Winning is not the decisive factor in being a warrior. Of course, we all like to win. I have never met anyone who enjoys losing at anything, much less when it comes to important issues. That said, winning or losing does not change who you truly are. If you are a warrior, you will still be a warrior after all is said and done, whether you are victorious or go down fighting.
I have been teaching martial arts philosophy and the warrior lifestyle for over 25 years. And during this time, I have seen many people who are now imitating what I have been doing on social media, but doing so by simply making up silly quotes which have very little value or wisdom. Most of those quotes play on people’s emotions, and are not truly warrior wisdom.
For example, I have seen the quote, “Warriors are not the ones who always win, they are the ones who always fight.” This quote is not only inaccurate, but is a false teaching that can actually harm those naïve enough to believe it. Warriors do not “always” fight. In fact, a true warrior is much more likely to walk away from a fight than some hot-headed, want-to-be tough guy who is trying to impress the feeble-minded fools who are moved by such nonsense.
The guys who always fight, are people who are have unresolved, personal issues or who are simply morons who are trying to prove how tough they are. These people are not warriors; they are idiots. They don’t have the courage to walk away from a fight because of their fragile egos, and they do not have the skills to stand against a trained warrior. They are simply blowhards.
Warriors don’t need to impress others; they have no need to go around acting tough. The guys who talk tough, threaten, and try to intimidate people are not true warriors, and are usually the ones that you don’t really have to worry about. They are the pretenders, trying with all their being to convince others that they are something that they are not – a real warrior.
Fighting is not what makes a warrior; living by the code of the warrior makes you a warrior. Being ready, willing and able to end a fight is a part of being a warrior, but that is just a small part of the warrior lifestyle. If you don’t have good character, honor and integrity, you are not a warrior, period. You may be a fighter, a soldiers, a trained thug, but you are not a true warrior.
Warriors live their life by their own code; they do not live to impress the simple-minded fools who are impressed by tough talk, scowling faces, or external appearances. They hold themselves to a higher standard – the way of the warrior. True warriors have no problem walking away from a fight. In fact, they had much rather de-escalate a situation than simply destroy some loud-mouthed poser.
Walking away from a fight doesn’t make you a coward. It takes more self-discipline and control to walk away from a fight, when you have both the will and the skill to destroy the other guy, than it does to get physical. I have done both over the years. I can tell you that walking away is harder, at first, but it does get easier with experience.
But after the fact, when you know that you could have killed or crippled this person, you feel a deep sense of satisfaction, knowing that you had the courage and the discipline to do the right thing. You won without having to fight, which is the highest, and most satisfying, type of victory. Sun Tzu, the great Chinese general who penned The Art of War, taught, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” The term “supreme” means superior to all others. It is the best victory you can achieve.
When you are faced with a bad situation, whether it is a physical confrontation or something else, winning comes down to one thing, and one thing only – achieving your ultimate objective. The warrior’s ultimate objective is not to look cool or to make others think he is the toughest guy around. His (or her) ultimate objective is to live with honor and integrity, and to be victorious by living up to his or her own code.
This may or may not include getting physical with someone, but unless you have no choice, it is always better to subdue and defeat your enemy without resorting to fighting. I can personally attest to this fact, having both walked away from fights, and in my earlier years, having been very quick to fight. The art of winning without is a higher art and much harder to perfect.
Subduing your enemy without fighting gives you a greater sense of victory, and can leave your enemy befuddled and perplexed as to why he feel dejected and defeated after all is said and done. Most of the guys that you defeat in this way don’t even realize that they have been defeated until reality hits them square in the face hours or days later.
The warrior, on the other hand, continues to feel a deep satisfaction, knowing that he (or she) has defeated another enemy, completely achieved his objective in that volatile situation, and did so in such a skillful way that his enemy never knew what hit him. Of course, this is not to be confused with walking away out of a sense of fear or cowardice. Those are two totally different situations.
In the first situation, the warrior is ready, willing, and able to fight, has the confidence that he can take care of this situation physically, if he is forced to, but chooses a higher level of response to the situation. The coward does not walk away because he is de-escalating the situation, but rather because he is scared and does not know what else to do. These two responses are as different as night and day.
True warriors do not always fight, but they do always do their best to live up to their code of honor and ethics. They will fight if the circumstances require such a response, but only if they have no other options. They never fight because of shallow, egotistical reasons; the real warrior is above such immature actions.
The warrior conducts himself (or herself) with a calm confidence, knowing that he is prepared to meet the challenge with whatever response is necessary to achieve his goals. There is never any guarantee of winning. Life is full of uncertainties. You can always expect the unexpected, and you must be prepared to respond to whatever comes your way.
Living the warrior lifestyle requires that you look at life from a different perspective than the vast majority of people. There is much more to being a warrior than knowing how to fight; that is just the tip of the iceberg. The real substance of the warrior comes from deep within, in his unshakable spirit and immovable mind.
The Japanese term, fudoshin, literally means immovable mind or immovable heart. It is the philosophical and mental dimension of the Japanese martial arts which is only found in the most advanced martial artists, those who understand the truth of Sun Tzu’s teachings on the supreme art of war.
There is so much more to the martial arts and the warrior lifestyle than learning the skills of physical combat. Self-defense is all encompassing. The warrior lifestyle must consist of the balancing of the spirit, mind and body. Warriors rarely confine themselves to absolutes such as, “The warrior always fights.” That misguided philosophy is for those who are uninitiated in the true ways of the warrior.
Never be satisfied by taking the well-traveled, easy path. You will never find the deeper wisdom on the road traveled by the majority. Wisdom must be actively sought; it is not found on the path of fools and naïves.
You must travel well beyond those paths if you to truly live the warrior lifestyle. Only then will you find true balance in your spirit, mind and body, and develop the immovable mind of the true warrior. Warriors are not the ones that always win, but the ones who live by the code. Bohdi Sanders ~ author of the #1 Bestsellers, MODERN BUSHIDO and MEN of the CODE, and the new book, BUSHIDO: The Way of the Warrior, all available from Amazon and from The Wisdom Warrior Bookstore.