It appears the pandemic panic continues, so this blog series will too. In Part 1, we discussed responses and taking your power back. I want to delve into that a bit more now. Of course, that means we have to get back on those aikido mats to find our martial arts lessons.

In our dojo, we joke that a black belt’s job is to make the technique look easy. There’s nothing more frustrating than believing something is easy to do and then failing at it. This brings me to one of my favorite martial arts quotes. The only difference between a master and a student is that the master has failed more times than the student has tried.

Perhaps you’re still feeling fearful and are having a hard time taking positive action?

That’s okay. There are techniques I still struggle with after fifteen years. And no, surfing the river Zen isn’t something I’m known for (check out this blog post for more on that). I don’t shrug off failures easily. I get frustrated and have walked away in anger many times.

One of my black belt teachers and friends often reminded me that it was the journey, not the destination that mattered when training.

That’s a great philosophy that continues to take effort for me to remember and apply. I have failed…a lot.

Epic journeys‘Some epic journeys start with a stumble’ is the tag line for book 1 in my series for a reason, friends. My characters often stumble because that’s been my personal experience.

I have gotten better about embracing the failures though. I see them as part of the process which means I can’t get to any particular destination without them. I expect them. That expectation has made them easier to accept.

This shouldn’t be viewed as being negative or giving up. It should be viewed as a natural part of life, a natural part of us.

The cheetah doesn’t give up when it fails on the first hunt.

The tree doesn’t give up when its leaves change and drop that first fall.

The wave makes it to shore but keeps moving.

The cheetah doesn’t give up when it fails on the first hunt.

It’s okay to struggle and stumble during good times or tragic ones. It’s okay to fail. So, wherever you are in trying to deal with our new pandemic lives, embrace it. Breathe, move, and relax. Continue to train, learn, and adapt.

Are you trying new things during this crisis?

Have you succeeded?

Have you failed?

Please feel free to comment here so we can discuss. We aren’t alone in this! We can and should learn and grow together just as aikido partners on the mats do. There’s another saying in our dojo – you can learn from every partner (regardless of rank).

Let’s learn together, and keep a healthy discussion going!

And remember, you are a Rahki!


A Rahki is a warrior protector, and you’re a Rahki.

10 thoughts on “Pandemic Survival: Lessons from martial arts [Part 2]

  1. Cool that you mention this! This is one of the big things I’ve kept bringing up in class in the last year or so. Not only in training on the mats, but also in performance if you are ever really attacked, Things are not going to turn out perfect and beautiful like we might try to produce in training. It’s just not going to turn out exactly the way it does on the mats. And that’s ok. The variables and room for error are endless. There is huge value to expecting this as part of your training so it doesn’t shake your world so bad if/when it happens and you can continue to keep going, to press on. Continue to trust that your training has gained you something to still work with in chaos. Don’t break down and lose focus. Thanks for sharing your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely been one of the biggest lessons for me on and off the mats! Training yourself not to freeze up, panic, or get angry when things don’t go accordingly to plan (when you fail) isn’t easy. The only way to retrain those responses is to FAIL! 🙂 However, if you learn something that means you didn’t fail! It really is about changing how we see things sometimes!

      I do look forward to being back on the mats! 🙂


  2. Held my first Scout meeting virtually last night and it went much better than expected, with minor “stumbles” of course. This was a few hours after the Governor called off on-campus school for the remainder of the year so spirits were a little down. I told them everything will eventually be OK (breathe/relax), it was time to stop focusing on the immediate obstacles (threats/weapons), start focusing on options available (techniques), and where we want to be in the future (move). Because if all you focus on is the threat, you will surely freak out, forget technique, and never get where you want to be. At least, that’s how I stumble every time things get a little more “real” in class. By the end of the meeting there were a lot more smiles. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome!!! I love that you are applying your aikido lessons off the mats…esp as you are sharing them with young people! I love it! Thank you for sharing that!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s