To Fight For Peace

We all need to fight for what we believe in, but what some of us believe in is not fighting.

People are complex creatures full of inconsistencies and contradictions. Quite often, our actions do not align with what we claim to believe or value. Sometimes, our behaviors even directly contradict the very principles we espouse.

One such contradiction is the idea of fighting for peace. This may be the ultimate human paradox. In fact, literally millions of people have died over the years in an effort to live more peacefully, whether through acts of self-initiated violence, self-defense in the face of violence, violence as a means of protesting real or perceived injustices, or as innocent bystanders caught up in violence.

The fact is that we live in a violent world. Nature itself is violent. That we do not have to constantly fight for our lives against the elements, against predatory creatures, and against enemies or warring tribes is truly a modern, perhaps even regional, luxury.

While unrealistic to believe that we can live without struggle, challenges, conflict, or difficulty, we can choose to live without fighting and without violence unless and until someone forces our hand to the point where we must defend ourselves.

Even then, however, we must have prepared for violence in some way if we are to survive it, overcome it, and even transcend it. The secret is to find a means by which to deal with violence in a way that does not also violate our integrity, turning us into that which we are philosophically or spiritually opposed to.

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.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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