Jul 05, 2009 Persuading and fighting more successfully by humanizing opponents
Lately, I have gotten many new weekly ideas for persuasion and trial combat, through weekend t’ai chi push hands gatherings, daily solo practice, and ongoing viewing of videos and reading of books by today’s and yesterday’s t’ai chi masters. Here are some recent ideas:
– Learned at Sunday t’ai chi push hands practice today: Do not be too late in yielding nor attacking.
– Also learned at t’ai chi- Several efforts may be needed to find the opponent’s stiffness or gravity center to push against, sometimes including through pushing and yielding a few times on the same part of the opponent’s body.
– T’ai chi push hands, the Art of War, and trial practice are about moving when the opponent starts to move, and arriving before the opponent.
– Chinese speakers are advantaged to read the t’ai chi texts untranslated. At the park with my son Friday night, I asked a Chinese-speaking woman what the three Chinese characters in T.T. Liang’s classic said, and she exclaimed "T’ai chi ch’uan". In reply to my doing CMC’s t’ai chi form, she proceeded to demonstrate the form she knows. She speaks little English. We spoke through t’ai chi.
– We are all connected, and should not see life via us v. them, leftist v. reactionary, and cops v. good people. Then, we will be more self-aware, self-fulfilled, intuitive, empathetic, persuasive, grounded, and non-alienating.
– T’ai chi keeps me straying less from the latter path, and coming closer to more effective trial battle, better personal health, and harmony.
– T’ai chi teaches that we are weaker in battle when we fear our opponents, which causes us to tense up. We must see our connection to them. This concept runs counter to the common efforts of soldiers and others to dehumanize opponents.
– When we humanize opponents, we must be all the more committed to our cause to inflict injury on our opponents.
– The goal of battle — whether political, in court, or physical — should be to harmonize the situation to one’s advantage.
– A trial lawyer has no business taking a case if s/he will avoid harming the opponent where such harm is necessary for serving the client.
– T’ai chi rejects absolute pacifism, it would seem. In the hands of masters, t’ai chi can inflict severe injury and death, with little physical force. For good reason, late t’ai chi master T.T. Liang — who left the planet in 2002 at the age of 102 – believed that t’ai chi promotes less violence, though.
– We inflict damage daily, including on the environment with our cars, on laborers living in misery for Wal-Mart prices, and on eaten animals.
– T’ai chi, of course, is not about the ends justifying the means. We must be aware of the damage we inflict, knowingly and unknowingly. Jon Katz.