November 25, 2010

Warriorship of the Ring

Warriorship isn’t just an individual path we choose for self-enlightenment, it’s also something we share with each other, much like friendship and fellowship. Warriorship is that bonding - part of the ‘group ethic’ - we experience when we train together, sharing adversity while trying to understand this inscrutable martial art.

Recently, we had several gatherings that highlighted this ring of warriorship. Our annual Gasshuku was in October and we also had a couple of trainings last week with our friend and mentor, Jack Hoban.

Warriorship is nothing less than the search for values. If we ask ourselves “why do we train?” we’ll discover it is the same as asking “why is it important enough for us to train and keep training?” Warrior values are moral-physical – ethical - and unless we can see them both philosophically and physically encoded into the art, how can we ever comprehend its higher principles or the potential they hold for us?

“To me, a warrior is a protector of other people at the risk of his own life. But what they do that other protectors – like firemen - do not, is kill to protect life - this oxymoronic thing that actually undermines this feeling of nobility from defending others. Yes, I did protect others. Yes, I did protect life, but I had to take life in order to do it. This is an added burden. They almost cancel each other out. And that’s why people get sick from it. And you’ll surely get sick if you do it from the wrong mental perspective, out of anger or fear or prejudice or disrespect or dehumanization – you’ll get real sick. But even if you don’t, it’s still very, very difficult. And that’s why a warrior to me is the epitome of human endeavor because even though they protect humankind’s most important value, life, they may have to take it which is almost … so dangerous to you … that it can’t be overlooked.” 
~ Jack Hoban