Treat every encounter as a fight to the finish.
The Eight Essentials for Novice Swordsmen
The human body is very fragile. Any physical encounter should be taken seriously, as there is always the chance of being injured when you find yourself in a combative situation. Even if you win, the old saying holds true; when two tigers fight, one will be killed and the other will be injured. Never underestimate your enemy or his ability to do bodily injury to you. Treat every violent confrontation as a possible life-or-death situation.
Treating every physical encounter as a fight to the finish ensures that you are in the right frame of mind for the fight. You must have your mind focused on the task at hand, which is to make sure you are safe, and to destroy your enemy’s will to continue to be a threat to you or those around you. Don’t allow overconfidence to slip into your mind. There are no small enemies. Overconfidence can lead to your demise. Every fight is a serious fight. If it isn’t serious, you have no business fighting.
I’m not suggesting that by treating every physical threat as a fight to the finish, you should kill your opponent whenever you enter into a fight. This should be common sense. What I am saying is that you should enter that fight with the mindset that your enemy wants to kill you, and act accordingly in your self-defense applications. Never count on someone’s mercy or self-control in this type of situation. You take control. Make sure that you are safe, not because your enemy is unwilling to really hurt you, but by ensuring that he is unable to hurt you.
(From the book, WARRIOR: The Way of Warriorhood.)
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