Building a safety net - pt:2
We should all take self-responsibility for the building of our own safety nets. As mentioned in my previous blog, we can do this on the mat by developing better escape and recovery skills. Imagine – you have the best escapes on the mat; what would be the result of knowing you can always recover from an inferior position? This would mean that you would have no fear of the consequence of failing in attacks – simply put, you would just go for more attacks, more often, and with more confidence (read: less hesitation).
But remember, there is a lot that we (as instructors and students) can also do to make the entire mat a safety net of sorts. If we can construct an environment where it is OKAY to try and fail – then we have all the benefits a real safety net can provide. By building, and encouraging others to help us build, an environment where we reward and encourage creative experimentation, we enhance and fortify the ultimate safety net. Remember, if we can try new things, with little or no consequence, then we build a culture of experimentation. This is exactly what Thomas Edison did in his laboratory – he rewarded and praised experimentation – NEVER punished or ridiculed for failure – and look at what he and his team achieved. We are surrounded by evidence of this every day.
Imagine you had a billionaire friend, who encouraged you to go out and start a new business – if you succeeded, you made money – if you failed, your billionaire friend would cover all of your losses – what would this mean? Obviously, most of us would leap at such an opportunity and rush to try our swag of crazy new business ideas … we’d be opening up yoyo stores – drive through dvd depots, etc. Why? No real consequences of failure – that’s why! Make it so on the mat – we fail with our sweep, our armbar our choke – so what? What are the consequences? What are they really? They really add up to nothing.
Instructors should play the role of the billionaire benefactor and make it okay for students (or fellow students) to try new things – irregardless of how it turns out. Remember – everything we have ever done, was new at one time or another. Don’t play it safe … give it a go. Life is short ….