One of the best things I ever learned from practicing tai chi was how to manage conflict graciously.

Most of us women never learned how to fight.

I spent two years in a YWCA support group for battered women when I was 30 to 31, so I learned about abuse, but I did not learn how to stand up for myself, how to manage conflict or how to fight gracefully.

More than 20 years later, tai chi has taught me how to use my energy to manage conflict.

Because so many of my women clients never learned how to fight either, I am simplifying this information to make it easier to learn.

Ground yourself. If you are fully grounded, in your body and connected to the earth, you can’t be pushed over. Too many spiritual people are not only ungrounded, they are disconnected completely from their physical body. This is not good. If you learn the three nails, you can use your energy to ground yourself through your feet. Energetically reach through your heel, the ball of your foot and your big toe to ground yourself.


Evade. The first thing to do if someone is trying to fight with you is step out of the way. If you step out of the way and avoid a fight, you are doing both yourself and the person who wants to fight with you a favor. That’s because in an actual fight literally everybody gets hurt. Words get said that shouldn’t be said. Fists fly. Things get scratched, bruised and beat up. It is not cowardly to step out of the way graciously. It is wise.


Ward off. If your intended opponent keeps on trying to throw punches, you do what I call “send them to another department.” When you ward off, you use your energy to redirect their energy. You find a bigger expert. You send them for help elsewhere.


Block. If evading and warding off don’t work, you block. When you block, you set extreme boundaries. You don’t allow their energy to get into your space. You will know if their energy has gotten into your space if you are even allowing them into your head space. What about this? What about that? If you are spending time thinking about them, you have let them in, you are running their energy through your energy and you are energetically in the conflict. When you block, you keep your energy free and clear. You keep them out of your head space. A quick way to do this on a mental/emotional/spiritual level is to ask yourself the author Byron Katie’s question: “Who would I be without this conflict?” Get back to your peaceful self. Stay out of other people’s stuff. Stop trying to control the world, do things for other people, fighting their battles. If you buy into the fact that there is a conflict, then you have bought into their energy, you are in the fight and you are losing your energy by the minute.


If I were having you write this up instead of me, I would have you draw a line across your paper at this point.


That’s because when you evade, ward off or block, you end up avoiding a fight.


If those three techniques don’t work, you hit. And if you hit, you have to make it count.


If hitting doesn’t work, you maim. You go for a truly vulnerable place.


And if hitting and maiming don’t work, you kill. But I know that if you are reading my blog you are already the kind of person who would rather not kill. Which is why you will want to get really good at these other techniques.


When you ground your energy and use this stepped down approach, you can learn to manage any conflict, whether it is an actual fist fight, sword fight or argument.


Having spent two years in the support group for battered women, I have a very strong personal aversion to conflict and fighting of any kind. Tai chi has put me back in my power so that I don’t have to run away when I see conflict coming. I can simply use my energy better to manage conflict so graciously the other person does not recognize that I am actually fighting back.