True Warrior Mentality
By Abel Torres, Judo
There is a reason why there is, I’m told, about an 85% drop out rate of martial arts students…
It all comes down to what the instructor wants to teach and show. “My school=my rules” is definitely a proponent of teachers choosing to keep whatever they feel may work in a curriculum and leaving what doesn’t aside.
But, at the same time I am a history buff and I like learning about the old ways and the weapons of the past.Yeah, I’m a nerd. But, that is for my own enrichment and not because I will ever need to wield a katana in my defense nor will I be ambushed by Ninjas or get in a duel with a Samurai.
Training to fight and creating that proper foundation is GREAT and is what is required to develop students with maturity. You emulate what and whom you work with. As a kid surrounded by kids, I wanted that black belt to prove my awesome Ninja status. As an adult I could care less about the rank itself. I know that it’s a great achievement and I need it to have that extra validity that I can teach and am certified to do so, but all a belt does for me is keep my pants up and keep my Gi folded nicely to my person...also, if you know how to do it right you can tie someone up nicely or choke a dude out with a Newaza.
The whole "be a warrior...die with honor" thing is peculiar to me. I have NO problem dying a peaceful death in a bed, preferably in my sleep. Set the alarm clock at 5 am and wake up at the pearly gates...sounds like a good plan.
Promoting bravery and courage is good, especially in kids. The sooner they start to stand up for themselves the sooner they can stand for something greater than themselves. But, the concept of implanting your average Joe with the belief that they should live with the same "en guarde" or inner tension equivalent to a professional soldier; or that they are trained like a special forces because they go to practice twice a week for an hour, is just giving them a false sense of security.
This may contribute towards intermediate students receiving serious injuries by improperly applying their newfound skills in real-life situations. The following disillusionment can bruise more than one’s ego and commonly results in a student quitting his training altogether.
Why I haven’t heard of anyone being sued for false advertisement I don’t know...then again, I think the law requires that the person have some degree of common sense. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know (There, I covered my ass!).
This warrior mentality seems mystic…
The people that are trying to be emulated (Samurai, Knights, Ninjas, etc.) actually raped and pillaged and did horrid things to maintain the feudal caste system that they were a part of. I mean, look at the teachings of Christianity (Jesus’ teachings) and look at what the warrior caste (knights) did to the mid-east during the crusades or even each other. Now, I don’t want to turn this into a political or religious debate, it’s just an example of what one class with a set of values did, and in their minds they were doing the right thing.
I think the modern method of facing your problems and challenges up front, sportsmanship, and hard work is just as good as "the way of the warrior". It develops a sense of drive and to better oneself and to take the lessons learned in defeat. Because face it, we’ve ALL gotten our butts kicked time and time again doing what we love.
I understand the "its a sport/not life and death/has rules/etc." But, cultures have utilized combat sports since the beginning of time. The rules were placed so that both fighters could fight hard and both could walk away to continue their training or train others. Keeping the fighting styles alive, the practitioners alive, and the martial arts evolving and bettering and, frankly, it promotes brotherhood.
Many of the guys who I refer to as "brother," I hit, grapple with, and strike with blunt objects. But, they are my extended family. Together we grow. Now, if I hurt one and they are out of training, they entropy in skill and I am out of a partner and may entropy as well. If I continue destroying training partners, I won’t have any more, so an overly aggressive individual warrior mentality cannot apply.
An Mixed-Martial Arts fighter can hit faster and harder than the majority of the earths population, they have better cardio, and they can sink that choke. Sure they fight by a rule system, but a tap out means stop in the cage or on the mat. In the street they can choose not to let go…perhaps, as a result, leading to death.
A “Warrior Mentality” is needed at times, however, a true warrior should be highly skilled and trained to know when to use his abilities with the appropriate sensitivity best suited for any scenario he may face.