MISTAKES DON’T DEFINE YOUR FAILURE
A couple years ago, I was fighting in a world championship, and the year was turning out to be a good one for me. I had just tested into my sixth degree at the time, and the year before, I had placed in the top 10 of martial artists who competed in this same world championship. That current year, I found myself facing a gentleman who I had never beaten before, but this time, I did beat him by one point. I went up against my next opponent and beat them as well. To say the least, I was quite confident I would win the gold medal. In the final match, I faced my opponent. Now, I’m not a giant of a man at about 5 feet, 9 inches, but the gentleman I had to spar was only about 5 feet, 7 inches and 130 pounds soaking wet. As our match unfolded, I kept thinking I had him. We were down to the last second. The score was 3-2, and I went in for a punch. But he did a spin-hook kick, turning my headgear around, and won. I had worked so hard that year. It came all the way down to the last match in the last second, but because I grew impatient, it paid off for the gentleman I was against. I received the silver medal that year and learned two major things in the process. No. 1: It’s crucial to give something all you’ve got, but I had failed to adapt and didn’t realize my opponent’s strength until it was too late. No. 2: As it turns out, I can be very competitive for a title like that. It was frustrating, but the most important part was that I learned from my mistake and bounced back from it. I didn’t let my failure prevent me from moving forward; I used it to better myself for the next year and those after that. Failures will always be a part of our lives, but the way we approach them makes all the difference. At our academy, my students are asked to perform in every class they attend, which is a vital part of their training. This gives teachers and me a chance to look at their form and help them with their technique. First, we make sure to highlight what they’re doing well, then we work with them to find a solution in the areas they can improve upon. GETTING BACK UP AFTER EVERY FALL
Whenever I ask for a volunteer in a class where I may have 30–40 students, about 10 will shoot their hands up. This isn’t just a chance for the students to show everything they learned, but also an act of bravery because they could mess up their form. In one class, a student raised his hand, and I let him come up to the front. As he was going through his form, he messed up at one part, but he didn’t stop and say he couldn’t do it. There was a brief second where he paused as he figured out how to get back on track, then kept going to the end of the form. This was an incredible teaching moment because this is the type of thing that happens throughout life.
In every aspect of life, whether at work, school, or in our dojo, there’s a chance of failure. Our students are given the support, encouragement, and knowledge they need to adopt a mindset of always having the power to get back up when they fall. The key aspect of martial arts is that when you fail, you learn from your mistakes and approach the problem again at a different angle to accomplish it.
Everyone is going to come up against challenges in life. Sometimes you’ll succeed, and other times, you’ll fail. It’s important to realize that by staying positive, you become a stronger person through your failures.
– Glenn Olson
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