Household disputes, epic battles, nail-biting duels, philosophical debates, fighting of every kind is a metaphor; timespace's representation of the battle between the wills of the participants. In my opinion, the most successful participants are the ones who can read the style of their opponent and change their mindset to counter it. The tenacity of their focus on this mindset will win them exchanges safely. While switch ups are necessary, the fewer actions that violate the style they are countering with, the greater their chance of success. This is all well and good if I am talking about fighting as not many can say they have battled to the extent that I have, but what about all that stuff about disputes and debates? How does all that sort out? Dear reader, the two are but shadows of the same truth. Let me explain with a personal example.
When speaking to my own mother, it is common for me to become irritated at how often she throws out the same bits of information out at me. I don't have a problem with it per say, I understand it is from the best of places, but it is just one of those things that just gets me. We all find them in the ones we love, so overcoming them is most probably a universal battle waged by all humans past a certain age. If this were some fantasy battle, I'd characterize my mom's comments like a cloud of gas around her that deals a tiny bit of damage while around her for long periods of time without movement or action. In said fantasy battle, if I were to leave the poison cloud, I'd no longer take damage, but I'd also deal damage to her because she wants to talk to me. So I can't leave. What do I do? I'd probably cast a spell or just cover my mouth to stop myself from ingesting the poison. Ironically, this technique works equally well when not in the fantasy setting. I love the word irony here and I think it is perfect, but I want to expound on that point by saying that this mirroring of actions across mediums of expression is more than metaphor. It is true congruency.
Next time you feel someone's presence is defeating you, consider observing their mindset and asking yourself what mindset you must be loyal to in order to benefit the current situation. If they are hurting you, are you going to hurt them to show them that you are in pain because of them? Are you going to do something that will protect yourself from the actions you know you can defend against? Are you going to simply leave the battle because you can't defend against it? Are you going to burn bright and warm to pacify and heal? We all know the coworker with the stonewall smile and I-don't-give-a-shit to their boss. We all have met someone who strikes the most exposed nerve you have just to make you feel as in pain as they are. How do you deal with those tactics? Do you defend yourself? Do you fall like a soccer player to show them how successful their strike was? Do you make the first move or the second?
Ask these questions as martial artists do, modify your footwork and your tactics, let that mindset lead your actions. Remind the world that all forms of expression are the real metaphor. For all of it is metaphor for the truth as it is in this very moment.