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Power of zero: No chasing, competing, or catching up with our opponents

Sep 05, 2007 Power of zero: No chasing, competing, or catching up with our opponents

Practicing life and law as a harmonious whole.

As I inform my clients, our court cases are not about us against our opponents, but are about persuading the judge and jury.

In that regard, t’ai chi master extraordinaire Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo (pictured here, second from the top) once said: “Normally we think that if [our opponent] has 100 pounds of force or power, I better have 150. But then if I get 150 pounds of force, he may have accumulated more himself. Or there’ll be somebody else with more. So next time it will be my 150 against his 200. Then I’ll need to go to 250… and still, there’s always going to be somebody with more than me. So I need to reverse my approach. I need to take my own power down to 0. Then there’s no chasing or spiraling. Nothing can change. If he has 100, I have 0. If he has 150, I have 0. If he has 200, I still have 0, on and on, whatever he has, I’m always beneath it, it doesn’t change or affect me. I’m not chasing his attributes, or competing, or catching up, or exceeding him. That’s Taijiquan.”

In other words, t’ai chi and trials should be about harmonizing our situation, rather than focusing on winning. If winning is needed for us to harmonize our situation, so be it. If unavoidable harm to our opponent is needed to harmonize our situation, so be it again. If harmonization is possible without any loser and without harm to anyone, all the better. Jon Katz.

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