Why Do Warriors Train So Hard?
by Bohdi Sanders, Ph.D.
Many in the general public see the warrior as a brute that loves violence and fighting. They get the wrong impression from movies and those who claim to be warriors, but in actuality misunderstand the concept of warriorhood. They see so-called warriors in movies indiscriminately killing others and wreaking havoc to accomplish their personal objectives.
This Hollywood representation of the warrior is like most movie depictions – badly skewed. Unfortunately, this is the idea of the warrior that the majority of people hold. And, this is especially damaging to the youth in our society, those who are most impressionable.
The world needs to understand the truth concerning what it means to be a warrior, a man or woman who lives by principles and a code of honor. The truth needs to be told about those noble people who train hard to protect those around them, as well as themselves.
Warriors don’t work hard, perfecting their martial arts skills, because they love fighting. They don’t work, sweat, and bleed in order to brag about their skills. True warriors don’t train for glory or recognition. They train to protect those who cannot protect themselves – their family, the weak, the elderly, and those who deserve their protection.
The simple-minded pursue the warrior arts for immature, selfish reasons. They want recognition and people patting them on the back, telling them how great they are or how tough they are. They couldn’t care less about protecting others, preferring to focus only on their personal image. These are people who want to portray themselves as tough, and go out looking for ways to prove it.
In reality, they are weak. They need the constant praise of others to validate themselves because inside, they haven’t found the peace that true warriors have found. That peace is the way of bushido, the way of the true warrior. They desperately need a wise teacher, a warrior, to teach them the right path.
The real warrior has found this path through his training, physically, mentally, and spiritually. He or she understands the difference between training to look tough and training to be tough.
It is the difference between training with a weapon and training to become a weapon, a weapon that is not waved like a banner to get everyone’s attention, but rather a weapon that is always quietly there, ensuring the protection of those around him.
It is the difference between someone that knows how to fight, but hopes that he never has to fight, and someone that doesn’t know as much as he thinks, and yet, seeks out ways to prove that fact.
The warrior trains because he understands the value of the warrior lifestyle and serving others. He has made a decision to live his life as a warrior, not a fighter. He trains because that is who he is deep inside his soul. He needs no recognition, no accolades, and no praise to motivate him.
The true warrior does not need to prove that he is a warrior. He is unconcerned with everyone else’s opinion of him. He is only concerned with whether or not he is living his life according to his personal code of honor and doing the right thing. He is at peace with himself and his actions, as long as he is living by the high standards that he has set for himself.
J. R. R. Tolkien put it nicely stating, “I don’t love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only what they defend.” This is a great distinction between the true warrior and the warrior as perceived by the world.
The genuine warrior doesn’t train for the glory, the public perception, titles, or belt rankings. He trains to be prepared to defend what he loves. He trains because martial arts are a part of who he is. Training has become instinctual for him; it is a part of his spirit, his mind, and his being.
He understands that the future is never guaranteed; he must be prepared for whatever may come his way. Warriors train because they have a duty to be prepared, prepared to defend those they love and those who cannot defend themselves. This is the true warrior, the man or woman who still believes in the ways of bushido – the way of the warrior. Bohdi Sanders, Ph.D.