What is it about being a “Warrior” that attracts so many (mostly) men? You see it used in the military, LE and emergency responder circles as well as sports. When did it become not enough to be proud of the title “Soldier”, “Officer”, and so on? Is it the whole “individualism” thing? Or is it a legitimate title to use in our times to define say, a soldier who “lives and breathes the profession” vs. a kid who just enlisted for the college money, does what he has to to get by, and gets out at the first opportunity? Or the Cop who studies law, pays for his own firearms training and studies MA all to become better at his profession vs. the “ticket puncher” who is just counting the days till retirement.Is there a need in todays society for this sort of title differentiation? Is it just worthless ego boosting or a valuable “morale booster”?
Bud Malmstrom is a highly ranked American instructor in Bujinkan Taijutsu, what in the 80’s was just called Ninjutsu. The art has been re-branded to weed out the Ninja wannabes who flooded their schools. At least thats my take on the matter. While I believe that some Bujinkan practitioners are the biggest “offenders” regarding the confusion and over utilization of the “Warrior” title; in this video Mr. Malmstrom makes some very insightful points about martial arts, philosophy and Warriorship. What I find interesting is in his statement at the end of this video. Malmstrom mentions “living AS a Warrior”…not “being a Warrior”. I believe that this is an important distinction that many people are failing to understand.
Most Martial Artists are average citizens, they are not superheros going out on the streets living by their warrior codes, “deciding when to fight” evildoers and making the world safe for democracy. The only “choosing” they have regarding fighting is staying withing the limits of the law regarding self defense. The same as any other non-martial artist. In general most MA schools would serve their students better by sparing the “warrior code” mumbo jumbo and teach some basic law. Martial arts does have benefits for the average citizen in terms of awareness, self-confidence and unarmed fighting skills but lets not swell our heads. Into thinking we are “warriors”.
Soldiers, LE, etc. did “make a choice” when they enlisted or took their jobs. They decided that they were willing to suborn their own personal freedoms and risk their lives for the freedoms of others. In our age, they do it when they dont really have to. Most martial artists, like any smart citizen only fight when absolutely necessary. A “warrior” fights our enemies “under orders” so WE will hopefully never be forced to face them. Thats his “cause”. A martial artist who honestly believes that they are on equal combative ground with a soldier or an armed professional is a fool living in a fools paradise.
And the military (at least the American military) does have a “code” of conduct and adheres to their own standards of behavior and ethics:
The Six Articles of The Code of Conduct
- I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
- I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
- If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.
- If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me, and will back them up in every way.
- When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give only name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.
- I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.
The Soldier’s Creed
I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
THE SEVEN ARMY VALUES
- LOYALTY: Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. A loyal Soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers. By wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army you are expressing your loyalty. And by doing your share, you show your loyalty to your unit.
- DUTY: Fulfill your obligations. Doing your duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks. Duty means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. The work of the U.S. Army is a complex combination of missions, tasks and responsibilities-all in constant motion. Our work entails building one assignment onto another. You fulfill your obligations as a part of your unit every time you resist the temptation to take “shortcuts” that might undermine the integrity of the final product.
- RESPECT: Treat people as they should be treated. In the Soldier’s Code, we pledge to “treat others with dignity and respect while expecting others to do the same.” Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty. And self-respect is a vital ingredient with the Army value of respect, which results from knowing you have put forth your best effort. The Army is one team and each of us has something to contribute.
- SELFLESS SERVICE: Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own. Selfless service is larger than just one person. In serving your country, you are doing your duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.
- HONOR: Live up to Army values. The Nation’s highest military award is The Medal of Honor. This award goes to Soldiers who make honor a matter of daily living-Soldiers who develop the habit of being honorable, and solidify that habit with every value choice they make. Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.
- INTEGRITY: Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself.
- PERSONAL COURAGE: Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral). Personal courage has long been associated with our Army. With physical courage, it is a matter of enduring physical duress and at times risking personal safety. Facing moral fear or adversity may be a long, slow process of continuing forward on the right path, especially if taking those actions is not popular with others. You can build your personal courage by daily standing up for and acting upon the things that you know are honorable.