Monday, February 6, 2017

Master the art of fighting without fighting

In the 16th century, a skilled samurai named Tsukahara Bokuden (who killed 212 people in battle) encountered a violent bully looking for a fight. When asked about his style, he said that he studied "the style of no style." the bully laughed and challenged him to a duel. Bokuden accepted but suggested they row to a nearby island where no innocent bystanders would get hurt. The bully agreed but as they approached the shore, Bokuden rowed the boat away and said "this is my no-sword school." 

The art of fighting without fighting is the art of peace. It is the highest level of self defense. The ability to peacefully resolve conflict is the mark of a true warrior. You can use your skills to win many fights at impossible odds with people of various backgrounds. You can have many impressive fighting skills. You may even be one of the greatest warriors to ever walk the earth but if you don't know how to make peace, it's all meaningless. It doesn't matter how many you've beaten or killed in combat because it's nothing new. You've simply repeated an endless cycle of violence that has existed for countless generations. Nothing meaningful is learned from bloodshed. 

The art of fighting without fighting is about breaking free from that vicious cycle. Rather than fighting the evil outside, you fight the evil within. Rather than repay evil with evil, you repay evil with good. Your enemy may laugh and arrogantly mock you, not realizing who you are or what you are capable of. You can destroy him or her in an instant but even if you do, you still would've failed to defeat your greatest enemy - pride. A very formidable warrior is sometimes a person who doesn't appear formidable. A warrior who is exceptionally skilled in combat does not need to seek approval from outside of him or herself. The highly skilled warrior finds peace from within. The art of fighting without fighting is about understanding the essence of why conflicts occur and resolving them peacefully be it through deception or words. This can only happen if you understand yourself and others in empathy. 

The art of fighting without fighting can take a lifetime to learn. Nevertheless, opens the door to a profound understanding of the root of conflict. In the words of Sun Tzu "the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." How will you end conflicts without resorting to violence and create a better world? I leave you with those concluding thoughts.

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