The Five Elements of Serendipity

(From the June 2016 Mitsuo’s Report.)

In route setting, discovering chance encounters and creating new movements is the most exciting part.

The accidental elements are important hints to establish a unique move, but they are created by daily effort, challenge, and experience.

The discovery of an idea is accidental, but it is also inevitable.

Serendipity in research


"In the realm of observation, chance is blessed only with a prepared mind.
Such good fortune comes only to those who are trained enough to keep a wide antenna, keep proper records, not miss the slightest sign, have the skills and challenging spirit to try out various analytical processes, and add feedback to the research plan as needed.

Elements that demonstrate serendipity

To paraphrase the route setthing:

  • Gathers information from a wide view
  • Keep it as a good record
  • Attention to detail = view of small details
  • Have the skills and challenging spirit to try different moves
  • Always add feedback to your settings

To what extent does this condition apply to you? In a sense, a route setter is a researcher of moves. It is only by keeping abreast of the research on moves being done around the world, adding them to one’s own set and developing them, always paying attention to the slightest signs, and continually correcting and challenging oneself, that one can attract chance encounters and create new moves.

Route setting is an accumulation of coincidences. When I think back, I can say that the process of drawing out a lot of imagination from a single foot-hold or the way a piece of volume is attached, and giving it shape, is an accumulation of coincidences in the first place. In every choice, there are challenges, compromises, opportunities, and encounters.

In actuality, there are times when I try to climb a problem that I’ve thought about all the moves and decided to put up, and I suddenly see a part or hold that is not the crux of the problem, and somehow it matches the shape of the wall in a different direction from the problem line, and I think, “Maybe I can make a move like this from here! And then, I’ll be able to use the hold in a way that I never imagined before, or use my body in a new way, or create a new move.

This is a part of the game that would have gone unnoticed if I hadn’t noticed it at the time, and is a result of the accumulation of my own experience, the depth of my basic skills, and the coincidence that it happened. This is one of the happiest moments for a route setter.

The aforementioned list could be said to be the conditions of a route setter who can draw out new possibilities, and by extension, the conditions common to all people who create new things.


Gathers information from a wide view

Advanced route setting, of course, but also try to be sensitive to information that leads to setting from other sports and studies that have a long history of studying human body movement.

Keep it as a good record

Keep a record of your settings in a SETTING SHEET* or similar so that you can check it later. Particularly important is the Changes / Notes section, where you can write down what you did and how you did it, so that you can re-read it and improve your experience. For example, “I moved the outside foot of the concave angle inward 10 cm to make it less stable on the push. Here is how to adjust the result of various trials. When you see it in writing, you may think, “Oh, yeah, that’s right,” but in actual practice, it is more natural to say, “I changed this and that position, changed the hold, and finally arrived at that point. Leaving the result as a short article will help you to improve your adjustment ability.

Attention to details

If you always pay attention to the details, you will naturally pay attention to those parts. On the other hand, if you try not to pay attention to it, you will find yourself not paying attention to it. It can be said that this repetition is also an experience, but I think it is better to pay more attention to the details. It seems to me that this means keeping compromises to a minimum and never giving up on the ideal task.

Have the skills and challenging spirit to try different moves

Even if you come up with a new idea, if you don’t have the basic technology, application, and experience to realize it, even a good idea will fail or become a bad idea. It is important to recognize the technical capabilities of yourself and your team members as accurately as possible, and to keep challenging yourself to realize new ideas. If you are willing to take risks and continue to challenge yourself without giving up, you will have a chance to make your ideas come true

Always add feedback to your settings

Of course, without feedback, growth stops. It’s clear that growth comes with feedback. A new idea is not something that can be easily realized. Therefore, even if the result of your efforts is not realized, you need to keep it as a proper record and give feedback next time, and the next time, and the next time.