True Warriors

True Warriors

If you understand, things are just as they are.
If you do not understand, things are just as they are.
Zen Maxim

My friend Kevin, who is now serving in Afghanistan, once asked me what my ultimate definition of a warrior is. I understand that my definition differs from Mr. Webster’s definition, and it also differs from the definition that many people use today. I constantly get letters and emails from people telling me, in no uncertain terms, that I don’t know what I am talking about and have no business talking about what a real warrior is, after all, I am just some peon martial artist, not a soldier or a cop…what do I know about being a warrior! Well, if you define the term “warrior” as someone who is experienced in military combat, I guess that counts a lot of people out.

“Ohhh! Great warrior!
[laughs and shakes his head]
Wars not make one great!”

My definition of a warrior, and the definition that I have deduced from the many, many writings passed down throughout the ages, both from military and martial arts sources, doesn’t define a warrior in those terms. My ultimate definition of the term “warrior” is someone who has the ability and will to fight to protect himself, his friends, his family, and his ideals, and at the same time, seeks the perfection of his own character through a life lived with honor, integrity, and an unflinching dedication to what is right according to his own code of honor which has been refined from intensive study and meditation. That is a lengthy sentence, but I wanted to have a one sentence definition of the warrior. In my opinion, this is a better definition of the true warrior.

A thing does not therefore cease to be true
because it is not accepted by many.
Benedict Spinoza

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Warriors should exhibit the best qualities among men. The true warrior makes a firm decision to try to perfect his character and to live by a strict code of ethics. His word is his honor. His duty stays fresh on his mind. He lives life a little more seriously than most, but at the same time lives life to its fullest. He sees through the veil of appearances covering most parts of this world, but does so without looking down on those who are less perceptive.

Family and friends are important to him, and they know that they can always count on him for protection and help in their times of need. He bases his decisions on his code of ethics, and instinctively knows right from wrong, and chooses right. He knows that, at times there is a difference between what is right and what is legal. He is able to hold his head high with honor because he knows that he lives his life to the best of his ability, with honor and integrity. His code is ingrained in his spirit and is a part of his being. The warrior is a man who shoots for excellence in everything that he does.

The master warrior is a man of character,
a man of wisdom and insight.
Forrest E. Morgan

If you notice, the definition of the warrior, that is taken from description of the warrior’s character from throughout the ages, doesn’t require one to be engaged in military duty or law enforcement. Being a soldier or a cop doesn’t automatically make you a warrior any more than knowing how to throw a football makes you John Elway or Joe Montana. I know many cops and military people who I have absolutely no respect for…they are scum, pure and simple. Their job doesn’t change their character. I also know military guys and cops for which I have the utmost respect for. They are warriors in every sense of the word. It is not the job which determines whether or not you are a warrior.

You can be a warrior without being in a profession that requires you to enter into combat, and you can find your butt in the middle of a fire fight and be no more of a warrior than someone who finds themselves caught in a drive by shooting. I know that many of you will disagree on this…opinions differ. But let’s take a look at Webster’s definition of a warrior once more. By the strict definition both Nazis and Islamic terrorists would be classified as warriors. I know that many of you think that they should be. I know this from many of the attacking emails that I receive. I have had many people tell me that they absolutely are warriors, but that is asinine.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held
is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd;
indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind,
a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible.
Bertrand Russell

Nazis were not warriors. Sure they were soldiers. They were trained to fight. They may have justified their actions by saying that they fought for their country, etc. But were they really warriors? A warrior puts what is right above all else. He puts what is right above his marching orders. He thinks for himself. If his commander orders him to gas innocent women and children, or to murder defenseless, starving people, does he comply with those orders? If he does comply with those orders, is he so dense that he considers that to be morally right and an honorable act?

To avoid action when justice is at stake
demonstrates a lack of courage.
Gichin Funakoshi

Some have been thought brave,
because they were afraid to run away.
English Proverb

Are Islamic terrorists warriors? Many have argued with me that yes they are…after all, they fight for what they think is right. OH REALLY?!?! They think murdering innocent women and children is right? Well they may think that my stove is not hot, but you won’t see them sitting on the burner for an hour while they watch Bin Laden’s new propaganda speech. Just because someone thinks something is right or wrong, doesn’t change the truth. The truth is the truth irregardless of your perspective. These people also feel it is “right” to kill women if they dress or act in a way that they disagree with; just because they feel it is right, doesn’t make it right.

Truth doesn’t change because it is, or is not,
believed by a majority of the people.
Giordano Bruno

No, Nazis were not warriors. Islamic terrorists are not warriors. Just because they run around with weapons and know how to kill people, and claim they are just, doesn’t make them warriors. Soldiers? Maybe. Murderers? absolutely. Warriors? Not on your life. Anyone can take a gun and kill someone else. That doesn’t make them a warrior. A warrior entails much more than combat and killing. The warrior lifestyle goes much deeper than training. As I have said before, dogs and rooster can be trained to fight, but that doesn’t make them warriors.

The sky is not less blue because the blind man does not see it.
Danish Proverb

Truth will always be truth,
regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance.
W. Clement Stone

There is a difference in being a soldier and a warrior. There is a difference in being a fighter and a warrior. There is a difference in being a cop and a warrior. You can be a soldier, a fighter, a cop, a martial artist, a cowboy, a teacher, or anything else that you want to list, without being a warrior. At the same time, you can be a warrior while being any of the above. You make the decision about whether or not you are going to be a warrior and live the warrior lifestyle, not your profession, not your training, and not your bloviating, opinionated friend who thinks that he is the ultimate authority on the subject because of his past experiences.

My friend Kevin is a true warrior, not because he is in Afghanistan fighting, but he is a true warrior who is in Afghanistan fighting. There is a difference. Would Kevin be less of a warrior if he were back at home driving a tractor or teaching in his local high school? Would that all of a sudden change his abilities, his character or his code of honor? A warrior is a warrior, no matter where he is or what he may be doing. That is just who he is. Moreover, a man who is not a warrior is not a warrior, even if he finds himself on the front lines. Things are not as black and white as most people would like to think…

A change in scenery does not change one’s character.

We never fully grasp the importance
of any true statement until we have a clear notion
of what the opposite untrue statement would be.
William James

Warrior Wisdom

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