The master and the combat

By Paulo Coelho

The aikidí´ master demanded intensive training but never allowed his pupils to compete with other martial-arts academies. They all complained among themselves but no-one ever had the nerve to bring up the subject in class.

And then one day one of the boys dared to ask:

– We have dedicated ourselves wholeheartedly to the study of aikidí´, but we shall never know whether we are good or bad fighters because we cannot compete with anyone from outside here.

– And may you never need to know that – was the master’s answer. – He who wants to fight loses his bond with the Universe. Here we study the art of resolving conflicts, not starting them.

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet


  1. I watched a demonstration of martial arts where the person uses the attacker’s energy and sends them flying backward with just a gentle touch–no fighting. It was profoundly moving and amazing and reminded me that what we resist persists. I’m using the art of yeilding in my daily life when someone attacks me verbally. i don’t attack back. Blessings to you all for a peaceful, happy holiday. So wonderful to read about Paulo’s work to end violence against women.

    Anne Davidson

  2. Marie-Christine says:

    I am seriously thinking of joining an Aikido’s class.

  3. Sahil says:

    The master is true to the core…
    In a world, already populated by cruelty, further conflicts should be avoided. If all the people or a majority of them keep this fact in mind, then surely the world will be a much better and peaceful place to live in.
    And i totally agree with Sefer JAN. The politicians should heed the akido master’s advice. This will help to clear the mess they have made of this world….
    peace ho..

  4. Sefer JAN says:

    All politicians of today’s world, especially of powerfull countries have to read this story :-)

  5. THELMA says:

    Dearest Paul from Austria, I agree with you. Listening to last night’s news in Taj-Mahal [they killed a Greek Cypriot too, just because he … had an English passport. He did not have time to explain!!!] and the …pirates with the tanker and the story, on investigation, about killing the Serbs in a so-called house-hospital, in order to take their… organs for transplant, and the children who disappear just for ‘organ’s trade’, Hitler appears to be .. a lamb in comparison with them! The third war is now, madness is everywhere in small and big scale. The system of justice is wrong, based on decay [ I have a personal experience]. Technology has improved and made miracles but ‘morality’ has collapsed. Yes, my dear Paulo Coelho, ‘do as you WILL’ for personal happiness, but our boundaries stop there where the will and freedom of somebody else starts. Who will ‘teach’ the loveless, the hungry, the suppressed, the victims of brute violence and injustice that ‘revolution’ in not the only way out? Who will teach to the wrong-doers the TRUTH? Christ has said ‘to turn the other cheek’ to the enemy, but also He threw with violence the merchants out of the Temple!
    Do we realize, in our everyday life, that the Law of Karma [cause and effect] governs everything? This is the force that keeps us on Earth, the gravity of the .. four elements. It is the desires of the material world. Evil and Good follow the same rules! They return seven times stronger. It is the divine justice. These are not my words, but the wisdom found in the Gospel, the ‘Evangelio’ of Love.

  6. elisabeth delage says:

    i think and i hope, we’ve got enough knowledges and experiences to try to do that…i’m okay with that !!!

  7. tinni t. says:

    conflicts… who needs them?!!! they destroy everything – politics, art, science.. so is it when human ambition is more important than respect, tolerance and love to other one.
    what can we do when someone makes conflict and for example offends us?
    my very first reaction is to understand and avoid it…, but sometimes when it is especially painful i lose my nerves too…

    some days ago we spoke about diamonds. for me the most important of them are three expressions —>>> THANK YOU, IM SORRY, PLEASE
    love to all of you

  8. Adina says:

    Good evening,

    In this story, I think their master considered aikidí´ a way (quite difficult and tough) for the students to get connect to the Universe or superior spirituality.For the master was not important they are good for effectivelly fighting, but for keeping peace into their own souls.

    “Mens sana in corpore sano” (“Healthy mind in healthy body”,and I wasn’t that good at Latin in school).

    I think all challenges in our life are ment to take us closer to descovering our own full spiritual potential.But this is hapening if you judge them positively and don’t hate God for bad events in your life.

    I feel myself worrior in a certain way. Perhaps because my father used to be a soldier. But I may be a different kind one. For me, Fear, Insecurity and Sadness teached me to become some kind of fighter (in spirit). Thank God for those bad feelings. This way I learned how to help others (in an empiric way) but, you know, a nice word may do miracles in somebody else’s life. I own this to the world.

    So aikidí´ training means self-discipline, focusing, paying attention to details,equilibrium, health, creating inside peace.

    Great story.

    Best regards,


  9. Savita Vega says:

    This is precisely why I would love to study aikido: the principle that sets it apart from the other martial arts. And one day I will study it, when I move back to some place where lessons are available.

    On the whole, this makes me think of a moment of realization I had a few days back. I was listening to something on the radio about conflict resolution in Darfur and suddenly it hit me that perhaps the world is changing! It used to be that young people could go to school to become trained in the art of war – in logistics or the like – the objective of which was always simply “to win.” Nowadays, however, their are a plethora of degrees one can seek on the university level that prepare them to be the peacemakers and peacekeepers of the next generation. When they finish their degrees, they come out as “conflict specialists” but of a different sort. They study the causes of war, the roots of oppression and conflict, the diversity which causes disputes between cultures and societies. They learn how to enter into the heart of the conflict and propose resolutions equally appealing to both sides. They learn, in essence, the art of making peace.

    This, I think, is a truly new development in our society, the fact that many of today’s youth are electing to pursue such careers. Of course, one could say that the demand is simply high, due to the increase in conflict throughout the globe. But I would like to think there is more to it than that. I think it is a shift in perspective: our youth are no longer mesmerized by the “glory” of war, no longer satisfied by the promise of winning. They hold higher aspirations than the previous generations, specifically because the threat, as well as the potential loss, is so great. They aspire to prevent war, to end it: to promote peace rather than prepare for and seek out conflict.

    I think the sentiment that inspired the hippie generation, but which at that time was just an “idea,” did indeed take root in our common psyche. That seed has now sprouted and taken on tangible form. It is no longer just an idea – “PEACE & LOVE” – it is a force that has real power to transform the world in which we live. Today’s youth are not just out there protesting and making a spectacle of themselves as did their parents or grandparents, they are going to school and learning how to make their parents’ or grandparents’ ideal of peace into the reality of the future.

    This is not to suggest that the hippie generation was wrong, but that they didn’t know what else to do. The idea was there, but the resources weren’t yet in place. No one knew quite how to manifest that ideal – to make it real. It was something ephemeral, floating in the air, but not yet tangible. This generation is taking that next step, not simply by protesting and acting out in defiance, but by the very career paths they are choosing to follow. The very fact that there are so many degrees available in universities worldwide which qualify one to become an official “peacemaker,” I hope, is a positive sign that the ideal of the 60’s is finding its footing in this new millennium.

    (Okay, so I’m feeling a bit optimistic today.)


  10. Alexandra says:

    Yes.indeed.I agree with learning self defence,but avoid force as much as possible.It must be the last solution.

  11. THELMA says:

    We must be ready, every day, for any challenge. We must be ready for ..the war, but just in order to be able to keep balance and peace. Sometimes it is necessary to show our power, so that our enemies may make ..second thoughts in attacking us. Sometimes war is inevitable.
    Then, in war, as in love … everything is permitted, as long as we ..stay intact.

  12. Gina Re says:

    13:6 E, havendo atravessado a ilha até Pafos, acharam um certo judeu mágico, falso profeta, chamado Barjesus,

    13:7 O qual estava com o procí´nsul Sérgio Paulo, homem prudente. Este, chamando a si Barnabé e Saulo, procurava muito ouvir a palavra de Deus.

    13:8 Mas resistia-lhes Elimas, o encantador (porque assim se interpreta o seu nome), procurando apartar da fé o procí´nsul.

    13:9 Todavia Saulo, que também se chama Paulo, cheio do Espí­rito Santo, e fixando os olhos nele,

    13:10 Disse: í“ filho do diabo, cheio de todo o engano e de toda a malí­cia, inimigo de toda a justií§a, ní£o cessarás de perturbar os retos caminhos do Senhor?