In our present time, it is imperative that we constantly re-assess what we think we know about ourselves and the world. This is the warrior way. The chaos of our times demands strong selves with a clear sense of self-identity, confidence and value. It is a dangerous time to not know who we are or not to trust ourselves. I feel this warrior philosophy can provide some of the solutions to the problems we all individually face today.
“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
– Carlos Castaneda
The Warrior philosophy is as old as the human race itself. It has been known and expressed through a variety of forms and practices by virtually all cultures and races throughout history.
The Warrior is both a symbolic archetype and also a practical element of any given society, and both of these elements have been deeply embedded in our oldest myths, legends, philosophies and religions. Faint remnants of this once great body of knowledge and wisdom can be found today in some modern Martial Art systems, and even in many of the various films and books on the subject. It should be pointed out that it has also grown and evolved in many ways. However, it has also devolved in other ways, as much of it has been left out, misrepresented, and misunderstood.
Historically, when one compares the various writings and oral traditions related to the function and philosophy of the warrior in any given society or culture, many parallels can be discovered.
The story of the Warrior is twofold. It is a story of heroes, and equally of tyrants. One side is a story of those striving to perfect methods of achieving self mastery and preserving peace and harmony in the world, and for others, a story of violence, subjugation, empire expansion, and totalitarian conquest.
The story we have been told, and the overall perspective we have today of what the Warrior is has been mostly focused on the latter. The history of the Warrior was mainly handed down to us by the various empires and elite classes that dominated in their day. The true and complete version has mostly been forgotten. It is thanks to those brave ones throughout history who have carefully preserved this body of knowledge that we are able to piece this together, to learn from the past, and to re-awaken the true spirit of the warrior in our modern time where it most desperately needs to return.
“This wisdom does not belong to any one culture or religion, nor does it come only from the West or the East. Rather, it is a tradition of human warriorship that has existed in many cultures at many times throughout history.”
– Chögyam Trungpa
Every great civilization has a great warrior tradition and accompanying warrior myths. The Warrior spirit is an element within us all. It is a link to our ancestors who had to survive harsh conditions that are hard for us to even imagine such as foreign invasions, war, and disease to name a few. The will to live, to be free, to defend ourselves and our loved ones, are all a deep part of us. The archetype of the warrior is essentially the most courageous, and powerful version of you.
The issues we experience individually, and that we see taking over the lives of those around us do not need to take such control over our lives. Issues like depression, anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, obesity, degenerative disease, chronic illness etc. can all be dealt with and prevented with this valuable knowledge.
My goal with this work is to help revive what has been lost in the Warrior tradition, to update it, and to assist in activating and strengthening this aspect of consciousness regardless if one practices in the physical arts or not.
In our present society, there is more emphasis on being externally directed rather than internally directed; in following along rather than leading the way; in perceiving oneself as ‘less than’ rather than perfect as is; in living an inauthentic life rather than a truly real and fulfilling authentic life. As a result of this conditioning, our overall awareness of self and the world is mostly illusory, and this is contributing greatly to both the internal, and external devastation we see around us. Our natural curiosity and spontaneity has been virtually erased. So has our connection to what is true and real. It takes a lot of courage today to go against the grain, to not be mindlessly absorbed into the collective, to walk your own path and follow your own innate intelligence and intuition, and to be truly self-made.
The warrior philosophy at its best is something that helps connect you to the truth about who you are.
We do this in physical martial art training daily when we work on perfecting our technique and understanding, and hence – our overall efficiency. This is a great practical and healthy way of perfecting one’s character. This is also the heart of the true scientific method and it needs to be applied on all levels regardless of how painstaking it may appear to be.
Many have actually spoken of martial arts as a “science”. But they often forget that it is not just a science of how to be efficient in killing or physical combat. No doubt, it is a science of the body, but the main focus is an artistic approach to the mind and spirit as well. I prefer to call it a scientific art. This approach is geared towards holistic thinking, activating the whole of your being in both a scientific and logical sense, and simultaneously in an artistic and creative sense.
“Art is the way to the absolute and to the essence of human life. The aim of art is not the one-sided promotion of spirit, soul and senses, but the opening of all human capacities – thought, feeling, will – to the life rhythm of the world of nature. So will the voiceless voice be heard and the self be brought into harmony with it.”
– Bruce Lee
You can only succeed in perfecting this scientific art if you have a strong desire to face the truth in your life. Facing one’s faults by voluntarily admitting to it in order to accept the failure and grow from the experience. This, in my opinion is what makes this scientific art-form so applicable to all three aspects of mind, body, spirit.
When you study and practice martial art philosophy in its truest sense, you will discover it is a process of refinement and growth, and that it will eventually lead to solution-oriented thinking which is desperately needed today You will gradually change from being a victim into a victor in life. It takes a great deal of inner strength to go against the grain, to challenge the status quo, to stand when no one else will stand, to protect one’s inherent natural rights and freedoms, and to protect others as well. You will become more courageous, and develop a code of honour and truth that you can live by.
“Budo is not a means of felling the opponent by force or by lethal weapons. Neither is it intended to lead the world to destruction by arms and other illegitimate means. True Budo calls for bringing the inner energy of the universe in order, protecting the peace of the world , and also preserving, everything in nature in its right form.”
– Morihei Ueshiba
A fully aware and empowered individual is the greatest threat to any lie, and is unstoppable on the path towards whatever goal you want to achieve. The lie will try to tell you that you are not good enough to do this or that, that you cannot possibly achieve your dreams, and that you should blindly follow what others are doing or telling you to do. Only you know what is best for you, and you will need to fortify your mind with a healthy way of thinking in order to combat that lie.
It is time we wake up and remember who we are; to warrior up and to overcome these challenges on a daily basis. I encourage you to go on the journey of true growth. To develop a health plan for yourself. To follow your intuition and to look deeply into what is happening in the world around you, and also what is happening in your own inner world.
I wish you the best on your path, wherever it may lead.