Work in Japan Advice Board

キービジュアル キービジュアル

Creative Career Path

The Art of Winning without Fighting2012.11.27

    The 6th Century BC Chinese General and military strategist Sun Tzu, best known today as the author and genius behind the classic text on strategy The Art of War, penned a gem of a statement that has gained the status of proverbial wisdom.


    “Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”


    This book held profound influence over Asian military thinking and the Way of the Samurai. It was translated into French as early as 1772. Ultimately the book had an influence on leaders and generals from Napoleon, to General Douglas MacArthur, to Mao Zedong. It is studied at West Point Military Academy, and has been applied metaphorically in business and management strategy.


    What is this powerful and apparently universal appeal behind Winning without Fighting, and more to the point, why is it that so few people throughout history have been able to master its lessons?


    The Fisherman’s Quarrel


    There are many variations on this wisdom in traditional Chinese culture, often told through profoundly simple and often humorous stories. One is that of The Fisherman’s Quarrel, in which two fisherman quarrel over their catch, during which time a bird makes off with the fish.


    There is an inherent sense of the folly of fighting, and the wider perspective which seeks a way to win without fighting. There are many ways in fact of winning the battle but losing the war. We might say as well that the operation was a success, but the patient died. There are many ways of expressing the folly of the short-sighted solution.


    We see it played out in our economy, where greed is good produces a massive win/lose scenario, eventually pitting Wall Street against Main Street. We see it in the nasty deception of going to war for the sake of peace. We see it in gross energy consumption that is altering the very climate of the planet we live on.


    Sometimes we learn the hard way that fighting is not a way that works. Many conflicts erupt because someone had to talk back, stare back, fight back, rather than letting it go before it escalates. In Japanese, if someone is looking for a fight it is called “selling an argument” (kenka wo uru). If someone is selling and you are buying, you may find yourself drawn into a conflict that didn’t need to happen. To have no enemies means to make no enemies.


    The Principle of Non-Dissension


    An excellent illustration of the principle of non-dissension can be found in the Japanese martial art of Aikido 合氣道 in which you learn to diffuse conflict by merging with movement, rather than colliding with it. Instead of butting headlong into people and problems, develop a sense of harmony and flexibility in your approach to life. Aikido teaches you through repeated practice that the best way to harmonize is to synchronize.


    There are many ways to think about winning without fighting. You can win by removing yourself from the conflict, getting out of the fray in the first place. You can win by passive resistance, the way of Mahatma Gandhi, in which you win by not fueling the conflict. If you have a good understanding of all points of view, you can find a Win/Win solution, in which all sides benefit. Sun Tzu’s way is to win at the outset, through superior insight and perspective. In such ways you will avoid many of the problems that plague people, problems partly of their own making, and enjoy life more as you find the path of least resistance.



    • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加

    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

    Similar Articles