Learning from your mistakes…

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” 

― Albert Einstein

 One of the main barricades for new students starting a class is that they are worried they may make lots of mistakes in front of other people. It’s a valid concern but what is often not taken into consideration is that the more ‘senior’ students in that class are probably just as worried about making mistakes as they are!

A new student doesn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb as the ‘newbie’, the more experienced student doesn’t want show that they haven’t remembered a new move or reveal that they haven’t practiced it enough.

(Mistakes made by carelessness or not training hard enough aside….) Mistakes are necessary for progress and even a necessity if a student is to learn. The Einstein quote sums it up perfectly, you will make mistakes when you learn something new, without this there would be no progress.


“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
― George Bernard Shaw


Everyone from the newest student to (Heaven forbid…) the instructor makes mistakes. The error comes when mistakes are not corrected, or when excuses are made for not getting things right.

The students who improve the quickest are the ones who receive correction without making excuses, without their ego creeping in. They simply start working hard on implementing the correction.

Your training should resemble a constant loop of correction and practice, each time putting mistakes right and then progressing to a new level of errors to be corrected. Learn to appreciate these corrections and don’t let frustration get in the way. Channel the frustration into determination to get things right the next time.

Excuses and fear of mistakes are just barriers to getting things right eventually.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
― Salvador Dalí


When it takes 3-5 years to learn a Tai Chi form or 12 years + to work through the syllabus of the Kung Fu forms, you have to learn to appreciate the journey. Nothing worthwhile is picked up in one or two lessons.

Students can often get too fixated on the end product, which only results in causing frustration and impatience in the short term.

Learn to enjoy the journey and correct your mistakes as you go along, quite often by the time you get to the destination, the goals have changed and progressed anyway.



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