This is the common, wise-sounding advice that most sensei tell their students... "Avoid a fight at all costs, but if you have to fight..."
I'm waiting for any of y'all to wake up and protest the inconsistency in that. Come on - That's an obvious load of malarkey! "Avoid ... at all costs...but..."
If there was no cost you were unwiling to pay to avoid fighting, there would be no, "...but..." It would be impossible to make you fight. It would literally be "Not worth it, man" (another common piece of folk wisdom).
What cost would you be willing to pay in order to avoid a good ole' fashioned Saturday Night Knife Fight? Would you be willing...
- to take a few extra steps? to cross the street? to completely change your itenerary?
- to be humiliated? in front of your lover? in front of your buddies? in front of your kids?
- to give up your wallet or purse?
- to give up your right to vote? How important is sufferage, anyway?
- Are you going to avoid "at all costs", attacking the intruder in your child's room?
Pay attention to this next part...
If you are willing to pay any cost to avoid a fight...
...then you raise the value that someone receives by accosting you.
Whatever you do, do not "avoid fighting at all cost."