So, you ask, why is life war? Life is war because your true foes are implacable. Time is implacable (unless we can uncover the key to time travel, of course). Nature is implacable. Distortions, lies and untruths are implacable (sooner of later they always surface). But none of these are usually implacable in situ. They are all implacable in that they will always come into existence eventually and therefore will always return to your life, as to all other lives, no matter how assiduous you have been or are willing to be in resisting them when and where they re-enter your life. Therefore you must know that you will always need to be prepared to deal with them, for sooner or later they always arrive again in your life and then you must be a warrior to overcome their effects.
You don not have to accept bitterness. Like a bitter apple, you can decide not to partake of bitterness. It is a choice you nearly always make, though sometimes the choice is forced on you (often called "tyranny). Granted, when the "choice" is forced on you, the bitterness is strong,and one cannot avoid it immediately, but such bitterness does not last, as long as one is willing to let go of it when it begins to subside. Bitterness is like fear; sometimes it can be great, but if one is willing to let it pulse through the body and mind like a liquid, it departs soon enough and allows one to think clearly again, sometimes--but not always--immediately.
A true warrior knows that one can be at war with the immediate foe and yet be at peace with all else around him or her. That is the real truth of nature.
Now, a true warrior must, of course, need to ask, "How does one determine which things or elements of life with which must one be at peace, and which things, or elements of life with which must one be at war?" Simply, one must practice the arts of peace and war to know. One must examine their growth and maintenance, and then one will begin to recognize how the elements of war are sharp and destructive to peace, while peace is soft and essentially somewhat supportive of the need for the existence and maintenance of war, when necessary (such as when war may be necessary to acquire food or shelter). Peace engenders the ability to make war, when necessary, but war always refuses peace as a coexistent factor. War always desires more war, whereas peace sometimes wants anything but more peace (humans will often think of this particular state as boredom)--anything, including war, sometimes seems preferable to more peace. It is in our nature, and, again, this state, like fear and bitterness, must be understood to be like a liquid which rises from within and then pulses through and then away from one if one desires to allow it to do so. This is the nature of life in this universe, apparently, whether we wish it to be so or not. Recognizing this fact of our nature allows us to be at peace with ourselves, at peace with peace itself, and even at peace with war, especially when war is absolutely essential to the maintenance of our lives and true peace within our lives. But let us not be mistaken about one aspect of this concept: we can never truly simply choose war, for we must always strive to maintain peace so war usually must choose us, or war will overcome not only us, but all others around us. This is not to say we must avoid every decision to engage in war, but must always consider whether war is truely inevitable and engage it when and where it can be defeated at the least cost to all and everyone around us, if that is possible.
This, then, is usually the most difficult decision of all. Waiting too long engenders a greater cost, a greater war, even if successful eventually, but not waiting long enough can also engender a greater war and greater cost than originally imagined or considered. That is why practice is always necessary to learn all the aspects of the arts and sciences of war and peace. Practice engenders little cost: time, perhaps some measure of humility and a willingness to accept small failures to the greater success outside of practice. On this concept most of the martial arts concepts of the Orient have been strongly configured and are practiced daily.
Now we must examine the differences between art and sciences. Art is something that occurs only once truly. It is original and may never happen again. Science is something that can be predicated, predicted and replicated. Art is most usually, but not always, a creation of a general nature. The overall lines of a structure can be an art, but the minutae of the use of that structure, and perhaps the minutae constructed within that overall structure for planned use, is usually dictated to some regard by a science. Necessarily, art and science have a way of "bleeding" into each other and mixing almost homogeneously at some point, but that is appropriate, as life and death mix with each other appropriately.
It is a strange nature of man that we tend to think of the inevitability of negatives and sometimes refuse to think of the lifesame inevitability of positives. But peace is always inevitable. Sooner or later, and sometimes quite suddenly, peace can always break out. A true warrior must always be prepared to embrace peace when it happens, even if it is obvious that such peace will be short-lived, for it is in peace that we regenerate and build the strength to engage in any necessary aspect of life, including war--and, yes, more peace.
It is sometimes easy for us to forget that mankind has developed a goal-oriented mental framework through history in order to find, develop and acquire food and shelter. And when one forgets this, one forgets concurrently that sometimes food and shelter are already in front of us and we need only appreciate their immediate existence to partake. Peace is similar in this respect. Like a flower, we simply need to notice that it already exists to partake of beauty and loving fragrance. War may be similar, but far less frequently, and we must be willing to ask, when it is perceived, "but is this war necessary" or we will fall into the chasm of ever-seeking the destructions that are a part of all wars and thereby defeating our own design and desire for fulfillment, legacy and emergent success. So we should not consider goal-orientation as the sole requirement for success, but only one of at least two methods of acquisition.
For much of man's existence, the strategy of war was usually very linear. The enemy is before us, even "the enemy" of hunger or various levels of pain, and must be conquered. But the time has come for man where strategy must, like war, become more of a wheel, a concurrent series of flexible options any of which should be chosen for the moment. This is not to say that strategy has now become wholly tactical in nature. It is to say that one may need to abandon a strategy, for exigent causes, if some new factor has entered the war that did not exist when a particular strategy was chosen. It is simple to say that one must always be ready to examine whether a prior chosen strategy is still appropriate, but it is also difficult to note that often changing increments of value seem to call for abandoning a particular strategy, and the difference is that increments of value and exigent causes are essentially different in nature. Understanding this difference is critical and can only be understood through critical practice. Western man has recognized a simple truth that "practice makes perfect" (as far as such an analogy can be truthful), but eastern peoples have also recognized a greater truth when it is said by some of them, "practice is perfect" and it is a great truth that implementation of that perfect within practice does breed a far greater ability. Western man has been very slow to recognize this, but truth is not often completely easy to digest.
There are three essential points of strategy for every endeavor, including war. They are plan, implementation, and patience. These three points of strategy may occur in any order, war being somewhat unforgiving as to when and where it presents itself and informs us that it is already in the process of occurring. This is one of the reasons practice is always considered as essential. If war is a surprise, only constant constructive practice can prepare the warrior for an almost instinctual reflexive response that neutralizes the attack to allow time for proper planning, patience and implementation. Nothing changes this. The types of wars may change and the types of practice for the different types of wars may change, but the need for practice in preparation for some type of war never changes. Even for death we practice by sleeping each night, as possible. Life teaches us this, whether we wish to acknowledge it or not.
It is also true that often, if not always, all three of these points of strategy should be acknowledged as existing concurrently. At least two must always be considered concurrently. And this recognition adds force to the statement that strategy now must always be considered a wheel of options rather than a single spoke to be held until culmination of activities, or culmination of patience. Life, for man, has changed. War is no longer a set piece of possibilities, so practice in a set piece of possibilities is no longer sufficient preparation for any form of war. Indeed, the structure of war now may be quite different from its theoretical goals. One unfortunate consequence of man's growth is that often war can be perceived to be the only method of movement or progress toward a perceived peace. When this state of thinking is attained, it is difficult to perceive peace even if it exists everywhere, including directly under the nose of even the peace-seeking ostensible warrior. Sometimes engaging in constructive practice (rather than maintaining a direct engagement in an outright war) can overcome this outlook rather suddenly. This is the greater value of maintaining a requirement for constant practice even during an engagement within a war. Thereby the insight can be acquired to overcome the opponent and allow true peace to break out--if the warrior is willing to let go of the war. Sometimes the insight can even be gained to realize that overcoming the opponent is no longer necessary. The war may have already been won and to engage further would simply create another war. This is often critical in man's endeavors and should be considered so at all times.
All other considerations of strategy involve space (including terrain), resources (including intelligence, both informative and the structure of obtaining informative intelligence, as well as all potential weapons of war and peace) and force (including commitment as well as intentional removal of all force). To delve into the particulars of these would be to limit their existent possibilities upon the true warrior's mind and thereby deprive him or her of the necessary recognition of their existence (in situ).
Pins, traps and such things as gambits are tactics. They are useful, but like all tactics, they are also usually limited to an "at the moment" constructive even when they are planned far in advance.
The tools for practice of peace include meditation, yoga and tai chi, although it may be argued that over time tai chi has evolved into a method of practice for war (which is partially true). The tools for the practice of war include forms of martial arts (not all, but some), history (again, not all), and some forms of strategy games, to include go and chess (eastern as well as western versions). As regards chess, the western version of chess is essentially a "set piece" structure that was appropriate for feudal western times, but particularly in the movement of pawns (always forward) has begun to fail in modern warfare. Oriental forms of chess also include a piece (Po) wherein force is not applied unless a piece exists somewhere in the interval between the piece of force and the piece that may receive that force, creating a more modern, but still largely different, version of the "cannon". All classic forms of go and chess, however, structuralize the linear strategy of man's prior history and have no provisions for the concurrent strategies of war necessary to man's modern existence (since, at least roughly, WWI, although examples prior to that existed throughout the centuries, particularly among indigenous North Americans).
The "western" world recognizes the idea that "practice makes perfect", but the "eastern" world also realizes that "practice IS perfect" (or, at least, CAN be). What does this mean? It is sometimes only in practice where we perform something "perfectly". The "western" world says that if it is not done in combat or competition, "perfect" is "meaningless". But life, even in "practice", is LIFE, and "perfect", at any time, is perfect, and counts toward being able to do anything well enough to continue with life, or, at least, prepare one to continue with life. And to that end, a gym in the "eastern" world is where all are brothers and sisters in pursuit of a sense of perfection, where no one wins and no one loses ever. All win. All. THAT's the GOAL, always. That's why they get so good at so many endeavors, if you didn't happen to notice.
Now, in that light, it must be noted that some recent innovations in chess have allowed for a "strategic wheel" warfare, allowing for more than the standard "two player, tit for tat" structure of game play. At this point, however, we are concerned with tools which were developed to mimic the oriental martial art form of Batsai, which is a physical practice structure designed for combat practice against up to eight physical opponents. The benefit of this tool is not dependant on its static dimension, but in what occurs while the game is in progress. To explain somewhat, oriental martial arts are grounded on the concept that a constant study of distance and competing resources during combat not only allows for provisional victory, but also creates a "safe haven of peace" within the warrior's mind within the act of combat, thus allowing for internal peace even during the external physical act of hand to hand combat. Thereby, there are no losers and all participants are winners. This is the basic "Combat Among Siblings" paradigm where combat of a sort exists, but it exists within parameters that exclude danger and injury. Maternal and paternal instincts usually define this realm at a very early age. Advancement of this concept in man's adult age has been only sporadic--but culturally defining when it occurs. The reason for this is that the concept allows for massive amounts of practice with little or no loss of resources, reflecting the "practice is perfect" concept noted above. The resultant skills acquired by such practice is often considered "superhuman" by cultures that do not embrace this core concept of survival in their mature years.
ImmortalStarMasters accomplishes this through its allowance of up to six players engaged in concurrent "free for all" sense of "combat". The reason this is advantageous is that six minds will probably have a wide degree of difference in goals and objectives. The implementation of six difference strategies allows room for sudden changes and reversals. Necessary reconsiderations of one's strategic goals becomes obvious in the face of wholesale expectation of defeat should one refuse to acknowledge that a prior chosen strategy is hopelessly obsolete given the current status of the game. Similarly, a sudden realization that immediate success may be possible should one abandon a prior chosen strategy and embrace a new strategy (provision for checkmate of multiple opponents is made for this purpose: StarMate). Thereby, the occasion of a sudden illumination may occur. And ImmortalStarMasters exists primarily for that sudden moment of illumination to the true warrior. The continuation of life is often dependant on knowing what one thought one knew really is not so. And, all other elements being relatively static under nearly all conditions, practicing what one should do when such illumination occurs is the most critical element of necessary practice for successful conclusion of war and maintenance of the most possible of peace.
Your first actual strategic move should be to develope a 360 degree viewpoint. Why?
Because strategy includes (1) a ranking of your assets, (2) a ranking of your opponents' assets, (3) a ranking of your liabilities, (4) a ranking of your opponents' liabilities, (5) a plan to eventually decrease your opponents' assets and increase their liabilities, and (6) a plan to increase and secure your assets while decreasing your liabilities.
A strategic plan should include a mission goal AND a mission statement (what do you want to accomplish--look beyond the obvious). The mission statement includes the viewpoints of any potential opponents to the plan. The mission goal is the reason or intent for implementing the plan. In a chess tournament, a player's simplest goal is to win the immediate game, but a more-forward thinking player may propose to win in a way which advances chess as a consistent truth. The difference is sublime, but often critically important, for often the sublime mind finds ways the obvious mind fails completely to perceive.
Once the strategic plan is established, next in consideration, as everyone knows, is a selection of a series of potential tactics.
Of course, everyone thinks tactics is "just detail". And that can be just completely wrong.
Tactics is the implementation of a specfic action toward a particular priority on a particular strata.
Finally, progress is overall growth of your most important assets (you "almost" always get to choose which those are, although some assets are not exactly liquid).
Life, and business, really is that simple--and that's the problem, isn't it?
The true warrior's only real opponent is nearly always time. All other opponents can be defeated in one way or another (even through simple patience), but time can only be delayed, even with patience and accumulated knowledge.
Now, what is all this based on? Largely on Batsai (So Lim Sa, China, circa 1550 AD), the oriental martial art form based on preparation for hand-to-hand combat surrounded by eight opponents.
Note: When stratifying your assets, at least one--usually the closest "in peril" strata to your "heart"--will immediately begin to scream at you. As one is taught in the implementation of Batsai, "Don't move, yet. Fear is just a liquid flowing through you--if you let it flow, fear will go." And you can begin to move as the fear actually flows through and then away from you. As always, and oft stated, "Don't forget to inhale--and exhale." And to that you can add, "Don't forget to keep observing and measuring!"
Lack of planning for contingencies that are very possible, even if they are somewhat doubtful, may be the most serious problem mankind faces. Without planning, when a series of apparently negative contingencies continue to occur, the resultant reaction to sudden stress, over time, creates a situation where the only seeming appropriate response is to panic. Many decisions are frequently made without sufficient information, and one of the most common decisions is to eliminate possible contingencies because they seem "unlikely", especially if they are considered "too horrible to think about right now". So no provision is made. And when that contingency strikes, no series of actions, and certainly no plan, is in place to implement. Panic ensues.
After just a few such contingencies occur, unlikely as they may have seemed--perhaps with other consequences that were also very much unforeseen--panic can become a de rigeur response to any unexpected turn of events, even almost inconsequential ones. Therefore, constant collection of information, and consideration of real consequences, on even somewhat doubtful contingencies, is one of a group of several prime necessities.
So, is there a method, a paradigm, to effect this state of "constant information collection" with some indication of which information to collect? Historically, the game of chess presented a "learning game" paradigm for this process, but early in the twentieth century chess "became obsolete" as a reasonable paradigm for cultural interaction, being substantially limited to two-person interactions. Current FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs) chess is built on the "...If I do A and my opponent does B, then I will...." paradigm. The twentieth century, however, was not the very dawn, but only a continuance of at least three-person interactions on a moment to moment basis. This has spawned a constant question of, "If I do this and then that person does A, and another person does B and a third person does C, what else can I do?" So, like any living truth, chess had to truely advance within its own paradigm, within a fundemental change-modality, with strict attention to as many of the rules of the original paradigm as is possible:
This page and all attached pages (excepting any outside links and graphics related thereto, of course) are