My good friend Paul posted this as a comment on my “about” page. We are usualy on the same page on this sort of stuff and I thought this comment was such a good encapsulation of my mindset that it deserved its own post.
I don’t think that a civilian leading an everyday life should have to adopt/adapt/’emulate’ (read copy) a ‘warrior’ lifestyle in order to find a codex of values and character traits to deal with the challenges of life. In many ways it can be counter productive, IMO.
The character traits and virtues have not been clearly defined, but I am working with the assumption that they include the basics such as Integrity, Honesty, Moral and Physical courage, commitment….and the like. Well, those same qualities are evident in the Boy Scouts, most postive and successful business organizations, healthy religious practices, personal growth programs, philosophical pursuits of self awareness….
The BIG difference between using the ‘warrior’ model/role model and any of these other possible options is two major things:
1. The basic belief that the warrior is/will be in conflict with someone or something.
2. The basic belief that victory is the end goal/object…that there IS an end goal/objective at all.
There is a problem when approaching life with a ‘conflict’ mentality in a civilian (please read ‘civilized’) world. Basically, the ‘warrior’ mentality requires one to see every situation as a fight, every challenge or problem as a conflict. That means the ‘warrior’s’ mind will define someone or something as the ‘enemy’ whether there is one or not.
On the second issue, life is what it is, it is cyclical and there really is no ‘end goal’ objective, IMO. People don’t ‘win’ life, they live life. In the military/LEO, all those values/virtues are meant to keep a person focused on completing the objective, but – as we have seen too many times with war veterans, there isn’t much help in the ‘warrior’ mentality with how to cope with the aftermath (returning home to civilian life at the end of deployment, after combat, after trauma…).
I think a more properly aligned mentallity for civilian martial arts training – especially those systems/schools that are trying to be reality based or self defense focused, is one based on being a good citizen, the legal system of the country/state/county/town or city, and personal family upbringing.
I don’t normally pull the ‘been there done that’ game, so I hope this is taken for what it is meant to be: Substantiation of my position, but I’ve been a civilian and a serviceman, I’ve been trained as a teacher by degree, desire, and experience via the service, college, career, and mentorship.
Based on those experiences and trainings, I don’t see ‘warrior’ mimicry as the best choice of role modeling.
Personally, I’ve used the term ‘Everyday Hero’ for the type of ‘image’ that encapsulates the values and virtues that I would like to see my students and children strive for at times.