One of the hardest things about getting started in Aikido are the falls. High break falls, back falls, front falls, and the occasional unplanned dead mule off a cliff where you just end up in a heap where gravity put you. They are often frightening and painful. Sometimes they result in an injury. One of our regulars, someone who has been practicing for five years, is just getting back on the mat after a shoulder separation that happened before Christmas.
People come and watch a class and never come back. Or they start classes and after a couple of months, they stop attending. I remember one because it was so clear. He became increasingly afraid. He would tense up and his falls, after some initial improvements, got worse. Finally he just faded, his attendance got sporadic, and then stopped. All of our encouragement was not enough.
When we were children, there were many things we learned to do that involve falling. Learning to walk is one of the first. It's being driven by biology, but parents praise toddlers, walk them, cheer them on, and a YouTube search for "first steps" has five million returns. There's a lot of falling before there is a lot of successful walking.
Then it's on to bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, scooters, pogo sticks, ice skates, skis, snowboards, trampolines, tightropes, motorcycles, rock climbing, skydiving, and BASE jumping.
Sometimes it all seems predictable.
I still have gravel scars on my knees and elbows from a couple of spectacular bicycle wipeouts. I didn't stop riding.
I have a titanium rod in my leg from a snowboarding accident that happened in my 40s. I did stop snowboarding and skiing. The risk/reward equation got recalculated. I went once after that and then never went again.
Borepatch tested body against pavement in October of '14 with the usual results. He still rides. The reward is still greater than the risk.
Falling and getting up is what we do. It's part of being alive.