“To be a warrior is not a simple matter of wishing to be one. It is rather an endless struggle that will go on to the very last moment of our lives. Nobody is born a warrior, in exactly the same way that nobody is born an average man. We make ourselves into one or the other.” -Carlos Castaneda
The title Warrior seems to have been watered down to be synonymous with “someone who stands up for a cause” or “someone who has a courageous moment.” Courage is indeed an attribute of one worthy of the title, but it is certainly not all that makes one a Warrior. Any person, given a dire circumstance of imminent pain or death (or that of a family member), can have a courageous moment but these moments define one thing about the person – whether in times of stress they will react with fight, flight or freeze. Those who fight could be considered courageous, but this is not something these people normally prepare for. In these situations it is merely an instinct to react in a specific way. In my view, the Warrior acts not reacts because they have trained for such a moment. While both would be courageous, only one works off of solely the instinct of self (or blood) preservation and that would be the “average man (non-Warrior).”
It is always interesting to me those that claim to relate to Warriors in some fashion or another and yet can’t stand the thought of weapons or war. What those people can’t seem to understand is the Warrior doesn’t need or care about the politics. Their job is to physically fight. Can they have an opinion? Absolutely. Can they choose to take up a fight or leave it? Absolutely. But the Warrior’s position in their society isn’t wrapped up in political nonsense. Their job is to fight for whatever their tribe or village needed them to fight be it protection of leaders, furthering land growth or simply defense of their people.
The talkers and speech givers are politicians. They are not Warriors no matter how “courageous” and ground breaking their words are. Standing a picket line or attending a sit in or giving a speech are not actions of a Warrior. We can’t take the war out of Warrior. Warriors may choose to participate in such activities, but despite them they are still willing to pick up the weapons and walk into a battle. The Warriors do the fighting and the dying. That is what they prepare for all their life. If actions speak louder than words consider a Warrior the exclamation point.
When I speak of war it can be literally or figuratively (to a point). I’m not by any means stating that all Warriors have to be soldiers fighting a literal war or even that all soldiers are Warriors. I use the term war as simply a term for a physical confrontation. Warriors train for the possibility of that moment not necessarily a want or need for it. I’m not speaking of some bar brawl where a few people get out of hand one night because of some need to boost their egos. Winning a fight like that hardly makes anyone a Warrior. In fact, that would be something a true Warrior would use their brain to attempt to get out of and use their fist as a last resort because something like that is petty and not worth their time.
When I refer to the training of a Warrior I mean a defining physical moment like being provoked on the street in a life or death situation. It could also mean literally a life or death battle between countries at war. To me, there has to be an element of life or death involved. Does the Warrior have to have this defining moment to have earned the title? As Richard Strozzi Heckler put it, “The path of the Warrior is lifelong, and mastery is often simply staying on the path.” With this statement in mind, I don’t believe they do. My personal belief is the Warrior spends their lives hoping it will never happen (i.e. “hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst”), but training in case it does.
Some may even choose to get involved in tournaments or competitions, but this is still a furtherance of training with the real life or death situation in mind. The Warrior’s philosophy should be – be prepared mentally and physically because without the mental, the physical is useless and without the physical one will never survive the fight. In the wise words of Tien T’ai, “Given enough time, any man may master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior who can master both….and surpass the result.” Mental and physical preparation for conflict and the actions if one arises define the Warrior, not words.
*Side note – since actions speak louder than words here is a Warrior moment for you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybju5hb8nkc.