Life is combat. The Warrior's choice is to relish this existence, using the risk to heighten his appreciation of life. To maintain serenity while in danger and cultivate this awareness the Warrior must find his self within and exercise dominion over his body. This is done by practicing martial skills. The kind of physical exertion is not as important as the level, and the mental aspects overshadow all that is physical.

The demeanor of a Warrior should be calm and quiet, with a ready smile. Always be ready to see the humor of an annoying situation. Be in control of yourself. Bend when you must, and know when to stand firm. Some ideals are sacred. In the profession of soldiering, oddly antithetical to being a Warrior, you must maintain a distance from the muck, excel at your job, and cultivate your own growth. Be aware that your personal sense of honor may actually impede your progress, depending on the quality of your superiors.

The hallmarks of a Warrior's service are duty and honor. Discipline and control are his foundation.He values his awareness and sense of humor, and the concept unifying it all is love. It is not the possession of any of these traits which distinguishes the Warrior from others, but their combination and application. The Warrior is a synthesis of many traits and a person of contrasts. Much effort is spent in developing physical and mental skills in joyous anticipation of life-threatening combat, yet a simple example of nature's beauty can absorb him utterly. By accepting the inevitability of death and the risks of life, the Warrior need not worry about the minor troubles which detract from life' beauty.

Duty and honor are the legs upon which a Warrior stands and they are closely related concepts. Honor is that which you keep by doing your duty. Duty is that set of obligations which you voluntarily assume. They may range from a simple debt of courtesy to a blood oath. Loyalty is usually the simplest of concepts since it merely requires that you be proper in your dealings with someone you like or to whom you owe a debt. Unfortunately this seems a rare practice. Loyalty does not preclude accurate judgement, though it does recommend a modicum of tolerance. Honesty is more complex and there are often differences in your dealings with the clan, where you are honest in spirit, and those outsiders with whom you are merely semantically honest. Though allowing fools to believe a falsehood is no sin, naivete is not a trait to be exploited. Someone who attempts to take advantage of you should be gladly hoist on their own petard.

Discipline and control are traits basic to the building and maintenance of the Warrior. Without discipline or control the Warrior could not long maintain the true path of training, analysis, and existence. They allow you to follow the course of reason instead of being misled by false emotion, and help you distinguish between true and false emotion. True emotions are always valid influences in your life, but always be aware of other factors. Grief and anger are as valid as joy and mirth but you must be aware of which path you are following and make your decisions for the long term. Even when anger is appropriate its display is often counter-productive. Control enables you to maintain equanimity in the face of many stresses, with a myriad of techniques to relieve the tension later.

Humor is one of the best tools for dealing with stress, and it creates a reservoir of buoyant spirits for future difficulties. Humor is also the trait for re-affirming the humanity of the almost isolated Warrior, and makes tolerable the tragedies of human existence. Irony is perhaps the highest form of humor for it touches on fate. This does not make it inherently funnier. Perception takes many forms: understanding of self; of others; of situations; of actions. It is the first step towards control. Humor and perception combined make the mort powerful of tools for human development.

Love is the single concept which overshadows all others in the development and life of the Warrior. Without it, despite developing all of the other traits, you can never achieve full development. Love of self; of others; of combat; of truth; of honor; but above all: LOVE. It is very hard to believe in a higher ideal without believing in yourself. It is not necessary to love, or even like, everyone, but to not love anyone dooms you to a tragic and boring existence, definitive in its futility. Love is that which makes all ideals possible. It is one of the few things that the more you give away the more you have to share.

The occupation of the Warrior with violence and death does not mean that he does not appreciate the fine things in life. His sharpened awareness, brought on by that occupation, enables him to appreciate life like few others. The discipline and control inherent in the building of a Warrior make it possible for him to succeed in any endeavor. The Way of the Warrior is a path of knowledge, and it is different for every seeker.

Preface  Aphorisms  The Warrior  Women Warriors  Love  Duty  Death & Suffering  Assurance  Learning  Absorb What is Useful  Knighthood  Reading List 
Copyright 2000 by Gregory R. Gagnon