You'll fail because your timing or distancing was wrong, leading you to improve those aspects. You'll fail because your opponent uses a valid counter to the technique, leading you to better understand how to anticipate and beat those counters. You'll fail because your physical attributes aren't well enough developed, giving you motivation to improve your exercise routine.

    I tell my students that our gym is a research laboratory. Every "failure" on the mat is just another experiment gathering data about what works and what doesn't. The only reason I'm the one teaching the class is that I've "failed" more times than all of them put together and learned from the experience.
     
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  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Agree! Most of the time, a technique fail because the foundation is not built up solid yet. Today, people like to spend time to develop skill (the 1st 50%). They don't like to spend time to develop ability (the other 50%).
     
  15. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I wish that skill was the only necessary component. That's the part I really enjoy working on. Unfortunately skill without the underlying physical attributes doesn't get you very far, so I have to work on those too.
     
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  16. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    The funny thing is when you (general YOU) were young, you have skill but you don't have enough ability. After you have developed enough ability, you are too old to use it in the ring or on the mat.
     
  17. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    that's not failing that experiential learning, failure is when you test and dont get a belt
     
  18. DocWard

    DocWard Blue Belt

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    Whenever the subject of failure comes up, I am reminded of Theodore Roosevelt. His life was spent refusing to accept failure. But one quote of his sums it up:

     
  19. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    One of my favorite quotes.
    Winston Churchill said my favorite:
    Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” “Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man.”
     
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  20. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Purely to be obstinate, heres a quote of the opposite, by anonymous "if you make every hill the one you're going to die on, you'll never make it to the mountain."
     
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