What It Takes to be a Warrior

Across the ages every great society has celebrated and revered a great warrior tradition and passed on the stories of these heroes in folklore. We can look back to the Spartans, Roman Legion, Vikings, Knights, Samurai or Aztecs, and each time we will find that a strong warrior class coincided with a strong nation.

The warrior’s spirit is alive and well here in the greatest nation in history. Although it lives in the hearts and minds of the greatest fighting force in the world, our society is beginning to shun warriors and move them down the social ladder. At the turn of the 20th century, warfare began to move away from the martial art of combat and move toward a more mechanical, detached system of destruction. This has changed society’s view of what it means to be a warrior and paved the way toward a society that now teaches our boys to be less masculine and more feminine.

Traits of a Warrior

Another reason for the cultural shift in thinking is that people have seen an increase in the warriors’ dark side. Of course when most of us hear about the dark side, we think of Darth Vader in Star Wars, and this is a good thing. If you understand how the force works in those iconic movies, you’ll understand how it works in today’s most elite warriors.

Warriors have a certain set of traits that can be used for good or evil, and it’s up to each one to choose what path he will follow. It’s also up to our society to allow boys to be boys and men to be men and express themselves in manly ways. Sometimes this involves fighting, which if used for the right reason, is a good thing – protecting our freedom.

Too many people think that in times of war we can turn on a magical switch to activate our warriors and protect our way of life, and when the war is over we turn off the switch and our warriors go back to normal, every day life. I’m guessing that most of you reading this would disagree and understand that being a warrior is a full-time job, a way of life and something that needs to be trained and tested so we can be ready for our enemies’ surprise attacks.

Going to war is not a prerequisite for the title of warrior. “Warrior” is simply a recognized role that has played a vital part in every great society from time immemorial, and we must continue to embrace and support them if we are to continue to be the “greatest nation on God’s green earth.” Although the road is difficult to travel and the rewards are few, there is always a need for true warriors.

Traits of a Warrior

CONFIDENT
I know this is one of the biggest indicators of success in any combat environment. I can see if someone is confident before we even start training. It’s why I can spot another warrior out in public, even if we’ve never met. A warrior is sure of oneself; having no uncertainty about one’s own abilities or success. Start with the end in mind – you will win. It’s not a question.

DECISIVE
Displaying no hesitation in battle is vital to survival.

ASSERTIVE
To be a good leader you need to be confident and direct in claiming your rights or putting forward your views.

STRONG
You don’t need to bench 500 pounds to join the club, but you do need to make the most of the muscles you have. Even the most skillful swordsman needs to have the strength to pick up the sword. This applies to mental muscle as well. You need to have a determined will in all that you do. A strong mind can make up for a weak body, but not the other way around.

SKILLFUL
Having the right mindset is vital, but you need a skill set to match that big brain of yours. The skills themselves can vary, but the more mad-ninja skills you have the more balanced you’ll become.
“Know your sword“ ~ Musashi

ACTIVE
You need to be moving, doing or functioning at all time. Ideas and theories are great, but action is what gets things done. Once you’ve got a plan, execute.

AGGRESSIVE
When most people think about being aggressive, they think about a Pit Bull with a bad owner. That aspect can and should be used in combat, but I’m talking about being forceful, bold and energetic.

DISCIPLINED
You’ve got a plan, you’re confident you can do it, now you need to have the discipline to stick to your plan. Getting up every morning at 0400 so you can hit the gym before work sucks! Being fat and out of shape sucks worse! Not hitting the snooze takes discipline. Warriors are disciplined.

ADAPTABLE
Warriors have a “friend” we call Max Flex. It means we need to be able to adjust quickly to different conditions. Being adaptable is what allows species to survive evolution. The way warriors survive in combat is by adapting to the ever-changing battlefield.

VIGILANT
You never know when the balloon will go up so you have to be ready 24/7. You need to see everything that’s happening around you and be prepared to react appropriately. Warriors are always prepared and ready.

PATIENT
Having patience means bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint. It means manning-up. I’ll always remember the whiners in my Search and Rescue course complaining about how cold or tired they were. Guess what? We were ALL cold and tired, and complaining didn’t make them any warmer (although quitting did).

CLEVER
A warrior needs to be mentally quick and resourceful. When things fall apart, it always happens fast and you need the metal prowess to quickly invent a new way to do what you were just trying to do. Things rarely go exactly as planned, and you need to be smart enough to adapt.

BRAVE
One of the biggest lessons I taught my daughter is what it means to be brave. Like most people (and even some dictionaries) they thought being brave meant that you weren’t afraid. This is actually the opposite of what it means. Being brave means that YOU ARE AFRAID, but you do the offending task in spite of your fears. I’m not afraid to ride roller coasters, so me riding one does not make me brave. When my daughter rode the Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg for the first time she was afraid, but she was brave enough to go anyway. Afraid means you can still operate…scared means you are frozen (scared stiff).

LOYAL
An arrow without a tip is just a stick. A warrior needs direction, and that comes from being faithful to a cause, ideal or institution. This could be your family, your country or a religion. Having loyalty will keep you guided along your path; just make sure you keep it in balance with the other traits. Warriors are loyal to their country and loyal to their families.

LOVING
A warrior has confronted death and understands the value of life. Warriors whose lives are in balance are peaceful, unselfish and have a compassionate concern for the good of others. The love of his family is what gives the warrior his internal energy to constantly train for battle and strength to survive once he’s there.

I know this is a long list and the kicker is that it’s far from complete. My original goal was to come up with a nice sounding number to write about like, “Seven Traits of a Warrior,” but as I started to compile the list it grew far beyond seven and I simply stopped at a point that I thought would give you a good overview of the complexities inside these amazing warriors. You’ll become a true Renaissance-Man in your quest for warrior status, but just remember to stay away from the dark side.

Avoiding the Dark Side

Like yin and yang, hot and cold, or dark and light, all the above traits have two sides that can manifest. If your life is unbalanced, the dark side will be the stronger force and your actions will demonstrate this fact. There are several ways a warrior can become unbalanced and it’s important to quickly recognize this and take corrective actions.

Simply not being well rounded is the quickest way to become unbalanced. We see this in extremists’ who concentrate so much on loyalty to their religion that they completely neglect things like patience and love.

Suppression of a warrior’s God-given drive will also slowly lead to an imbalance and manifest itself in negative ways. Telling boys it’s wrong to fight is like telling a bird it’s wrong to fly. Holding back someone from what they are supposed to do will lead to unwanted consequences down the road. Sometimes warriors are traumatized, which can effectively short-circuit their systems. It doesn’t make them evil; they are the same person displaying the dark side of their traits. We see this with warriors coming home with PTSD and need to recognize the problem and put them back on the right path.

Finally, being improperly or inadequately trained can lead to imbalances. As you train yourself to become a warrior, be on the lookout for these imbalances and correct them as soon as possible. Like a magnet – all warriors have two sides and you cannot separate them. No matter how thin you slice a magnet it will always have a north and south pole. In the same way, no matter how much of the dark side you try to remove, you’ll always be left with both sides.

With our martial arts training, we work to develop the traits it takes to be a warrior, and we will do our best to teach you how to live a balanced life that will keep you on the good side and not the dark side.

Are you ready to be a warrior? We provide training to help you with the many traits a warrior needs. If you are interested in martial arts training in Chesapeake, please Contact Us or give us a call at 757-558-9869.

Thank You and Happy Holidays from Virginia TaeKwonDo

All of us at the Virginia TaeKwonDo and Jiu-Jitsu Academy just want to take a minute to say “thank you” to all our customers, old and new, who have supported our business over the past year. Whether you are a student, family member of a student, fan who “liked” us on Facebook, or someone who just stopped in to check out our academy, we enjoy our interactions with you and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas & Happy New YearThere are a few customers in particular that we’d like to thank:

  • The customer with a sense of humor. These are the customers that understand that mistakes happen.
  • The customer who provides positive feedback that helps us to improve our services.
  • The customer who refers their friends to us. Your actions really are the highest compliment we receive.
  • You!

Thank you again, and we look forward to serving you in 2018!

The Importance of Confidence

Have you heard the quote “We are what we think”? If one is not confident in themselves and their abilities, then that lack of confidence results in self-doubt that shows through in things we say and do. If one is over-confident in themselves, then they generally have high expectations and are more apt to make riskier decisions in order to achieve those expectations.

 

Virginia TaeKwonDo ChesapeakeAchieving confidence in oneself is a balancing act, but an important one nonetheless. Setting realistic goals, keeping a positive state of mind and making the best use of one’s talent and skills are the best ways to achieve confidence.

If something doesn’t go the way it was supposed to, focus on the positive things that happened and make a learning opportunity out of the things that didn’t go so well. For example, if a student doesn’t do well at testing, it’s okay. There is always next time and until then, they should focus on how to improve the mistakes they made and to celebrate the things that went right.

“We are what we think” is a statement that we should all remember. If we believe in ourselves and our abilities, then we are those things! Confidence can mean more than just feeling good about oneself. There are other benefits to it as well, including:

  • Resisting peer pressure: When a student has a “sense of self” they are more likely to resist peer pressure.
  • Working harder toward goals: With each success, a student’s confidence grows. The more confident they are, the better they are at what they do.
  • Having a grip on emotions: Confident students can bounce back from setbacks. Instead of getting angry or sad, they will rise up to meet the challenge and continue on.
  • Taking risks in pursuit of goals: Confident students do not see winning or accomplishing their goals as an impossible feat – they see it as a challenge that is completely doable.
  • Seeing failure in a different light: Confident students see failure as a result of factors they have the power to change, and thus they try again and again until that challenge is complete.

As an instructor of the Academy, our goal is to prepare students for the responsibilities of citizenship. TaeKwonDo is about real and powerful experiences, resulting in the discovery of innate capabilities and a heightened sense of responsibility. To that end, we encourage our students to use their Martial Arts knowledge to improve our communities through one act of leadership at a time.

If you or your child could benefit from improved confidence, give us a call at 757-558-9869 or Contact Us to learn about the TaeKwonDo and Jiu-Jitsu classes we have for both children and adults.

5 Often Overlooked Benefits of Martial Arts Training

Self defense has always been the hot topic in the martial arts. In Chesapeake at our TaeKwonDo Academy, we teach skills vital to protecting your life, health and loved ones in the event of an assault. But if you never find yourself under attack, are you getting any benefit from your investment of time, effort and money? YES! The training imparts numerous skills that you can use every day outside of the Academy. They are skills that will protect you from other harmful threats, besides a mugger on the street corner.

Martial Arts Chesapeake1. Breakfalls – We teach breakfalls during the White Belt Escape Skills. Why? Did you know that accidental falls make up 30 percent of emergency room visits? Somebody in America dies from a fall every half-hour. People fall down stairs, off bikes and skateboards. They slip on ice or trip over dogs. Accidental falls are the number 1 cause of nonfatal injuries. As we get older, the ability to fall without getting hurt becomes even more important. Of seniors who fall and break a hip, 29 percent are dead within a year. Learning how to fall is a benefit that lasts a lifetime.

2. Situational Awareness – We teach awareness as the first stage of combat. Know where you are, know how to get out, know who’s near you and know what they’re likely to do next. You develop your peripheral vision, reaction time and intuition when we spar so that you’re ready for anything. Although assaults are rare in the developed world, accidents are a different story. Motor-vehicle accidents cause 15 percent of deaths and 14 percent of injuries. Accidental slips, impacts, cuts and burns send somebody to the hospital 8 million times a year. While you’re on high alert looking for the next mugger or terrorist, you’ll probably be better off using some of your attention to watch the floor and the road. In all cases, your awareness is heightened, and that can help you hit the brakes sooner or turn the steering wheel in time to avoid an oncoming car or even lift a pot of hot soup up high as your kids come running through the kitchen.

3. Cardiovascular Fitness – You know the feeling: your heart pounds in your chest and your breath comes in ragged gasps, sweat drips from your head and your shirt sticks to your back. You’re so winded you can barely see. And now an instructor calls you up for another round. Of the top 10 causes of death, four are directly affected by heart and lung health. Heart disease, heart attack, stroke and respiratory disease kill 70 times as many people as violence. Reduced weight and increased energy are two other entries on the long list of the benefits of regular aerobic exercise. It doesn’t matter how as long as you get it. We joke in the classroom that we need to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. That’s true, but it also keeps us one step ahead of the killers most likely to take us down.

4. Stress Relief – How many times have you gotten off work or out of school and felt drained, only to finish class feeling refreshed and ready for more? The simple fact is training feels good. High stress has been linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. It reduces the effectiveness of the immune system. Our classes are a great remedy for stress. The exercise improves blood flow and stimulates the release of helpful hormones. Complex Forms and drills take your mind off daily troubles. Consistent practice reinforces positive experience and allows the achievement of tangible goals. All of these factors can reduce stress and prolong life. Plus, you get to punch and kick things.

Chesapeake VA Martial Arts5. Community – Sometimes you go to class because it’s fun. Sometimes you go because it’s good for you….and sometimes you don’t want to go – but you do because you don’t want to let down your training buddies and instructors. Involvement in a community has been shown to improve length and quality of life. A recent study of retirees found death rates were reduced by up to 22 percent in subjects who remained active in a sport, club or group. Nobody’s found a concrete reason why it’s so, but the conventional wisdom is clear: Community means friends, an opportunity to stay active, encouragement during depression and support in attaining goals.

Community not only prolongs life but it also makes it more fun and worth living. Did you know that community is rapidly vanishing from American culture? The close-knit neighborhoods our parents and grandparents knew no longer exist. Church attendance dwindles every year as does membership in scouting and other service organizations. Families are often separated by thousands of miles. But the Academy is a place you can find a community walking tall. The camaraderie on the workout floor is obvious and you know your fellow classmates are there for you. Over time, they become your extended family and the Academy a second home.

Obviously, self defense training prepares you for threats far more common than those posed by muggers and assailants. It leaves you better prepared to survive in the modern world. If you would like to learn more about martial arts classes in Chesapeake, Contact Us. We can let you know about the many classes we have available to help you prepare for anything life may throw at you.