In Combative Martial Arts, the training is grounded in realistic self protection training that is tested. This training improves all aspects of the practitioner’s life by increased confidence and self respect. This allows you to face problems with your head held high as a warrior instead of as a victim or bully. You learn to carry yourself with honor and dignity.
Wikipedia defines a warrior as ‘a person experienced in or capable of engaging in combat or warfare.’ There is no question that being attacked on the streets or in your home is equivalent to combat or warfare. If you are interested in self protection, you will learn a lot from those who have been involved in combat and by studying those who were in combat. They can inspire and motivate you. Here is some quotes and training methods from real warriors.
Colonel David Grossman in On Combat defines a warrior to 'mean those who are willing to sacrifice themselves to defend others, those who move towards the sound of the guns, and those who continue in the face of adversity to do what needs to be done'. An excellent article on what it means to be a warrior is by David Grossman: http://www.killology.com/sheep_dog.htm
A good motivating speech is from General Patton: http://www.pattonhq.com/speech.html
Call of the Warrior
Martial Artists pursue a quest for self knowledge – to understand their own nature. Everyone has a warrior inside them. You must answer the call to bring it out. Are you answering the call?
According to Richard Strozzi-Heckler 'In Search of the Warrior Spirit': “A piece of the human heart that hungers for a passionate and wholehearted life. This urgent calling of nature longs to be tested, seeks to be challenged beyond itself.” “Part of being human is the longing, or perhaps even need, for the experience of courage, selflessness, heroism, service and transcendence.”
Steven Pressfield in 'The Warrior Ethos' says "We want action. We seek to test ourselves. We want friends, who will put themselves on the line for us-and we want to do the same for them. We're seeking some force that will hurl us out of our going-nowhere lives and into the real world, into genuine hazard and risk. We want to be a part of something greater than ourselves, something we can be proud of. And we want to come out of the process as different (and better) people than we were when we went in."
Code of Honor
Character training is the foundation of being a warrior. It is what seperates a trained fighter from a warrior.
1. A warrior lives by a code of honor based on personal ethics that are higher then societies standard.
One must make the warrior walk his everyday walk - Miyamoto Musashi
Think, feel, and act like a warrior. Set yourself apart from the rest of society by your personal excellence - Forrest Morgan
A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action - Samurai Maxim
No matter what the warrior is doing, he must conduct himself in the manner of a true warrior - Bushido Shoshinshu
Bushido, the way of the warrior, is not meant to be self-serving, it is meant to be of service for a higher purpose - Bohdi Sanders
2. A warrior protects himself and others. People should feel safer when he is present. This requires dedicated, disciplined training.
You must be deadly serious in training - Gichin Funakoshi
To be prepared for war is on of the most effective means of perserving peace - George Washington
Tomorrow's battle is won during today's practice. - Samurai Maxim
The martial arts are based in life and death. Here is some training advice from ‘The Warrior Pyramid’ by Brian Willis.
“When warriors train they always imagine using those skills in combat to ensure that they win the confrontation. They imagine that someone is attempting to kill them, attempting to take them away from their family.” What do you picture and visualize when you train? Warriors do not just go through the motions.
Your warrior spirit can be trained in many ways. The ultimate test is to use your skills in a real situation but this should be a rare event. As a result, you have to find some other great methods to test your warrior spirit such as:
This is an opportunity to apply your martial art training to simulated scenarios against a fully padded assailant(s). These are stressful enough to get the adrenaline going. The scenarios will involve attackers(s) wearing full body armor so the students will be able to test out their techniques full power. This is a great opportunity to test your training including the critical ability to avoid a situation.
This is special dedicated time devoted to the martial arts. It can be done solo or with others. Common topics include: conditioning (push ups, sit ups, squats, running, carrying a log), bag work (muay thai and boxing drills), grappling (standing and ground), trapping drills, weapons (knife drills, stick drills and sparring), unarmed sparring (both one on one and multiple attackers), chi gong, katas, technique rep, etc. Scenario training is part of the workout as well. For example, 'sparring' in the dark where you walk along a path in the woods and are attacked by people as they jump out. Needless to say it is a great time. Some ideas for a solo shugyo would be to do 100 katas, 100 pull ups/push ups/sit ups and squats then a CMA Fitness DVD, followed by a 30 minute run and 20 minutes of bagwork, then 1,000 forehand strikes into a tire with a stick followed by chi gung or yoga. We do a group Shugyo every Spring. I then recommend 6 months later to do a solo shugyo then in between at the 3 month mark to do something like 100 kata or 1000 strikes.
It is not an instructional workout. It is a do workout.
A special shugyo method is to travel and visit other schools known as Musha Shugyo. According to Wikipedia ‘Musha shugyo is a samurai warrior's quest or pilgrimage. A warrior, called a shugyōsha, would wander the land practicing and honing his skills without the protection of his family or school. Possible activities include training with other schools, dueling, performing bodyguard or mercenary work, and searching for a daimyo to serve.’ This is usually done in the teen or early 20’s before you get established.
Shugyo starts as a method to develop your Will to Survive. Overtime you learn to attack and dominate the challenge. Survive or Thrive - it is up to you.
Tom Muzila in Mental Karate states “Special Training is the most important way a member can face and push him or herself strictly and raise his mental capacity. When members push themselves at Special Training, their mental blocks, weaknesses, insecurities, fears and phobias arise. They then have a chance to face that mental block, push through it and eliminate it. The more Special Training an individual attends, with the appropriate mentality to face himself, the more he will eliminate his mental blocks and help create a much stronger, limitless liberated mentality.”
Drills such as sparring can be very helpful if kept in perspective. You get to develop your techniques in random situations against someone who is putting up resistance. It is is more fun if you include weapons and multiple attackers. Here are some methods:
These methods are all ways to challenge yourself to be effective. They do include the risk of pain or fear which does get the adrenaline going. Have fun and be safe.
"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself.
The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?"
- William J. Bennett
In a lecture to the United States Naval Academy
November 24, 1997
‘First a warrior or all else is Folly’
- John McSweeney
“Warriors do not need to start fights to show others how tough they are. They are confident in their skills and tactics. They understand that there is a time to fight and a time to walk away. When they fight, they fight to win. They fight with tenacity and ferocity. When they walk away, they walk away with their heads held high. They walk away with pride and honor because it is a choice.”
The real hero is the man who fights even though he's scared. Some get over their fright in a minute, under fire; others take an hour; for some it takes days; but a real man will never let the fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty, to his country and to his manhood.
-General George Patton
Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
"LOVE is the highest Art. In ancient times you trained so hard, not for the sake of killing people, but for the love of your family: for the love of your mother, your father, your children, your tribe, and your body. It is the love of life! That's why WE train so hard, so you can preserve life!" -Guro Dan Inosanto
The secret of aiki is to overpower the opponent mentally at a glance and to win without fighting.
‘Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.’
The idea that you can somehow adjust your response to a serious threat, to minimize the damage you do to your opponent, while at the same time remaining safe is both unrealistic and arrogant. It is based on the assumption that your skills are far beyond those of an unknown opponent, that you can control an uncharted situation. Both ideas are false; you can’t predict the outcome of unknown situations, nor the skill level of “wild card” opponents. Therefore, the response must be one that eliminates the threat as quickly and efficiency as possible while maintaining your own safety.
Sonny Umpad’s Eskrima by George Yore p55.