Failure: Pro's and Con's

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

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, that's pretty much the point some of us are getting at. You have to be willing to fail - put yourself out there for failure - to get to some things. Whether we call that loss a failure or not is mostly semantics. I think most folks are using the term "failure" to refer to any time you try to do something and it doesn't work. The only difference in what you're saying and what others are saying is the definition of failure being used.
     
  2. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    but the definition is rather the crux of it and very important psychology, learning SHOULD be a series of improvement, so progressive success, as soon as it's a series of failures, then that's when people become down hearted and stop trying or just quit.

    most of that is getting realistic goals and time frames and putting enough effort in so that it's not your personality rather than you physical/ mental aptitude that's the weak link.
    people seem to either have unrealistic exspectation or massively under estimate their abilities to achieve things in a shortish time frame, depending on personality type,/ social conditioning. either of those is a significant barrier to success.

    people branding themself or others a failure, only increases the likelihood they will continue to fail
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Except when you use the term "failure" to identify something that doesn't go as expected. Per the OED, it can be defined as "a lack of success in doing something". So, when someone tries to do a technique and doesn't succeed, that's a failure. It's only a negative if it's seen as such.
     
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  4. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Green Belt

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    Most all of the above comments have it right. Unless you're a "new age" psycho-babble flake, failure is a reality of life we all have to learn to cope with. Being shielded from it is living in an artificial bubble.

    Most important is recognizing our own failure. If I do a technique not up to my own standards, I have failed, and resolve to try it again, better. We can't count on others to set the bar for us. It's this personal striving for excellence that creates success and expertise. Expect less from yourself and that's what you'll get. Martial arts is supposed to build character - If you can't take failure and use it to be stronger, you're in the wrong game. How about a nice game of tic-tac-toe?
     
  5. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Do you want to make mistake? Of course you don't want to.

    Failure mean that you are doing thing wrong. If you can't fix your mistake right way, that will be your biggest problem.

    If you keep failing that mean you don't know how to fix your mistake.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  6. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Your analogy is off. You can fail in tic-tac-toe.

    I'm not saying people should never fail. But let's say for example I'm teaching a hand grab technique. The technique is going to be:
    1. Break the attacker's grip
    2. Trap their hand
    3. Apply a wrist lock
    4. Use circular footwork and continue wristlock to take them down
    5. Pin their arm against their body to keep control
    6. Finish off the technique by punching them on the nose
    It's one smooth motion from start to finish, and you can define it as one technique with several components, or you can define it as a combination with several techniques. Either way, it's not uncommon for a drill to work this way.

    There are a lot of ways I can prevent the student from succeeding, both passively and actively. I can lock my grip against their direction (passive) or I can react with my other hand (active). If they go slow (because they're learning the technique) I can take that time to adjust or counter. I can apply higher level concepts to reverse their technique back on themselves. If they don't apply the proper grip in Step 2 and Step 3, I can simply break their grip and attack. If they don't use the proper footwork, I can usually sweep their leg and take them down. On the take-down, I can usually scissor-sweep, kick to the leg or body, or use my other hand. Especially if they go slow.

    However, if I'm doing all of this while they're still trying to learn the steps, and this is their first time ever doing a wristlock take-down, then I'm not teaching them anything. I'm getting in the way of their progress. I'm just being a showboat.

    It's like taking a kindergartner and trying to teach them to multiply and divide two-digit numbers, before making sure they can count to 10 and can add and subtract single digit numbers. Is going up to a kindergartner and asking "what is 11 x 6" a fair question, if they're still struggling with "what is 3 + 5"? That failure isn't helpful and isn't a teaching moment.

    Similarly, if I refuse to let a white belt complete the hand grab above because they don't do everything perfect, then I'm not giving them a good lesson in failure. I'm simply giving them a lack of confidence in their ability to learn the technique.

    What would I do as their partner?
    1. First, I'd focus on breaking my grip, and then the general motion of the technique. This gets them used to the gross motor movements. They usually do these slow, and I kind of go along with them. But I don't let go of their wrist unless they step correctly.
    2. Next, I'd focus on the footwork, because that's generally more important than anything else. So I would tell them "now we're going to work on your footwork." Now, if they don't step correctly, I don't go down. But I don't care if they have the proper wristlock, and I don't care about what they do when they finish the technique. All I care is that they're breaking the grip, grabbing my hand somehow, and then stepping correctly.
    3. Once they're comfortable with the step, then I expect them to trap my hand properly and teach them how to apply the wristlock. Now I add more ways for them to fail, because they have more things that they are competent in.
    4. After they're comfortable with the correct take-down, I make sure they maintain control and finish properly.
    There is no point where they cannot fail, except maybe the first couple of times through the drill. But instead of expecting a white belt to do 6 things that are all completely new, and do them all right, off the bat, is a ridiculous ask. I'd rather reward them for their growth by letting them see how each new concept added in to the technique improves their success rate, than have them metaphorically bash their head against the wall trying to learn the whole thing at once.
     
  7. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

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    Agreed. So why would you start a beginner with the following?
    Isn't that like asking the kindergartner to multiply and divide two-digit numbers? The beginner doesn't know how to do any of those things individually, so starting them here is setting them up to fail.

    Taking the fall, when the parts are not done right, really doesn't help them learn. When a true beginner has problems with the pin in step #5, it usually is not a result of them doing the pin incorrectly. They are usually in a position where it is impossible for them to do the pin correctly. The problem usually started in step #1, they did not break the attacker's grip correctly. Therefore, the trap was done wrong, the wrist was then grabbed incorrectly for the lock and take down and now that they are at the pin part, everything is so out of position, it just won't work. They shouldn't have gotten that far. By having their partner "help" them by releasing the grip, and taking the fall for them, those bad habits were reinforced.

    Instead, start with counting, then move into simple addition, and work your way up. Teach them the grip break as a stand alone thing. If they don't do it right, don't let go. This does not mean counter them, or overpower them or anything else. It means, give them an honest grip, that they have to use correct technique to break. As they get better, move up the resistance, as you mentioned, working within their ability. This allows them to fail, when they do the grip break wrong, but also allows them to succeed when they break an honest grip. Then do the same process with the wrist lock. Now add the take down to the wrist lock. Then add the grip break, into the wrist lock and take down. Now, they have had successes at the grip break, the wrist lock and the take down, after having failed at each first. Now that they can string these together, the pin and finish should work as well, because they are in the right position to do so. Now they not only have the flow of those 6 steps, but they have each of those steps as individual items, that they first failed at, then succeeded at. These steps are likely to show up in other combinations they learn later, making those combinations easier to learn. (this sequence that you mentioned, can be taught in the way I mention, in 30 minutes or less, to a brand new student, having them put a little energy into it, to see some flow. )

    In this way, you are not insulating them from failure. However, you are putting them into a position where then can truly learn to succeed, against a little resistance a number times. If they really are not getting it, to make your whole combination, thats ok, as long as you didn't show them the whole thing at first. When I work with brand new people, I don't show them the whole combo, but one piece at a time and slowly put them together, at the students pace. But that pace is a pace where they have to get each piece "correct enough" to function against a known attack, with a "bit of resistance."

    If you are working with a large class... the break out the beginners from the group, or have the group slow down, with the more advanced students working on fine tuning the points that they always rush through.
     
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  8. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I loved that reference. Loved the movie, too. (War Games for anyone not familiar)
     
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  9. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I never dealt with, or included, any failure while teaching my students. It was more of a "It's not how many times you fall down that counts, it how many times you get up" attitude. Nobody ever "failed" at anything in the dojo, not even if they got their *** kicked, or couldn't do one pushup when they started. Everybody helped everybody, everybody just kept getting up, high fiving, trying harder and sometimes laughing.

    I know that might sound like BS to some, or naive, silly, romanticized or phoney, but it's not, it's just the way we chose to do things. Seemed to work well. Black belts would be on the floor next to white belts struggling and straining to get that last pushup. Maybe the white belt was struggling on his fifth pushup, maybe the black belt on his hundredth, no matter, that's just semantics, just numbers. It's the effort and honesty in training that counts.

    Just about everything I can do in Martial Arts - I could not do at some point early in my career. Were those early days failure? Not for me, it was just setting the table.

    Vince Lombardi once said "Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit." I don't think he was as great a coach as everyone else thinks, but he had some great quotes, that being one of them.

    The struggle is real. And the struggle is so the f'n balls.
     
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  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    You don't want to make a mistake, but you have to be willing to. If you never make a mistake, you're not doing anything new, not trying anything that's hard for you.
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that's the same thing, said the other way. If you have the right attitude about failure, it doesn't feel like failure. It's just that thing that happens while you're learning, while you're doing something that stretches you. I've never considered a messed up technique - even in testing - a failure, but it is a failure to do the technique. I never considered a "loss" in sparring a failure, but it is a failure to (dominate, defend, win, control, whatever). Even a "failed" test never felt like a failure to me - just better information. But, yeah, I failed that test.
     
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  12. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Sometime, if you just fail once, you will fail for the rest of your life. Some opportunity only arrives once.

    Back in 1987, I was offered a CEO position in a new computer company with 75,000 share of company stock to develop something similar to WINDOW (competed directly against Bill Gates). At that time, I had with IBM for 9 and 1/2 years. just 1/2 more year, I would have IBM vested right and I didn't want to lose it. I let that opportunity to pass by and I lose my only opportunity to compete against Bill Gates.

    Once per life time opportunity only offer to those who are prepared.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, but that's not at all the same as the routine failure that's part of learning.
     
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  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    It was actually “How about a nice game of CHESS?”

    “Interesting game. The only winning move is not to play” (immediately follows by how about a nice game of chess) one of my favorites. Great flick.

    I watched one of the forgotten 80s gems the other night for the first time in quite a few years - The Best of Times. That one doesn’t get the attention it deserves IMO
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  15. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Often enough, you know your mistake; the problem is your body isn’t doing what your brain is telling it to do. Happens to me quite a bit.
     
  16. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing I liked about War Games is that the kid hacking into the server utilized a plausible (by movie standards, at least) approach - a variant on social engineering. He found a clue about the person who programmed the system and by researching that person was able to make a guess as to the password he might use.

    99% of the time movies show hacking as a sort of tech-based superpower - the hacker just has to type really fast while spouting a nonsensical mish-mash of computer jargon (backdoor, proxy server, ip trace, visual basic interface) in a context that makes no real-world sense whatsoever.
     
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  17. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    My favorite is when the opposite is true. The first step when your computer is under attack is to unplug it from the network.

    But that doesn't show how Chloe O'Brian is a better computer nerd than whoever is breaking into the network, so that must be the last resort in any drama!
     
  18. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    And how he kept failing to get in through the “front door” and found an easy “back door” in, even though it was only after his hacker friends told him about that.

    And, couldn’t Faulken chosen a better password than “Joshua” for the password to a system that can end the world? My bank requires at least 8 spaces, and at least one number, one uppercase letter, and one special character. My password is harder than his, and all someone is going to potentially get is $50 :)
     
  19. KenpoMaster805

    KenpoMaster805 Purple Belt

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    Being a failure is ok once 2nd time but the 3rd time is a no try and try until you succed to be a failure is not trying your best in what u do you dont put effort in what you do me im not perfect at all i did a lot of failure that i learn from and abd i tell my self i will try and try until i succeed
     
  20. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Failure is a great teacher. Learning what not to do or how to not do something is just as important as what to do and how to do it.

    865763A1-50F0-4741-ADFB-BA61DF264663.jpeg
     
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