Something I have had a long standing interest and perhaps a personal investment in, is the concept of “Warriorship”.
Growing up in the 70′s-80′s during the “ninja craze”, a close friend and I gobbled up books and movies about the Ninja, martial arts and “warriorship”. We spent weekend nights stalking around the neighborhood in ninja outfits, playing “wargames” in the woods with padded weapons, sparring, tossing throwing stars at the side of my barn and generally just trying to impress our friends with our exploits.
For adolescent males this was perhaps a natural thing. Boys at that age are looking to find their place and define themselves as “men”. Some boys look for this through sports, some get into gangs, some fantasize about being “warriors”. As we aged and moved along in life our “exploits” became more “autentic”, we got into rappelling, rock climbing, paintball, legitimate martial arts schools, skydiving and so on. Eventually we joined various branches of the military, most of us seeing deployments overseas and then landed in careers in security and law enforcement. So the fantasy of being a “warrior” had a positive role in forming who we are today. I’d have to say that any man, if he is honest with himself, can still find a small bit of that fantasy within his heart.
While many today assign some sort of positive moral and ethical attributes to “warriorship” I believe that the true appeal to men is the almost subconscious belief that the “warrior” has power over others…loved by women who suborn themselves to the warrior for protection…and feared by other men. This is probably a “natural” phenomena rooted in our genetic code, and in men’s testosterone fueled drive to compete, seek rank within “the pack” and impress females. If a person is self aware enough to recognize this fantasy for what it is, it can be dealt with and harnessed for good.
However this search for the “warrior” can also have its darker side. My involvement with the martial arts has exposed me to a human tendency that I hadn’t acknowledged before. That being the discovery there are people out there who follow this “Warrior Fantasy” into adulthood and that there are others who would use this fantasy to exploit them for personal gain and ego gratification.
Some people take up hobbies and activities such as marital arts; firearms, oriental philosophies and weapon collecting and other such “macho activities” as a way to find meaning in a life that they think is lacking vitality. They go about life imagining themselves “warriors”. Its better somehow than just being who they are.
I have come to be of the opinion that a true “Warrior” is someone who goes out into the world and engages in some sort of activity that serves someone other than himself. Soldiers, firefighters, EMT’s, LEO’s and numerous other professions can fit this description. That being said, being a “warrior” isn’t just having a job. There are plenty of people in those ranks that are just “grunts”. Being a “warrior” implies a level of dedication, mindset and professionalism that places one in a different class.
I dedicate the “Warriorship” section of my blog to the research, discussion and collection of issues involving this phenomenon.