top of page

How Tekken Made Me More Serene (And My Quest For Greater Peace)

Updated: 6 days ago

A female robot.

(Disclaimer: No former knowledge of video games is required at all. See this specific genre, as applicable to real life, as well: Both literally and philosophically. No knowledge of martial arts is needed, either).

(Disclaimer 2: No Tekken Force members were harmed in the making of this article).

(For more on Tekken, click here)


The Iron Fist and the Unforgiving Climb to Victory

A fighting game, like Tekken, is essentially a virtual simulator between at least two players, and the goal is to defeat the opponent and win the match. Some of you might think this is simple, but that's actually far from the truth. The truth is, that a good fighting game, requires much study of the depths of its characters... Move-sets, risks and rewards, and so on. I will not delve on the technicalities too much, so do not worry; the point is the wisdom behind it.

The technicalities are but the means, not the end. The Kli, and not the Tochen.

The Tekken games... Are probably the most sociopathic fighting games out there, even whenever an exciting theme is played. The main characters are the most cold-hearted I've ever seen, willing to kill their own family members, just to be victorious over them, or to extract revenge.

There is little emotion among Tekken's strongest fighters, known as the Mishimas. Almost all of the primary characters, are evil and of few words, by default. That's because the world of martial arts in that fiction, is unforgiving, and merciless. In such a world you do not survive by showing compassion but by conquering your enemies in combat. Ruthlessly. Methodologically.

Victory is but proof of dominance over your opponents. And the more you will dominate, the stronger you can be considered as a fighter. For the battles in Tekken games are divided by ranks. And these ranks determine your difficulty.

Lose too much, and you will be put in your place, literally, by demotion. Prove yourself worthy, and you will raise up in the ranks. Because your rank determines your position, your place in a bigger heirarchy. And it is only possible to rise up by the survival of the fittest. -- Fit for battle. Be too unfit in this eternal struggle for dominance, and you will be left behind, by your own lack of merit. For the world of Tekken is one of ruthless meritocracy.


(I am a 25th Dan -- A "Revered Ruler", with a character called Miguel).

There is no compassion, there is no empathy. It's whether you beat the opponent, or not, and on skill and technique alone, your restraint and strength is measured. The rest does not matter a lot. It can remind one, how cruel the real world can be, and furthermore, how realistic it can sometimes be, to expect no sympathy from anyone.

Tekken as a Mirror to Our Competitive World

For this capitalist world is also one of indefinite competition to the top. And that goes for Philosocom as well, in the niche of blogging. Only the most "powerful" blog will be dominant over others, and thus, attain success accordingly. "Power" in such context is your ability to surpass your competitors, and Tekken, like in life, is a competition for supremacy.

Because only those who are at the top, get to reap the most benefit. Money, resources, menpower, reputation. Such things are examples of said "power". The power that, in the reality outside our minds, doesn't really exist.

And for that, you need to be calculated. You need to plan your moves carefully. Like in a Tekken match, like in real life.

To be a powerful Tekken player, you shouldn't to get too excited, as that can make you too distracted; Intense emotion can blind you, for it can bias your perception. Bias can be used against you.

Be too distracted, you can make horrible mistakes, which will mark your defeat. No, the purpose is to try and to be as stoic as possible, so you will be able to be emotionally steady. Thus, you can increase your chances of winning against the opponent. A calculated fighter is a smart one. Rush too much and you will be punished for your mistakes.

Yes, it appears that what we interpret as Stoic philosophy, or the art of restraining emotion while feeling pain, is something that is delightfully expressed in the Tekken games. No matter how victorious you were, a single moment of over-emotion, can doom your success for the reminder of the match's round.

On the other hand, if you are willing to be intuitive, but calculated enough, you can increase your chances of victory. Even if the opponent beats you up severely, giving in to the frustration, will not do much, when it can be your own disadvantage.

Do not act like the Sith. Giving in to your anger means letting your anger govern you.

Tekken's Lessons in Emotional Control

I've been playing fighting games since I was a child. Ironically, I only now understand, that randomly mashing buttons, can only be one's own undoing during battle. Why? Because the opponent, be it a person or a computer, can detect a chink of weakness while you're in your fury of fists and kicks. Should they "aim" at that chink with an attack of their own they can make the less Stoic, even less Stoic, thus being on top, even more.

Therefore -- display weakness, and you allow an enemy an opportunity that can go against you. Gather and display strength instead, and you will make others respect you, instead of pitying you or exploiting you for their own adventage.

Tekken has taught me, that giving too much to emotion, isn't always wise. Emotion like fury. The furious fighter may be dangerous, but they lack focus, and they might not reconsider the world around them. They are impatient and desperate, but that won't necessarily make them advance in their quest for victory. Sometimes, the opposite is true.

On the other hand, be too calm, and you might underestimate the true power of your opponent. Some stress can, in fact, help you focus.

Emotion isn't necessarily on-par with reality. If you are furious over something or someone, giving in to fury, won't necessarily help you, even if IT FEELS that it will. In a sense, an emotion can also delude, if it makes one think that it helps them, when it doesn't. Yes, it seems that emotions can certainly blind... It is one of the reasons people may need medication, so the intensity of the emotion, will decrease significantly.

I hope one day to rid myself of psychiatric drugs, without having an alternative. If I can teach myself, through technical games like Tekken, how to calm my mind, without depending on pills, then maybe I'll be able to at least reduce the prescription, until it will vanish for good.

(For more on them, click here)

The irony in this is, that I was furious by Tekken, as well, throughout the years. However, I learned to overcome it, by refusing the temptation to be enraged, through logical reasoning. To win, one must be prepared; To win, one shouldn't whine on his or her misfortune. If they consider their misfortune, then they better find at least a single solution, for remedy.

When they constantly lose, whether in games or in life, they need to grow up and not to lament too much on their misfortune, when they can be more practical instead, and solve their problems. The needs stems from survival itself. From not letting dysfunctional emotions stand in your way.

It is only through training, and through the philosophy of the iron fist, when one will achieve victory. "Tekken" means "Iron Fist" in Japanese, and in general, that is the term for an oppressive rule.

In such games, one is better to oppress oneself through restraint, before oppressing others through combat.

Is it toxic? Is it insensitive? Maybe, but in a violent encounter, winning should get the higher priority, even if one is to face defeat. Such is violence: Cruel, ruthless, and, sometimes, Stoic.

And the wisdom of this violance can be applied to any other conflict in life. Even when there are no weapons or fists involved. But competition, but struggle.

Occasionally, that "winning" is just getting to see tomorrow. Thus, it's only natural, that some, may be more aggressive than others, in behaviour. Perhaps it can be a product of self-preservation?

And in the way for our success and victory, many opponents might stand. Intentional or otherwise. It is surprising to see how a difficult and frustrating activity, can soothe one's mind, when a motive for greater benefit, is at hand.

Because in Tekken, at least, conflict is but a means to an end. Means to power. And the reserved person uses his reserves well for that endeavor, for they are wise enough to not waste them, and serene enough, to not lose said reserves. Energies and other resources, necessary to get things done.

Conclusion: Tekken As a Metaphor For Life's Struggles

I argue that the fighting games of Tekken offer a surprising lens through which to view real-life challenges. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Tekken teaches emotional control: True strength lies in mastering your emotions, not succumbing to rage. Like a skilled Tekken player, remaining calm and calculated increases your chances of success.

  • Life is a competition: The world, like Tekken, is a competitive arena. Success requires strategic thinking and a constant drive to improve.

  • Stoicism is key: Just as excessive emotions can be detrimental in Tekken, unrestrained feelings can hinder you in life. A Stoic approach, emphasizing reason and emotional control, is more effective.

  • Learn from losses: Don't dwell on defeat. Often, the path to victory is paved with the path of countless defeats. Instead, analyze your mistakes and strategize for improvement, just like you would after losing a Tekken match. See where you did wrong, and work relentlessly towards improving yourself.

  • Competition fosters growth: The pressure to overcome opponents, both in Tekken and in life, can be a powerful motivator for self-improvement.

That's the irony of finding peace through a violent game. Tekken teaches that mastering oneself is the ultimate victory. To quote Friedrich Nietszche:

“My humanity is a constant self-overcoming.”

73 views0 comments


Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

bottom of page