Remain Open To Cooperation

If our approach to a situation we wish to have influence over is tainted with prejudice and preconceptions, we have already shut ourselves off to the possibility of cooperation.

There are certain situations within which we find ourselves wherein it is necessary to impose our will on others. If we enter these situations with a closed mind we are setting ourselves up for failure from the start.

Prejudices and preconceptions may not feel like resistance to us, but, whether consciously or subconsciously, they create tensions within us that manifest outwardly as resistance. Others can sense this resistance and resistance begets more resistance.

By approaching a situation we wish to have influence over in this state, we have created a relationship of conflict, even in circumstances wherein conflict is unnecessary, undesirable, or in direct opposition to our goals. We may eventually get what we want through conflict, but not without the risk of loss.

Whenever possible, it is always more desirable to get what we want without conflict. This allows us to save our resources for when conflict is inevitable and unavoidable.

Getting what we want without conflict means doing so with the other person, not against the other person. Cooperation is the path to desirable outcomes without conflict.

Cooperation, in this sense, is not necessarily the working together towards a common goal, but the ability to get the other person or persons to work toward your goal without being hindered by unnecessary resistance.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted

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