Been a while since I have had time to post! (how's it going Dave!)
To me, it is not about winnning or losing at all when you are talking war or life. It is more about the concept of Karma.
It is hard for me to explain here in writing. It is something I think about daily. (I'm a soldier you see). I have had several friends, and colleauges killed since september 11. In all cases it did not matter how much skill they had or didn't have (some had none, a few of my Infantry/Spec Ops friends had many skills). They entered a situation that they neither choose or saw coming. It happened to them period. No amount of skill or preparation would have saved any of them. It was there time.
They didn't choose the time or the place or the circumstances. Karma.
That said, they all lived noble lives and did the best they could with the skills they had. They were all great people in their own way.
I think the best we can hope for in a life or death situation is that we are prepared to deal with it however it approaches us. We can hope that the skill we have can guide us and maybe save us. It isn't about winning or losing it is about surviving.
I think you find that if you survive a small part of you is left there behind with the situation. So I don't think you call that winning. The memories and feelings can haunt you forever.
I think we take what we have or are born with and try and refine it as best we can, improving ourselves constantly...to me this is the meaning of life. Try and give back positive things and manage or repress the negative.