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Simple Lessons:

Short, concise lessons and concepts helpful to students and teachers

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

By Terry Bryan

There is an old saying in Japanese used by many martial artists to represent Tamashii, or indomitable spirit.

The saying is “Nana-Korobi, Ya-Oki” which translates as “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight”. This goes a long way towards explaining a couple of things.

First of all, successful people don’t always win. They face set backs just like everyone else does. The key is that they don’t give up, they keep on, keeping on. They see challenges as opportunities not as problems designed to set them back.

Of course in combat there is the one encounter, one chance theory which basically states that in a life and death scenario there is only one chance of error and therefore do the best you can every time. However, even the best have set backs; just make sure the losses don’t get you killed.

The true warrior tests on a smaller scale and then implements new strategies and tactics before launching a serious campaign. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about warfare, business or investing; the actions are all the same.

A boxer fakes movements and throws jabs to study the reaction of his opponent before launching a campaign to inflict maximum damage. The business owner tests his marketing on a smaller scale before investing thousands of dollars on a huge marketing campaign. The investor diversifies his portfolio to minimize risk and to insure any losses are not crippling, and anticipates acceptable losses in an overall plan.

I think what most people don’t recognize is the effort successful people spend to develop the attitude and specialized knowledge needed to endure set backs and to indeed get up and go forward one more time.

They surround themselves with other successful people through networking and mastermind sessions and avoid hanging out with negative people, knowing that their attitudes tend to rub off on those around them. They read, listen to educational tapes and attend seminars on the specific topics they need in order to move them to the next level, knowing that if they study an hour a day, they will quickly move into the top 10% of their chosen field.

They also learn to see the difference between trinkets and treasures, those that are mouth warriors from those that walk the walk, and learn to choose their teachers well. Once they have the right teachers, mentors and mastermind members around them, they learn the power of asking the right questions.

We encourage all our students to look carefully at their endurance to challenges and their past ability in overcoming these obstacles. Pat yourself on the back every time you get back up and encourage those around you to do the same. This will allow you to walk the walk and lead from example, the way a true warrior should behave ... in my humble opinion.

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About the Author:

Terry Bryan is the former General Secretary for the USA-NKF (National Karate Federation), the official governing body for the sport of karate with the US Olympic Committee. He currently is the Executive Director for the American Black Belt Academy, a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Colorado Springs. His column, Simple Lessons, regularly appears on

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

martial arts sayings,martial arts philosophy,Nana-Korobi, Ya-Oki, martial arts spirit

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