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

Author: kumablog

I share here on a regular basis my thoughts about the Bujinkan martial arts, training in Japan and all over the world, and

5 thoughts on “Failure Is Good!”

  1. This was great writing. Thank you for this. Once someone told me that we should learn others mistakes as well. Sometimes we just do so much, that even we really try to avoid all those we always do something new mistakes. But being connected to everyone who share the same interest we have better chance to make it better. I sense very good spirit in this writing. It makes me try more better. Because if we afraid to do mistakes, we afraid to success.


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