Monday, April 13, 2009

Recovery from Mistakes

Living in the Moment

When you make a mistake don't hold on to it. Once I was practicing moving hard blocking, which is a series of seven sets of moves designed to move your body in unconventional ways. They are also sometimes refered to as "confusion forms". Even after practicing these forms for many years I still have days where I miss a move. I take an extra step, or miss a punch. It is like my mind plays tricks.

So on this day I tried to do moving hard blocking 1-7 and on the 3 series I made a mistake. Then the 4th, then the 5th, then the 6th. By the 7th series I was totally befuddled. One of the black belts said "don't let the mistake carry forward."

Master Ali has emphasized this before several promotion tests. He says, "If you make a mistake while testing either reset and say 'permission to do again', or carry on through."
"Don't stop and go ugh!" he usually mimics someone in a front stance shaking their head in frustration "no one wants to see that."

When you make a mistake, go to the next moment fresh and with an open mind. Live in that moment, don't waste a micro second on regret. This is particularly important if there are high stakes. In a combat situation regret and self examination will get you killed.

Learn from Mistakes

Even though you live in the moment, don't be accepting.

Grandmaster Yi saw the whole class was having a hard time with a sequence he was teaching. At the end of class he emphasized the need to learn from your mistakes. So while you shouldn't dwell on your mistakes, you should learn from them.

One thing he said that stuck in my mind was "don't smile when you make a mistake" . Smiling says it is ok, or that you are making the mistake, but don't care. Don't be accepting of mistakes.

Don't Understand, Do It

A few days ago we were working on an intense set of sparring moves, and I just wasn't doing it right.

Master Ali told me how to do it,
I missed the move.
He told me again
and I said,"Understood"
"Don't understand it" he replied,
"Do it"

Nothing could have summed it up better. It is not about dealing with mistakes, or fixing something wrong. It is about doing it right!

Don't understand....DO IT!