9.) Avoid Conflicts
“You remember the people you lose to. You don’t remember the people you beat”, Professor Ricardo ‘Franjinha’ Miller, head instructor and founder of Paragon, told my white belt class one day while discussing street fights. Who is to say that the person you just beat up, and forgotten about, won’t come back weeks later with a gun, Franjinha asked. After all, ego in society is at an all-time high.
In popular media, a lot of martial arts instructors would speak about street fighting as “dishonorful” or “beneath you”. Rarely does this holier-than-thou attitude actually deter fighting when egos clash. I prefer my coach Franjinha’s more practical explanation: it is unwise and unkind to make enemies. It does not matter how powerful you are, conflicts are draining and prevent you from achieving bigger things. Also, you don’t know what struggles are going on in an adversary’s life, better to not throw in a dislocated arm.
It is said that if you look for a reason to be offended, you will find it everywhere. Find a way to collaborate before you decide to compete. Remember the radical feminist I mentioned above? Don’t do that. By picking an unnecessary battle, that social activist not only hurt the credibility of his own cause but also motivated a chunk of my Facebook friends, whom are quite liberal, to fear and oppose modern feminism.
I’m not implying that you should let people walk over you. There are groups and individuals that may be too far-gone to reason with. Techniques such as satire provide confidence to the oppressed and break the confidence of the aggressors. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you can change someone through humiliation and argument. It is always best to educate, to empathize, and to persuade.