I don’t want to come down too hard on the “warrior lifestyle” proponents because I can see its benefits. Epically for the teenage-twenty something male set.
I recall a couple of young guys who used to run the neighborhoods in camo/ninja garb in the 80’s honing their “warrior skills”..reading everything military, mystical and martial they could lay their hands on. Backyard sparring and training out of Stephen Hayes books to supplement the McDojo training from the local small town school. Scaling buildings, cliffs and towers because they may need these skills “in combat” someday. Wargames in the woods and waterbaloon ambush/counter-ambush attacks, hunting as “warrior pastime”/”combat drill” etc etc. It served to fulfill that need in a male of that age…a need to belong to something…a need to feel skilled..powerful..doing things that few others did and experiencing things few others experienced. Its a gateway from Boy to Man that’s lacking in our society.
As those guys got older and had a bit more money (and fewer obligations) those “games” turned into rock climbing, skydiving, paintballing, firearms and so on. Then eventually military service and jobs in education, security and law enforcement. Many people, mostly male, have that desire to be a “warrior”. To be a “man amongst men”, to be the one that people look to when the chips are down. “Feared by men..loved by women” yadda yadda. The difference is in how a person chooses to fill that desire. Those guys were self aware enough to realize where their fantasies of youth began and ended and used the skills, limit testing, technical skills and experience they gained for other “adult world” purposes (facing fear in skydiving and climbing had its role in taking risks to accomplish goals. Fitness, basic military concepts and so on all gave benefits down the road). Some guys need to actually fight and compete to get that fulfillment (MMA competitors/barfighters/motorcycle gang members). Some need the substitute of professional sports fandom, some need martial arts. None are “bad”…none are “good” in and of themselves alone. Its all about how you choose to live your life.
Eventually, I began to feel like I was leading a “Xerox life” and wanted something more “authentic” to make MYSELF feel more fulfilled. Other people may not feel that need. Or they just do this stuff as a hobby and are content with the life/profession/family they already have. Their fulfillment, contribution to society and self-worth is just as valid as the “warriors”. But we aren’t talking about them. They are well adjusted and self aware. I am talking about those who ARE NOT content with who and where they are. Instead of making the big move or the scary commitment to make REAL change in their lives to reach their goals, they grasp onto their “warrior” training at their corner dojo and walk around in their Mandarin collared silk Chinese shirts or
their “psudo-uniform” 5.11 tactical clothes, ball caps, vests and “operator” dodads. I just caution people to avoid placing all of your self-worth in something without “real world” foundations.
In our niche here though (MA’s) you see some people who decide to authenticate that Xerox lifestyle by making up a history of “combat”, either street or military. Some want to “authenticate” but dont or cant commit to the sacrifice or effort that requires.
In the end I guess Im saying that we all need to look at why we do what we do with an honest eye and determine what are real motivations are. Any honest person will admit to themselves that there is always a little bit of that teenage “warrior fantasy” in themselves…from the experienced Special Forces Soldier to the MA Grandmaster…that boy in themselves that is pleased in who they have become. That’s normal. If its a monster in the closet..that’s a problem.