To battle is ingrained in the very DNA of life. From the smallest microorganisms to the largest mammals, to the multitudes of marine creatures to avian life; each species, each individual, is locked in a battle, every day, for the entirety of its existence. A battle for survival, to eat or to avoid being eaten, to exist for just a while longer. The earth, then, is a vast battlefield, with innumerable duels taking place at any given instant.

There is one species that excels at battling. Humans, after all, won the battle against all other life forms decisively. They used their superior intelligence to vanquish even the largest, the fastest, the most ferocious and the most poisonous of beasts. But, having vanquished all other types of life on earth, what would the restless battling spirit that is so ingrained in all life, ask of them? Battle a more worthy foe, of course. Each other.

Over centuries the craft of battle was honed, through countless massacres and righteous victories. To capture power, or to gain freedom, to protect, or to oppress, for glory or sacrifice. Whatever the cause, the art of battle remains the same.

What did they learn?

That victory is seldom won on the battlefield. Instinct, courage, strength and valor can only get you so far. Against a worthy foe, they're merely the price of entry. That a battle is not won by luck, even when it seems so. Luck is a lie the ill-prepared tell themselves. The victors, however, know, that it has nothing to do with victory.

Patience is a virtue, even in battle. In the heat of battle, when adrenaline is pumping through the veins, even a slight opening seems enough to warrant an attack. But the opening could be a ploy. Set up for just that reason, to tempt a headlong attack only to realize the strength and organization of the opposition, but by then it is too late.

Sniffing out a weakness takes a trained eye. Confirming the weakness to be genuine and not a ruse, involves thinking several steps into the future. Failing to distinguish a real weakness from a carefully set trap would lead to certain defeat.

Sacrifice is a powerful weapon. When used judiciously, it can entice an opponent into making a move you were prepared for. Forcing your opponent to do what you want him to do is often enough to let you launch an attack on multiple fronts. The enemy is torn between protecting it's different flanks, and that indecision, that doubt, is enough to grant you an advantage.

In every battle, against every foe, there is a narrow window of opportunity, the perfect alignment of your forces to launch a lethal attack. It doesn't come often, but if you maneuver wisely, it will come eventually. And when it does, attack then, on multiple fronts, with all your might, relentlessly, to finally overwhelm and claim your victory.

And the final lesson? That you win the battle not by vanquishing your opponent, but by defeating your own weaknesses. Only then do you earn the right to call out in triumph, "Checkmate!"


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