May 102009

A couple years ago now, early in this blog’s life, I posted an article mostly about kids and martial arts, and why I believe that kids (and anyone else) are better served by not protecting them from failure. Failure is an important lesson. I said that that time, “I tell my kids that the difference between someone who’s good at something and someone who’s great at something is the desire to succeed once coupled with the willingness to fail countless times, over and over.”

I got an email with a link to this YouTube video and at first I was cynical. It didn’t take long, however, until I was completely overwhelmed. This kid embodies what I was trying to articulate a couple of years ago, and the life lessons are universal. It could be golf, the violin, snowboarding, martial arts or in this case, an entirely new sport, the lesson is the same. We have to allow our kids to fail. We have to encourage them to try again, and we have to teach them that things are worth doing for their own sake.

This is also why I think junior black belts and anything else in which everyone wins is a bad idea.

Anyway, take a look. It’s not very long:

 Posted by at 8:32 pm

  6 Responses to “Aaron Fotheringham – ESPN”

Comments (6)

    wow what an amazing story! (he’s pretty darn good on that thing too).


    Very cool. I think your point on failure is really important. I’m a very empathetic and compassionate person. I feel other peoples struggle and disappointments far more that I should. Not too long ago I had a very public failure taking a third dan test. When I look back on it now I tell myself I didn’t fail, it just took me 6 months to be successful.


    Matt, I totally agree.

    Oldman, that often makes all the difference in the world.


    Thanks! That’s a pretty heartwarming story, and you make some really great points.


    My first BJJ instructor used to say that whoever taps the most, is learning the most. Thanks for sharing this!


    finally got around to watching…brought a tear to my eye. I still find it amazing that people with disabilities don’t let their physical limitations keep them from doing what they want.

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