The Warrior Within

 

        Just who and what is the ultimate warrior? What does it mean to be a warrior in the twenty first century? The Encarta encyclopedia dictionary describes a warrior as “someone who fights or who is experienced in warfare, a fighter, and a combatant.” In the Chiricahua Apache Nation, to be admitted as a warrior a young man had to go with the warriors of his tribe four times on the warpath. On each trip he would be given inferior food to eat. He was not allowed to complain. He was a servant, cared for the horses, did the cooking and performed any chore that needed to be done without being told to do so. He could not speak unless first spoken to by the warriors. If all the warriors were satisfied that the young man was industrious, did not speak out of order, had shown courage in combat, shown no fear or cowardice or weakness of any kind, he may by vote of the council be admitted to the warrior class, at the lowest level, but only if the vote was unanimous.

 

        In medieval Europe knight hood was a mark of social distinction. The opportunity to become a knight was usually limited to men of noble birth. He was a mounted man-at-arms who served a king or other feudal superior.   The candidate had to serve as a page and squire and spend years doing any and all chores and tasks that his superiors demanded of him. Sometimes this was dirty, grueling work in all kinds of weather.

 

        So, what does all this have to do with the martial arts? Plain and simple, martial arts mean “military or fighting arts”, whether it be the American Apache, European Knight, or Far Eastern Samurai. The common strand that links this all together is that their tests and trials for entrance into these closed societies were very demanding, tough, and rigorous. Only the best made the grade. That is how it used to be when a candidate in the 50’s and 60’s was striving to earn his/her black belt, (Before W.D.B.B. – watered down black belt came along, but that is another topic.) There are still a handful of tough black belt warriors and martial styles around who refuse to knuckle under. When is a real martial- artist the ultimate warrior?          

  1. The warrior must be tested by time and fire.

 

    1. A mature age is determined.
    2. Quality tests are performed.
    3. Competition entered into.
    4. Years of service, dedication and training are standard requirements.
    5. Whether it be hunting food with a bow and arrow, jousting in full armour, developing sword techniques, or competing against other martial artists, all must prove their worth.

 

  1. The warrior must honestly answer the following questions without making excuses or rationalizing.

 

    1. Does your dojo teach sparring (hard and fast)?
    2. Do you practice surprise attacks, multiple attacks, gang attacks?
    3. Do you practice weapons defenses?
    4. Do you train in reality based street attacks?
    5. During your training do you make contact of any kind?
    6. Do you practice on the speed bag, heavy bag and other equipment?
    7. Do you engage in boxing?
    8. Are you sweating and exhausted at the end of each class.
    9. Do you take hard, demanding tests to achieve your next belt rank?
    10. Do you attend class often?
    11. Do you practice at home?
    12. Do you smoke, drink alcohol to excess, or use drugs?
    13. What are your eating habits, are they healthy?
    14. Do you treat your body as a temple?
    15. Do you personally train often, or do you just teach?
    16. Do you read the trade magazines and martial arts books, and or also watch videos?
    17. Do you visit other qualified styles and dojos to see what they have to offer in their training regimen, to discover what you can learn from them?
    18. If you are not answering these questions positively, why the heck are you involved in the martial arts anyway?
    19. Are you a weekend warrior, or are you striving to become the ultimate warrior?  True warriors are always striving to develop character, but they never forget that the bottom line is, can you fight in actual combat? Can you survive an all out melee in Bills’ Honky Tonk Saloon?  (Of course, you shouldn’t be there in the first place)

 

       The Ultimate Warrior spends his entire life sharpening his combat skills. He learns to walk without fear. He practices to defend as if his very life depends on it.  The warrior learns the vital striking areas, always aiming to hit them during his workouts. The warrior practices his kata as if he is in actual combat. He is striving for endurance, balance, co-ordination and speed. He realizes that strong and accurate form will condition his body and instill discipline, which separates the warrior from the brawler. He knows that defeat in combat could mean a death sentence. All this is incased in respect that always shows up in the ultimate warrior’s personality, one who can take out an opponent in a matter of seconds, but who is also willing to help that little old lady across the street. The warrior is not afraid of failure. His creed “Far better to fail in an honorable cause than to succeed in a cowardly one.”

 

 

        For you warriors seeking a code of conduct, listen to the boy scouts law, and adopt it.


         A. Scout (warrior) is

1.      Trustworthy

2.      Loyal

3.      Helpful

4.      Friendly

5.      Courteous

6.      Kind

7.      Obedient

8.      Cheerful

9.      Thrifty

10.  Brave

11.  Clean

12.  Reverent

 

3. Character in Martial Arts history has seldom failed the warrior. Were he to performs without character, a thousand ghosts would rise from the past, thundering these magic words.

DUTY

HONOR

LOYALTY

 

        Warriors are superior people. With this title bears certain responsibilities of which the cost is to serve society. Service is the ultimate obligation of the warrior class. He

Knows that the pursuit of excellence is at the very core of the martial way.

 

4. Real warriors devote many years to learning their craft. They spend untold hours in training halls. They pay with sweat, tears, and blood. You will never be a true warrior until you develop?

           

A.     Muscular strength and endurance

B.     Aerobic Capacity

C.     Flexibility

D.    Healthy Habits

E.     Excellence

 

1.      To build strength the warrior must do progressive resistance, or weight training. No doubt about it, this is strenuous work and not pleasant to do. The goal is to drive the muscles to the point of failure, rupturing body cells. Lifting weights will accomplish this. Train all parts of your body equally. A days rest is needed between workouts. Don’t work any muscle groups two days in a row.

 

2.      An aerobic exercise strengthen the heart and lungs, improves circulation, reduces body fat, lowers blood pressure, and improves overall health. The warrior’s goal is to increase his capacity for prolonged, vigorous, physical activity. Learn to develop your fast twitch and slow twitch muscles at the same time. Perform a slow, hard style, powerful kata with power, energy and form. (Slow twitch muscles.) Next, perform a softer flowing kata using utmost speed until you are exhausted (fast twitch muscles), then perform another slow hard kata, followed by a softer, faster kata. Build up slowly until you can perform all your major katas in this manner, back to back to back. In time, you will be in excellent physical aerobic shape.

 

3.      A warrior needs flexibility and suppleness to execute his techniques quickly and smoothly. When exercising, your muscles grow stronger, but also shorter as well. The more you work your muscles, the less flexibility you will have. So stretch and stretch. The key time to stretch your muscles is after a hard workout.

 

4.      Healthy habits is healthy eating. The warrior avoids putting lots of fats into his body, and burns out any amount that does get there. Concentrate on eating complete carbohydrates, and avoid excess protein. Hard exercises burn clycogen for energy. First from your muscles, then from your blood. When you run out of clycogen you simply cannot continue on. However, moderate exercises allow your body time to begin metabolizing the fat molecules in your blood stream before your clycogen burns out. After about twenty minutes you are burning the fat that you do not want stored in your body.

 

5.      Warriors are special people who understand the concept of honor. They set their ethical standards above the rest of society. Since warriors pattern their lives around the pursuit of excellence, they tend to achieve in their chosen career fields. The ultimate warrior is a man/woman of character, wisdom and insight. They belong to an elite group. They, think feel and act like a warrior. They allow their personal excellence to separate them from the average person.

 

6.      In martial arts, there are warriors and non-warriors. Not everyone is suitable for combat. It has been said that there are no superior martial arts; there are only superior warriors. However, a blend or mixture of arts that combine foot and kicking drills, hand defenses and attacks, grappling and ground work, bending and twisting maneuvers, mat work, sparring and weapons training is close to become a superior art. It simply allows for multi-faceted defenses and attacks, which gives the warrior more choices when put in harms way. Where once warriors trained to die, they now train to live. A warrior makes training a daily regimen with improvement being a constant preoccupation. Physical conditioning, technical proficiency, tactical fluency, spiritual strength, and emotional control are the rules that the warrior lives by. Training everyday includes academic study and research, and does not mean that you have to physically train seven days a week. Physical development is tempered by intellectual growth. There must be time set aside for play and relaxation.

 

7.      Warriors are always under control. They are in this thing for the long haul. The warrior understands that “tomorrow’s battle is won in today’s practice.” The ultimate warrior is “fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.”(Samurai battle banner: Living the Martial Way, Morgan.)  Where one may play a sport or have a hobby, the warrior lives the martial way. Warriors do not consider martial arts training as a hobby to be done a few evenings each week, nor is it a game to them. The warrior’s heritage is a way of life, an unrelented commitment, a constant struggle to improve. He believes that to seek perfection of his spirit is the only goal worthy of manhood. So, the question remains, which are you, the weekend warrior or the ultra warrior? Do you possess the warrior within?

 

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This page was last updated on 07/05/07    

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