I am often asked about the most important aspect of self defence. There are 8 basic powers in Chen style Tai Chi (Peng, Lu, Ji, An, Kai, Lie, Jou and Kou). There are also 38 different tactics to be employed. However, it still surprises people when I say:
"The most important strategy in self defence is that of walking or running away."
A successful life is a long and happy one. Therefore, the fundamental goal of all martial arts is self preservation. The most basic of self preservation skill is the ability to avoid or mitigate risk. Corporations all over the world spend enormous amounts of money, employing people who predict risk and plan the best way of avoiding it. Why shouldn't we as individuals learn from that? Why should so many people prefer to duke it out?
Purely and simply, it's ego. Throughout the years, how many fights would have been avoided, if one or more sides just admitted that they were wrong? How many people would have not chosen violence if they were comfortable in their own skin, so they did not need to prove themselves with their fists?
Banish your ego, and you will find the stakes of every disagreement dropping significantly, where a few choice words or walking away is all that you need.