Kotowaza (Monkey from Trees)

I have always really liked Japanese kotowaza. These are short sayings or expressions that convey subtle meanings or proverbs. These can also be a nice way to learn some extra Japanese. I will be adding some here and there. Here is one of my favorites:

Saru mo ki kara ochiru.

(Even monkeys can fall from trees); Meaning: We all make mistakes.

If we take this for our Aikido training that when we do make mistakes it happens to everyone. Learn from them and move forward and don’t dwell on them. On the otherhand do not get overconfident with your own abilities. I think both great lessons.

Comments (1)

Kara StewartMay 11th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

This is great! (I envision rather embarrassed monkeys dusting themselves off and climbing back up the tree 🙂 . Or, if they’re more brash, self-confident monkeys, they say to the crowd, “Yeah, I meant to do that…” as they climb nonchalantly back to their friends.)

It’s a really, really good reminder for practice.

Perhaps it applies to practice off the mat, too? Seems that no matter what the topic is, there are always things I can improve. Even my dishwashing technique could be more efficient. Otherwise it seems we get stuck and stop learning because it’s hard and we don’t want to struggle to the next stage, or we become complacent because we “know” something and are happy with that bit of knowledge. Both are dangerous limits to growth, in my way of thinking.

Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to reading more kotowaza!


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