by Adeniyi Makinde,

As cowardly as this may sound, it’s a Chinese proverb used by Jackie Chan in his cartoon series JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES. Running does not necessarily mean “taking to your heels”, even though you must if it warrants, but avoiding fights at all costs.


Martial arts teachers must have considered many things before teaching this great ethic. consider these two:

  1. You do not know the combatant: you must remember that street fights are different from sparring. In a game with no rules, anything is possible. In a street fight, there is no set of rule that guides you so anything is possible.


  1. The law may be against you: if things get messy and bloody and the opponent gets brutally or fatally wounded, the lawsuit follows. Everyone has the notion that you are highly trained and things may go bad.

Most fights come as a result of one’s self-esteem and self-worth being questioned but through martial art training, we hurdle many physical difficulties which increases our confidence. Being confident makes one cool, calm and collected and these are the best weapons that can help one assess difficult situations.


Sun Tzu, the Chinese general, writer, philosopher, and military strategist of the Eastern Zhou era of ancient China, credited for writing the military classic “Art Of War” states in the book, “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Bruce Lee once said, “I learned Kung Fu to know how to fight but I was thought how not to fight.” Now, this is a man that is known to have won many fights and challenges, if not all, all his life. Martial art is knowing how to fight and avoid it, what’s the point of risking injuries and possible death when you can easily avoid them.

Jet LI is known to have been a master of dozens of martial arts since age twelve but when asked about his view of martial art, he said, “I never say to myself I’m the best fighter in the world. If someone learns martial arts solely to pick fights on the street, to lean on it as a keystone weapon in conflicts, to use it to bully and intimidate others – then that person, in my opinion, cannot be considered a true martial artist.”

Jackie Chan is well-versed in Beijing Opera which means he has a high level of skills in acrobatics, martial art, and acting. In his interview with BBC, he said he tried to correct the idea he passed across in Drunken Master 1, which was that he “…taught people how to drink and how to fight.”, by doing Drunken Master 2 he taught that “Don’t drink, don’t fight.”

As martial artists, we face various provocation, fight challenges, and various stupid stuff from people every day but we should be aware of what we carry as we have come a long way in training, learning, and unlearning many things. We shouldn’t be eager to let “the beast” in us out aimlessly except on dire occasions which we must have avoided with every possible tactic we can think of.

Even if we must fight in dire occasions, we must remember this quote from Master Kan on TV’s Kung Fu, 1971, “learn more ways to preserve than destroy. Avoid, rather than check. Check, rather hurt. Hurt, rather than maim. Maim, rather than kill. For all life is precious and nor can any be replaced.”

Jackie Chan continued, “When you are learning about a martial art, it is about respect, you have to find a good teacher. If you knock somebody down – stop. Bring them up.”

Jackie Chan Adventures Season 1.

In this episode of Jackie Chan’s adventures, Bullies. Jade is getting bullied in school and after Valmont’s men are able to steal the Dragon Talisman from Jackie, (look out for the double dragon reference) Valmont uses it to steal money from the New York Bank against Shendu’s wishes. Things get worse when Captain Black is hospitalized during Valmont’s robbery, which causes Jackie to develop a personal grudge in taking Valmont down. Jackie must put his anger aside and use his head if he is to stop Valmont from robbing Fort Knox.


by Adeniyi Makinde, freelance writer

”Adeniyi is both a martial artist and a writer. He was influenced by Jet Li, and grew up loving Chinese martial arts though he didn’t get the chance and opportunity to learn from childhood. He luckily met a kindhearted teacher who saw his passion and love for the art and has been teaching him for the past seven years till date.”

3 thoughts on “Don’t Fight When You Can Run

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