Friday, September 20, 2013


This is a study course I created for a short lived study program that will probably never see the light of day. Perhaps someone reading might want to try it out. 


“The whole race, which is now called Gallic or Galatic, is madly fond of war, high-spirited and quick to battle, but otherwise straightforward and not of evil character,” wrote Strabo. Ammianus Marcellinus noted, “A whole troop of foreigners would not be able to withstand a single Gaul if he called his wife to his assistance, who is usually very strong.” The Roman observations tend to focus on the fighting prowess of the Celts and many of the legends revolve around the various wars both on the mainland as well as the Gael Isles. From Brennus terrorizing Rome with the Senones to the
Iceni Queen Boudica’s revolt against Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus to Brian Bóroimhe and his fight for a more than the ceremonial High King of Ireland title, it’s clear that war for the Celtic tribes held much importance.

The focus of this course is in understanding the world of the Warrior both ancient and modern. A Warrior spends their life in constant physical and mental training for combat. Some choose to make it their profession through serving in the military or law enforcement while others travel the path through martial arts and weapons training. Whether the Warrior was the ancient Celt representing their tribe, is the modern police officer representing their city, or the civilian defending their family and friends, a Warrior’s goal is always the same - to live and die with honor.

The student will choose two books from each listed category, writing both a summary for each and one thesis paper per section (with the exception of the Women Warriors section to which they will only be required to read one book with no thesis paper required). If the student takes an interest in a book not listed that would fit in any of the listed categories, they can use that book in place of one of the others in the section. Any book or article with a * beside it is required.

To complete this course the student will also be required to take part in either training in a martial art or a specific weapon to be chosen by the student. There is absolutely no restriction on the martial art or weapon the student can choose however if the student chooses to pursue weapons training, a proper instructor MUST be found. The student can choose to pursue both practical courses in lieu of one of the other courses with the exception of Celtic Warrior History, Celtic Warrior Legends and Mind of a Warrior.

Required Reading:

Celtic Warrior History
1) Celtic Warriors - Tim Newark
2) Wars of The Irish Kings - David W. McCullough
3) Celtic Warriors - Dáithí Ó hÓgáin
4) Celtic Martial Arts – C. Lee Vermeers*
5) Gallic War – Julius Caesar*

Celtic Warrior Legends
1) Tales of the Elders of Ireland (Acallam na Senórach) translated by Ann Dooley & Harry Roe
2) The Tain translated by Thomas Kinsella
3) Gods and Fighting Men – Lady Augusta Gregory
4) The Second Battle of Mag Tuired (Cath Maige Tuired) translated by Elizabeth Gray
5) Finn Mac Cumhail and the Fiann na h-Erenn as told by Geoffrey Keating*

General History of War

1) A Military History of Ireland - Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery

2) A History of Warfare - John Keegan

3) War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds - Kurt A. Raaflaub

Female Warriors
1) Warrior Women - Jeannine Davis-Kimball
2) Warrior Queens - Antonia Frasier
3) Women Warriors - David E Jones

Mind of a Warrior
1) Code of the Warrior - Shannon French*
2) On The Warrior's Path - Daniele Bolelli
3) Warrior Mindset – Michael Asken, Dave Grossman, and Loren Christensen
4) The Code of the Samurai – translated by Thomas Cleary

Body of a Warrior
1) On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology in Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace – Dave Grossman
2) Sharpening The Warrior's Edge: The Psychology & Science of Training - Bruce K Siddle*
3) Individual’s choice of physical conditioning book

Philosophy of War
1) The Art of War - Sun Tzu*
2) The Book of Five Rings - Miyamoto Musashi
3) Honor: A History – James Bowman

Practical Martial Arts

If one truly wishes to consider themselves on the Warrior path, the pursuit of a Martial Art is highly recommended. It can range from Eastern martial arts like Karate to Tae Kwon Do to Western such as Krav Maga or Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. The student is free to choose whatever martial art they feel a connection to and start from there. Because finances can be a factor, the student can choose to attempt to self teach from a book or online, but it is highly recommended that the student find a teacher or go to classes. A martial art isn’t practical unless it can be applied and proper practice requires an opponent to gain that muscle memory and consistent application.

You as the student can decide how you will document your work in your chosen martial art and a final thesis paper will be required after at least six months of dedicated study and practice. The student will also be required to research the history of the martial art they choose to study and write a short summary on it.

Practical Weapons

If one truly wishes to consider themselves on the Warrior path, the pursuit of weapons training is highly recommended. The student is free to choose whatever weapon they feel a connection to which can range from fire arms to swords to stick fighting, etc. Weapons training can be very dangerous and as such, absolutely requires being taught by experts. The sole liability falls on the student if they injure, maim or kill themselves during any weapons training or practice. Weapons are not toys and should be treated with the utmost respect as they are meant to cause significant damage.

You as the student can decide how you will document your training with your weapon of choice and a final thesis paper will be required after at least six months of dedicated training and practice. The student will also be required to research the history of the weapon they choose to train with and write a short summary on it.


  1. I am pleased that you regard my little essay highly enough to make it a required source. Thank you for your confidence in my thoughts on the subject.

    If I may, I'd like to recommend a few other sources for someone following this curriculum, though this is hardly exhaustive:

    The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts - Issai Chozanshi, tr. by William Scott Wilson
    The Counsels of Cormac - tr. by Thomas Cleary (not the best translation, but the most easily available)
    True Helm - Sweyn Plowright
    In Search of the Warrior Spirit - Richard Strozzi-Heckler
    Small Unit Leadership - Col. Dandridge M. Malone (Ret.)
    Light Infantry Tactics - Christopher E. Larsen (perhaps this is a little more specific, though)

    1. Thanks C. Lee. I'm sure there are a zillion other books worthy of reading. These were simply a small list and the course, when it would have had mentors, would have definitely been open to other books on the subject, so thank you for the list and the awesome article.

      You have also added to my personal wishlist.