Try to Win, or Just Not Lose?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by isshinryuronin, Dec 6, 2020.

  1. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    Here is a strategic philosophical question -

    A. Funakoshi Gichin said, "Do not think of winning - think of not losing."

    B. One of the maxims of the Jigenryu sword school (several Okinawan karate masters were trained in this) is, "The sword is a tool to defeat the enemy, not a tool to protect oneself with."

    Can these two concepts be reconciled, or do they represent opposite strategies of combat?
     
  2. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    In battle field, only a dead enemy will have no threaten to your life.
     
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  3. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Defeating the enemy is not always a win.
     
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  4. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Try to Win, or Just Not Lose?

    - Winning is losing. Losing is winning.
    - Your enemy is your friend. Your friend is your enemy.
    - Dead is alive. Alive is dead.
    - ...
     
  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    "If you are not first your are last.":)

    Seriously, it this a 'noble savage' kind of question?

    It takes a healthy amount of both in any kind of extended engagement (and yes, that includes a rewarding life).
    I have seen some very, very good fighters go out early because they believed they had to give their all from the very beginning, only to find their 'all' was not good enough against someone else's endurance or will.
    Conversely, I have seen some fighters not even considered average by many that had the grit to hang around until the later rounds.
    There are few who have both.
     
  6. Ivan

    Ivan Purple Belt

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    No one remembers anyone but the man who wins. I want to be remembered, so I focus on winning. No one cares about second best, and neither do you or myself. I only ever focus on people who win - Bruce Lee for example.
     
  7. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    If you just want not lose, all you will need is to be able to run faster than your opponent. But if you want to win, you will need a lot of MA training.

    If you want to win, you will need to train how to use

    - kick to deal with punch.
    - throw to deal with kick.
    - punch to deal with throw.
    - ...
     
  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    For competition, sure. But not everything is competition.
     
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  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    They're both philosophical statements, rather than strategies, IMO.

    In self-defense (including the part before you actually have to defend), it's not necessary to win, so long as you don't lose. The meaning there is that it's not necessary that you "defeat" anyone, so long as you walk away healthy.

    The sword statement I'd have to give more thought to. My initial reaction is that the sword is about destruction, not preservation. The aim is to use it to attack, with no thought to defense. (Obviously, the latter part is philosophical, and not literal.)
     
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  10. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    Never implied that to "not think of winning," one cannot win. You are reading into Funakoshi's quote a surface conclusion and perhaps doing him a disservice. I'm sure he did not believe in being second best. Go deeper into what that quote can mean.

    Most of us have experienced driving home, and got there, without actually being aware of driving there (even when sober.) In kyudo archery, not thinking of the target is a key concept. Taoist philosophy teaches similar ideas. (Bruce Lee was very familiar with Taoism.)

    If one adheres to proper martial art principles, has strong mind, body and spirit, and skillfully executes techniques, the win will come by itself, naturally. Sometimes trying too hard, focusing too much on the "win," takes away from the path to get there. Older, more experienced, martial artists may have a better appreciation of what Funakoshi was hinting at.

    Like walking on rough trail, bent on your destination, eyes glued to the warm cabin up ahead, only to trip on a branch and break your ankle, or step on a snake and get bit - you are "lost." Should have been more concerned with the path, executing its route, and have been thinking of not losing rather than the win of getting to the cabin. (Yes, I love metaphors.)

    A fundamental military doctrine, as true now as a thousand years ago, is that before setting off to battle, the following must be accomplished: Lines of supply and communication must be established and defended, flanks and rear must be secured, and the ground be to your advantage. This insures that you are not vulnerable to the enemy's attack. So, a good general 'thinks of not losing," this being the second part of Funakoshi's quote. Then, the general's army, employing good training and tactics, fitness, and courage (mind, body and spirit) will most likely be victorious.

    That's my take on the A part of my post. The B part may be just as valid. Even so, can both views co-exist? Or, as I see jpseymour just posted, each has a separate purpose?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2020
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  11. Yokozuna514

    Yokozuna514 Black Belt

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    Interesting question, that relies 100% on the interpretation of the person providing answers. It is within this interpretations that will allow you to see the mind of person answering. To answer your question, yes these two concepts can be reconciled in my mind. Winning = defeating. Not losing does not always equal protecting.
     
  12. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    some times peolple try and sound profound when they in fact have nothing sensible to say

    that seemms to be the case for both those quotes

    they are the same thing, with the,added rider, that some times in fights, in fact in life in general you cant win, well not with out some outragoius luck

    all you can do is hang on in there and try and loose less badly or maybe get an honoury draw, that you still goiing when other people have got bored and left.

    that takes no less commitment or belief, in fact to keep going in the face of over welming odd when you have no chance of victory shows deeper charecter
     
  13. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's a great question.

    It also makes me think the clown in the Whitehouse must have read Funakoshi.
     
  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    When one has nothing to say, he may say "Good is bad, and bad is good". His saying can make him to sound "very deep".
     
  15. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    My personal thoughts is that we often put too many things in boxes and then label it. Fighting strategy should be like a lake with fish, how you catch the fish depends on the type of fish you are are trying to catch and the weather. Is the weather hot or is the lake frozen.

    2 Different things can be both true at the same time. There's no need to reconcile or see one as an opposite of the other. Everything is about context and context can change in an instant.

    Sometimes we make things more difficult than needed
     
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  16. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Green Belt

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    Funakoshi is one of the biggest names in karate, which is, at its heart, a self-defense system that is largely empty-handed. As such, it makes sense that someone focused on self defense would be primarily concerned with not getting your *** kicked, as opposed to achieving an objective such as dominating an opponent or territory. By contrast, it makes sense that a school that teaches a sword art, which was associated with warfare at the time, would be more concerned with greater objectives than the simple preservation of oneself.123
     
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