Thursday, August 11, 2011

How dramatic are your failures?

Any martial art has value.  But all martial arts also have the potential to fail you, if misunderstood or misapplied or if they are applied by a poorly skilled practitioner.  Heck, even when the skills are done perfectly by a master, there is potential for a fight to go badly.  There are no guarantees.  Nothing is fool-proof.  Your martial arts skills might save you in 999 fights out of a thousand, but you'll still never know when that one fight will happen.
So, in your regular training, do you mostly work to learn to win, or do you work to learn to minimize the unpleasant consequences of failures?  I figure you should work on both, but it appears to me that the aikido that we do is more focussed on reducing the potential for our failures to kill us.  Principles that we are always harping on, like ma-ai, shikaku, brushoff, shizentai, getting offline, ukemi... those do help us to learn to trash bozos, but they are (IMO) mostly involved in keeping us safe when we are the bozos that are getting trashed.
Even if you are the boss in 999 fights out of 1000, how dramatically is that last one going to affect you?

Patrick Parker
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