You can defeat ego

closeup photo of black hilt and brown sword

Or more accurately, people who have an ego. If you have an ego, winning at all costs becomes your modus operandi. This is why ego is so dangerous, you try so hard to win, you lose sight of the real reason to play the game in the first place; to play the game and learn to be a better version of your yesterday self.

The ancient Japanese (while borrowing from the Chinese) were right in knowing things were a way, rather than a black and white win and loss.

There are no winners in Kendo, the ‘way’ of the sword. Instead there is the concept Utte hansei, utarete kansha. Hit, and analyze (were you just lucky? Where could you improve?). Get hit, and appreciate (the lesson). This idea is taken straight from centuries of samurai warfare.

People with an ego think they can do one thing to ‘win’. ‘Winning’ is not the aim of the game, the aim is to play the game. As long as you’re still in the game, you’re still in the game.

This post was inspired by the recent Japan Experts podcast on Kendo. If you haven’t, I recommend you give it a listen.

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