Beyond the Mat Lesson Four:
If You Learn From It, Nothing Is Wasted
This week’s topic is all about learning from mistakes and using them as opportunities to figure out how move forward. It’s true that this is a somewhat tired cliche — reading the lesson, I think no fewer than three quotes about failure and success popped into my head. Yet even though everybody knows at least a dozen pithy motivational tidbits on this topic, everybody also tends to repeat their mistakes over and over, and in doing so, maintain some kind of depressing status quo comprised of good intentions.
There are a lot of angles to approach these kinds of challenges. The only approach that I can pretty confidently say never works is, “Let’s do it again… but harder this time!“
I have learned a lot from Danelle about how to target and destroy specific challenges when you’re repeatedly failing at solving them. The first step is identifying the actual problem. You might say, “Wow, I’m terrible at one-steps*.” In reality, you might be pretty good at performing one-steps, but terrible at remembering the moves. Danelle, as a teacher, has a knack for assessing your learning style, and will eventually figure out how you might best memorize something. This is how I ended up with a notebook where I physically wrote, by hand, my creative one-steps and kicking combos over and over and over.
For my thai combos, I literally recited them, out loud, to myself on the drive to Freestyle. I nearly missed my freeway exit once because I was stuck on combo number five. I have recited them to myself silently at the dentist. I will also do thai combos and feed thai combos while reciting each move out loud. These tricks have helped me immensely.
Danelle has a few other other tricks up her sleeve that are both specific and very effective.
Problem: You constantly mess up forms when demonstrating in front of other people
Solution: Recruit a bunch of angry-looking jiu jitsu guys to glare at you while you do forms until you become more desensitized to the nerves
Problem: You look awesome right after you warm up. But once you get tired, all your technique goes straight out the window
Solution: Burpee tabatas to tucker you out, then burpees between each rep of your forms or whatever it is you’re working on. Basically, burpees
Problem: You get distracted in the middle of something and forget what the heck you were doing
Solution: Recruit a couple people to do something similar but different right next to you. For example, have someone do Palgue 6 right next to you while you work on Palgue 7. Better yet, have someone do Palgue 7 really, really poorly right next to you while you do Palgue 7
Problem: You lose your balance doing kicks
So, to summarize, yes: Failure is simply a signpost to point you towards the effective resolution of your problem. However, what many of us are inherently poor at is reading that sign correctly and coming up with a creative and effective solution to that specific problem.
Never give up. And never, ever, just keep trying the same old thing over and over again… but harder this time.