As the parents of two small children, we occasionally have to deal with meltdowns. The reason could be something reasonable like ‘I want to watch TV’, or less-so, like ‘I WANT to watch TV even though its 4 in the morning’, but suffice it to say, disagreements are a part of family life. Now, many times (especially the 4-in-the-morning cases) I just get annoyed and there’s a clash of personalities.. until my wife steps in and the situation is gently resolved. But sometimes, just sometimes, patience reigns and I go with the situation.. talk it out.. maybe even turn on the TV for 5 minutes.. and then distract or deflect attention on to something else.. perhaps involving sleep.
I didn’t realise it at first, but this is also a martial arts technique: instead of banging against the opponent’s incoming energy you first attach yourself to it (or ‘accept’ it) then go with it, and then you may influence it. In Lung Ying, for example, we seek to ‘deflect’ instead of ‘block’.
Actually, the technique is useful for almost any negotiation or conflict situation, be it at work, at home, or anywhere else. Obviously, the desired outcome in those situations is not to ‘win’ but rather to find a synergy. Animal instinct will tell us to just fight, but synergy can only be found through first accepting and understanding the other person’s point of view.
Then, everyone wins.