I suppose a more insightful saying is “don’t strike the King to wound” because it suggests taking on harms can be self-limiting in achieving goals.
Don’t commit suicide. Obviously.
That makes far more sense to me than an oft-misquoted “wrestle with a pig” saying that emphasizes being squeamish about any challenge that has a cost associated with it.
In other words, why run away when someone starts mud slinging? And does the fact they enjoy it change anything? Makes no sense logically.
Why not defeat an adversary in wrestling and then clean yourself as one would be expected after achieving any task requiring perspiration and exposure?
Consider the following version of the saying, which suggests one is wise to disregard a fear of becoming dirty while working hard to persevere against adversity:
It has been remarked by a wise man that he who wrestles with a hog must expect to be spattered with filth, whether he is vanquished or not. This maxim I have long known and appreciated; nevertheless, there are occasions when it must be disregarded. A man may be attacked in such a way that he is compelled to flagellate his hogship, even at the risk of being contaminated by the unclean beast.