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.
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
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.
Displaying no hesitation in battle is vital to survival.
To be a good leader you need to be confident and direct in claiming your rights or putting forward your views.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.