Failure Is Good!


Everything we learn in the Bujinkan is ura and omote. The same goes in life. As we want to be successful in life or on the mats, we are often faced with failure.

The technique doesn’t work, the project, didn’t succeed. A warrior knows that failure is inevitable, but he does his best to survive. Because in a fight death is always a possibility we have to train for in order to avoid recklessness. How is it done? By training hard and sincerely.

People often lose heart when things are not going the way they expected; they shouldn’t. Failure is the omote of success.

All successful people in life have failed many times before becoming successful. In first grade, Thomas Edison was kicked out of school because his teachers thought he was retarded! Churchill twice failed at entering the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst. Henry Ford went bankrupt five times. And the list is endless.
These men became famous because they all had one common quality: Resilience doubled with courage.

We do learn from success, but the lessons don’t stick with us as long as the ones learned when we failed. Failure is indeed your best teacher as long as you never give up. Sensei illustrated that when he translated his famous “Bufu Ikkan” into “Keep going!” at the first American Taikai.
As a person, a group, or inside an organization, we are trained to aim for success but we must admit that failure teaches more than success does.
This apparent paradox is easy to understand. If you are always successful how do you expect to continue improving? After a long period of achievement, the person or entity loses the vision that made it possible. In contrast, repeated failures create more knowledge than repeated success. Failure, when it is not destroying your life, is the sure path to becoming more successful.
We need success, and the “keep going” attitude is the solution to finding it.
In order to be successful in the future, you always have to bear in mind, your errors of the past.
For this to work you need to develop a few qualities. They are resilience, courage, hard work, persistence, commitment.

Edison had difficulties inventing the light bulb. To a journalist asking how he felt about failing 1000 times? He answered beautifully: “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.”

The same goes with your taijutsu. When you learn a new waza, you do it wrong. The angle is wrong, the speed and the rhythm are incorrect, there is too much strength involved, etc. But at some point after repeatedly failing, you have it. Success is a question of attitude and hard work.

In the dojo, we open and close the training session with “Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyō”. It means that whatever is happening to us, there is always something positive that we can learn from the experience.

Be happy to be failing, it means you are still learning.

Here are a few quotes* that you will like:

“Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world. One fails toward success.” Charles Kettering
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan
“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” Coco Chanel
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” Morihei Ueshiba

* from

Happy Birthday Blog!

2013-07-29 14.01.06

Dear followers,

I just received a message from WordPress, today is the 7th Anniversary of our blog!
Over the course of 2555 days, you have visited  the blog 439645 times! This is an average of 172 visits per day!
Throughout the period going from 2010 to 2014, we shared 338 posts with the Bujinkan community which gives a ratio of about 1300 visits per post. And you participated to the success of this blog with roughly 500 comments. Thank you!

Thank you for your unlimited support during all these years.

This blog was created for two reasons: 1) to force me to remember what I was learning on a regular basis in Japan; 2) to share Hatsumi Sensei’s vision of Budo with a maximum of Bujinkan members in our community. Both objectives have reached their goal. And many posts have been translated or simply copied on many Bujinkan websites. Versions in French, Italian, Rusian, German, Portuguese are available online.

Soon (it is a matter of a few weeks now), we are going to move to the next level as I am publishing these posts in their chronological order in an eBook format. I rewrote, adapted and corrected all articles. An annex has been added to give even more detail to what I explain in the texts and that needed clarification. After each chapter, some pictures taken during the same period in Japan or when giving seminars in the world make a nice break. The pictures are not artistic but represent the strength and diversity of our community.
The first volume of the “Bujinkan Chronicles” series will cover the period February 2008 – May 2010. It contains more than 50 chapters, I hope you will love it.
In a few months, I will also launch a new project called “Babel Project” where anyone in the community will be able to translate part of the eBooks in their language. I will explain it very soon.

Once again thank you for your support and spreading of Sensei’s vision in the world.

Funnily enough, this anniversary falls at the same date the new Honbu is opening in Japan.
From now on, your Honbu and your blog have the same Anniversary date!*

Did you check out my first eBook?


* Thank you, Jim for your comments

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