Balancing the Warrior Ethic with Peace and Love

Balancing the Warrior Ethic with Peace and Love

To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.
George Washington

The true warrior trains in many different areas in his quest to perfect his character. One of these areas obviously is the art of self-defense and martial arts. This of course includes ways to severely injure, and even destroy, the human body. The trained warrior knows how to end a conflict quickly, and permanently, if the situation requires him to do so. And, not only is the true warrior trained and capable of inflicting severe pain and destruction on someone, he is also very willing to do this if he is forced to.

This causes many people to have a false impression of the warrior lifestyle. Many people wrongly see those who train in these ways as violent brutes who live to fight. They have the false impression that the warrior is basically a time bomb just waiting to explode on someone who crosses him. The general public doesn’t understand why anyone would train to obtain skills that would enable him to easily take a life or permanently injure someone else. The very idea that the true warrior is a man of peace and love is so foreign to them that they can’t even wrap their minds around this fact.

Each action of the warrior is performed from a place of fundamental wisdom…it is completely different from the ordinary behavior of a fool. Even if it looks the same, it is different on the inside.
Takuan Soho

How could a man trained in martial arts, self-defense, weapons, and the art of death, be a man of peace and love. This seems like the ultimate paradox. Why would a man of peace and love train to develop skills to hurt or kill another human being? Shouldn’t he be spending his days chanting in a cave or meditating on loving his fellow men? Well, let’s take a look at that theory.

Is the recluse who walks away from society, hides in a sanctuary, and spends all his time maintaining a peaceful spirit, really one who loves his fellow man or his he actually being a bit selfish, only concerning himself with his own well-being and peace? What is he actually doing for his fellow men? Not much. On the other hand, the true warrior serves his fellow men, even at the risk of his own peaceful existence. He is not only trained to handle himself in violent situations, but is willing to step into such situations to help others, even at the risk of his own well-being.

Peace is not the lack of war, but an inner virtue which has its source in the courage of the soul.
Baruch Spinoza

The irony is that the general public sees the reclusive monk as a man of peace, only concerned with love, while they see the warrior as a brute and someone to be feared. After all, the monk trains daily to keep a peaceful mind, while the warrior trains in the art of physical conflict. To the average citizen, the monk is a man of peace and the warrior is a man of war. But this is only partially true.

True warriors are men of peace and love. They do everything in their power to avoid having to fight and hurt another human being. They train to hone their martial art skills because there is a need in this world to protect themselves, their families, and other people against the predators in this world who live to prey on the weak, the unsuspecting, and the helpless. If we didn’t have those willing to stand against such people, the predators would have a field day, taking advantage of their hapless victims. The true warrior is there to ensure this doesn’t happen to his friends, his family, or anyone for which it is in his power to protect.

This bring me back to the question of how the true warrior balances his ability to rip some thug apart, with his peaceful, loving nature. How can one maintain a peaceful spirit full of love, and at the same time, severely injure or kill another human being? The answer boils down to his intention. The warrior doesn’t go out and look for chances to pound some thug into the pavement. He doesn’t want to have to fight. In fact, he does everything in his power to avoid fighting or getting physical with someone. De-escalation techniques are (should be) a major part of his training.

To subdue an enemy without fighting is the greatest of skills.
Sun Tzu

The true warrior should be an expert at the art of de-escalation. He should learn how to end a fight or conflict before it ever gets to the point of becoming physical. Of course, this is not always possible, but he will always exhaust every attempt to settle conflicts peaceably, only resorting to violence if he has no other choice. And, if he is forced to resort to getting physical, this is not something that he is happy or boastful about later; if anything, he will feel sad that he had to hurt someone, no matter how much the other person deserved or brought the pain on himself.

This doesn’t mean that he will regret his actions. Quite the contrary. If he had no other choice, and exhausted all other possibilities, he is at peace with his actions, knowing that he did the best he could to resolve the situation in a peaceful manner, but was forced to do as he did to protect himself and others. There is a big difference between wanting to kick someone’s ass, and being forced to hurt someone because you have no other choice.

We make war that we may live in peace.
Aristotle

It is this intent never to use force, if he can avoid it, that sets the true warrior apart. Of course there are many qualities which sets the true warrior apart from the average person; this is only one of the traits that make him a man of excellence. His spirit remains at peace, even after he has thrashed some thug, because his actions were done with the right intention – to protect, not to attack. While this may seem like a minor detail or simply semantics, it makes all the difference. The warrior’s intention to avoid physical conflicts if he can, but to be willing to step up if he can’t avoid getting physical, helps him maintain peace in his spirit. He knows his actions are just, thus he is at peace with what he does.

The true warrior is a man of peace and love, even if others can’t understand this fact. He maintains the balance between his warrior ideals, his martial arts training, and his spirit of peace and love, by striving to make sure that all of his actions are just. In fact, peace, love, and martial arts are all part of his warrior ideals; they are all a part of the whole. He simply strives to make his actions right.

The superior man seeks what is right.
Confucius

If a man’s actions are right and just, he has no reason to be troubled in his spirit. It doesn’t matter how other people perceive his actions, as far as his own personal peace is concerned. When you know in your heart that your actions are 100% right, you don’t feel guilty over what you do. And, when you don’t feel guilty over your actions, you are able to maintain peace in your mind and spirit.

The Bible points out that no man has greater love than the man who is willing to lay down his life for others. Every time the warrior steps into a physical conflict to protect someone else, he is possibly putting his life on the line. Those who say that the warrior is not a man of peace and love should consider this fact. If the warrior wasn’t a man of love, he wouldn’t risk his life or the possibility of an injury to help someone else. The true warrior never wants to fight. He always wants to settle things peaceably. At the same time, he is willing to do what is necessary to protect himself, his family, his friends, and those around him, if he can.

No one in his right mind would rather go out and get into a fight, risking injury or worse, instead of going about his own business, having fun, and enjoying his free time. Most people won’t step up when a conflict erupts; they timidly slip away, hoping that someone else will step in to help the innocent victim. It takes a special person to intervene to help a stranger or a friend who is in trouble. It takes someone with a heart of love and a sense of responsibility to others. The true warrior is this person. This is why he trains in martial arts and self-defense, and this is why he is able to maintain an attitude of peace and love in the midst of a violent encounter.

Let him who desires peace prepare for war.
Vegetius

In actuality, the true warrior does not have to balance his warrior ethics with the attitude peace and love because peace and love are a part of his warrior ethics. The warrior lifestyle encompasses peace, love, justice, integrity, honor, and martial arts training (and many other traits). The true warrior understands this and is at peace with his decisions as long as he strives to do what is right, in the right way, with the right intention. The attitude of peace and love are as much a part of the true warrior’s lifestyle as is his martial arts training – different parts of the whole. There lies the balance between a heart of love and peace and the physical skills of the warrior.

Everything in life has to do with maintaining balance. There are many parts of the warrior lifestyle, and balance must be maintained between each part. Your life can get unbalanced even when it comes to things such as love and peace. Too much time spent on any one area leaves another area lacking attention. If the warrior refuses to train his physical skills because he is 100% focused on peace, then his life is out of balance and there will come a time when he will regret neglecting that part of his life. The warrior lifestyle is a lifestyle of balance. There are many parts of the warrior’s life which have to be kept in balance. The warrior ethic consists of multiple parts – peace and love being two of them.

Think, feel, and act like a warrior. Set yourself apart from the rest of society by your personal excellence.
Forrest E. Morgan

Bohdi Sanders
The Wisdom Warrior

Bohdi Sanders, The Wisdom Warrior, award winning author, Warrior Wisdom

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