Tapping: an arrow to something

How’d you go?
I have heard students pose this question, countless times, after a night of training. More often than should be the case, the answer ‘good’ or not so good’ is derivative of whether or not they tapped their opponent in whether they themselves tapped out.
It is of course, nice to tap out our partner; as it validates our training and affirms that we are able to make some of our submissions work. When we ourselves are submitted, we should realise that this is a good thing and all part and parcel of the learning/betterment process. In short, tapping is an arrow that points to a weakness in our game or strategy. Tapping, means something happened that we would rather not have happened; it illuminates the fact, that something went wrong. This is a good thing, this is exactly how we learn new behaviours, and develop new ideas.
The larger part of our learning (certainly the most accelerated learning we do) occurs during our very early childhood. We try things out, we fail (constantly) we adapt our behaviours, try new things and make wonderful discoveries. Exactly the same process happens on the mat. Because it is a combative art that we practise, we tend to equate ‘losing/tapping as a failure that has consequence – but does it really have a consequence (other than learning)? What if it were a jigsaw puzzle we were trying to solve – and we tried one piece and it didn’t fit – would we feel bad? I very much doubt it. We’d simply try again, and again and again – until we succeeded. So much of what feel and how we react to things is really just a construct built on how we perceive the world … sometimes it’s worth, thinking again.


Matt Klein said…
Can't agree with you more John. If you are not failing from time to time, you are not learning. We must return to the curiosity and fearlessness of a child sometimes.

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