By Eric Evans, 2nd dan
Failing, seems like a negative word until you consider that it is the only way we achieve a higher level of understanding or training. Webster defines failing as ‘a usually slight or insignificant defect in character, conduct, or ability.’ The key word for me in that definition is slight. Failing is not total; it is not the end. It is just a slight defect that has been put in our way to teach us something.
“A minute’s success pays the failures of years.” - Robert Browning, Scottish poet
As a student of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, the slight defects are always present. You can always improve a Poomse to a new level through perfect practice. As martial arts students we are not satisfied with the current defects in our character, conduct, or ability. We consistently look to improve faults that keep us from achieving success. This consistency eventually pays off at a tournament, test or during routine practice. Think back to a time when you reached a goal or achieved a difficult task. It took multiple steps, attempts, and failures to get to that point.
I used to think failure was a bad thing. I strived to never fail, which is impossible. This constant anxiety is detrimental to success. Teams thrive when they can trust each other, hold each other accountable, and help build each other up through struggles. Failing forward is how you can take an ok idea and make it great. In software development for instance, it is important to create software that accomplishes something for the end user. This does not mean that the software will not have bugs or areas that need improvement. Great software and applications are a continual process of improvement.
Whether you are in Taekwondo, Karate or another martial art. Take the lessons you have learned in class and use them in your everyday lives. Learn from each of your failures and then fix them! Failures only hold us back if we continue to make the same errors and do not take action to correct and learn from them. ‘To Err is human, to forgive is divine` - Alexander Pope