Nanakorobi Yaoki literally means “fall down seven times, get up eight times”, and is an expression of the deep and indomitable will of the karateka to continue persevering until success is at hand.
So much history teaches us that the tipping point in grand endeavors is reached only with persistence. Whether in famous battles, or in legendary quests for industry or science, the persistence of human beings is rightfully credited with being the one deciding factor that turned continual failure into the final step of success.
Nanakorobi Yaoki (七転八起) is pronounced “nah-nah koh-row-bee yah oh-kee”
From Famous Battles to Every Day Life
It is this way in our own personal life, as well, in endeavors sometimes less grand, but nonetheless still important. The will and the determination to continue trying is the hallmark of the karateka: how many times do we get back up after being knocked down? The answer is easy: to succeed, we only need arise one more time than we went down.
It is often difficult to see this, however, when we are in the midst of our struggle. Perhaps we have been trying for a very long time; or perhaps we have kept trying, and have not been able to make progress that we can see. It is challenging for us to continue, and it is a great obstacle of doubt that we must overcome. Yet, we must overcome this obstacle if we are to succeed.
Is it any wonder that this is a fundamental part of life, a foundational rule of the universe? Ask yourself how many times a baby falls down, learning to walk. Twenty times? A hundred times? Five hundred? At what point does the baby give up, and say “Ah, I’ll just crawl everywhere… it’s almost as fast as walking!”
We know that the baby keeps trying, over and over. And one day, that second step doesn’t result in an immediate fall to the ground. And then when he’s not paying attention, the baby takes an extra, a third step, and then falls. And then three steps become five, and five become ten. And then the steps become deliberate, and after a few months, that baby walks.
Fall down five hundred times, and get up five hundred and one times. On that five hundred and second time, you’ll wonder what was so hard about learning to walk.
Belief Becomes Fact
Nanakorobi Yaoki reminds us that one of the supreme advantages that guides us in karatedo is the certain knowledge that success is imminent, provided that we continue believing.
Without belief, we cannot succeed, but with a strong belief in ourselves and in our eventual accomplishment of whatever the goal is which we have set for ourselves, we act as true karateka.