Martial Virtues by Charles H. Hackney

Martial Virtues, Charles Hackney

Martial Virtues: Lessons in Wisdom, Courage. and Compassion from the World’s Greatest Warriors

by Charles H. Hackney

Martial Virtues is a comprehensive look into the universal character traits of the true warrior. Dr. Hackney obviously believes, as do I, that there is much more involved in being a true warrior than simply learning specific martial arts techniques. In this book, Dr. Hackney takes an academic approach to proving his beliefs that being a true warrior involves specific character traits. As you would expect from a psychology professor, Dr. Hackney delves into specific theories from both the Western world and Eastern traditions in order to come to his conclusion that there has to be universal warrior virtues which make the true warrior who he or she truly is. He discusses theories from Plato to the Enlightenment philosophers, and from the samurai and ninja masters to Alasdair MacIntyer. His research is very impressive to say the least.

Dr. Hackney approaches the subject in the manner that a scientist would approach his science experiment. He researched the different warrior cultures from both the Western world and the Eastern world and systematically listed the martial virtues from the different warrior cultures, after which he cross-referenced his findings to see exactly which virtues these cultures had in common. In the third chapter, he list these virtues by philosophy or specific culture. You will find these lists extremely interesting if you are like me and love to explore the wisdom and character traits which compose the true warrior. As those who have read my books already know, I have argued many times that someone is not a true warrior if he or she lack the necessary character traits which truly make one a superior human being. Martial Virtues proves that warrior cultures throughout the ages have shared my belief and he proves it in a systematic way with many primary sources. Dr. Hackney’s book provides example after example which shows that throughout the ages, different warrior cultures have valued virtuous behavior and have seen this as part of the makeup of the true warrior.

Dr. Hackney list these virtues by philosophy and/or warrior culture. The lists include specific virtues from:

Greco-Roman Epic Heroism
Chivalry
Fiore Dei Liberti
American Heroism
Confucianism
Buddhism
Taoism
Yu-Hsia
Shaolin
Hwarang
Bushido
Ninpo

He then combined the overlapping virtues into six sub-categories,(Qualities of Effectiveness, Courage, Justice, Temperance, Wisdom, and Benevolence) and proceeds to expand in detail, each of these throughout the book. He also covers the importance of courtesy. This book is not easy, light reading, but rather an in-dept study on the subject, with many examples and stories which emphasizes his point that character counts. Martial Virtues contains a wonderful index which is helpful in finding specific topics or in locating one of the many insightful quotes which is included in this book. Those of you who know me or who have read my books, know that this book is right up my alley. It is well written, well organized, and a great addition to any martial arts library. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This is a great book and I highly recommend it to all martial artists, police officers, and military personnel. You will not be disappointed with this book if you fall into any of those categories. Dr. Hackney is definitely someone that I would love to chat with over a cup of tea some day. His knowledge of the warrior virtues and history is very comprehensive and enlightening. 5 Stars!

Bohdi Sanders
The Wisdom Warrior

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