This is the logo I use to represent what I do in the martial arts, and my current ethos regarding my lifestyle.
The word warrior is used to describe many kinds of peoples in many different cultures. In the past, warriors usually referred to people skilled in violence of some sort, often these people were the ones willing to put themselves in mortal danger to protect the ones they love, and threaten the enemies of the tribe, people or culture. However self sacrifice for the greater good is not a defining feature of being a warrior. Nor does violence or the skill of violence seem to be the defining feature of being a warrior.
Many thugs, villains and wicked men and women are skilled in violence but are not warriors.
IMHO there is one thing that defines being a warrior, but it is not a pure thing, it is an alloy. An amalgamation of several virtues. They are as follows:
1: Strength – Warriors are always strong. This strength can be physical, mental, or some other kind of strength. They may be the fastest, the smartest, the most cunning, or simply robust and able to move large masses with ease. Whats more, a warrior never really rests on his or her laurels with regard to strength, they are always striving to be stronger, better, faster… Etc.
If one has enough strength, they can learn courage.
2: Courage – Warriors are always courageous. That doesn’t mean fearless. Being fearless may be an advantage in a lot of things, but being fearless robs someone of the struggle to have courage. Those who overcome fear and do a thing in spite of that fear deserve many orders of magnitude more respect than those who have no fear and charge ahead. A Warrior is constantly seeking ways to push their boundaries, to get out of their comfort zone and face any fear they have and defeat it.
If one has enough courage, they can learn wisdom.
3: Wisdom – This often eludes warriors, as warriors are prone to be physical, and emotional beings that respond with violence or brute force. However, many cultures have valued the WISE warrior above all, and so a true warrior seeks wisdom. A true warrior trains their body and their mind but also their spirit and seeks experience that expands their understanding of life and their own place in it. To this end they challenge themselves to have new experiences, new challenges, and are not afraid to explore things introspectively.
So what do all these ingredients have in common?
The struggle to improve and refine themselves. Warriors, TRUE warriors, seek victory, are often remembered for what they have accomplished. However, they are DEFINED by their struggle.
To be fair, all humans suffer and struggle, but a warrior embraces the struggle in a unique kind of way. Their struggles are ALWAYS geared toward self betterment.
What do they gain by this struggle?
With Wisdom, Strength and Courage comes perseverance. Perseverance is the most useful thing for a warrior, the ability to persevere and go on in the face of adversity and pain. Suffering is the greatest enemy of the warrior, and perseverance can all but eliminate it’s effects. To withstand suffering, one must be wise enough to know suffering is a part of life, with strength they can overcome it, and with courage they can face it. Thus, when all three (wisdom, strength and courage combine) it leads to perseverance.
With Perseverance, courage, and wisdom becomes enlightenment. If someone perseveres long enough, and has the courage to face and accept the truth, and the wisdom to recognize it (truth) when they discover it (especially when it is dangerous to their ego) they gain Enlightenment.
With With Enlightenment, Wisdom and Strength becomes humility. If someone is enlightened, they realize and understand the grandeur of the universe and their place in it, and it is humbling. It is no longer nescessary to overcompensate and or prove to others ones superiority in all things. Instead the individual knows their place in the universe, and seeks to be in harmony with it. This means humility.
When someone is able to persevere, enlightened, and humble… there is true balance and harmony.
Whether the warrior knows it or not, this is the true challenge they face. When they seek to perfect their skill at violence, perfect their body, or their mind… they are really seeking balance and harmony with existence. Very few people ever come even close to this… those who have, are likely the source of most religions and legendary holy men throughout history.
A common misconception is that a warrior is always a soldier, or someone who lives by the sword so to speak.
While it is true that many soldiers are warriors, Not all warriors are soldiers, and indeed, not all soldiers are warriors.
What about honor? Isn’t that what it means to be a warrior?
A warrior isn’t unique in the world when it comes to honor. Every culture has it’s concept of honor. Every subculture too has it’s sense of honor.
Thieves often have a code of honor, children on the school field have a code of honor, everyone has a concept or code of honor. So it should come as no shock when warriors have their own code of honor.
So honor isn’t a unique or even defining characteristic of being a warrior. There have been MANY dishonorable warriors throughout history.
Cheaters, liars, murderers.
It might feel good to deny them the definition of warriors, but it is not correct to do so.
One can be an HONORABLE warrior, or a Dishonorable one…
Obviously being honorable is preferred, and indeed, most cultures assign the same code of honor to their warriors, despite huge differences in culture between them and others.
So does this mean honor has no place?
To the contrary, Honor is very important because without a code of honor, most warriors have no measure of worth and progression. They NEED the challenge of honor to help motivate them to refine and improve themselves.
I personally love the 9 noble virtues of Norse tradition:
Notice how every single one of these makes life HARDER? Creates a CHALLENGE?
Indeed, NONE of these virtues makes life easier, if anything, it makes life harder!
Remember a Warrior is NOT defined by what they accomplish, but rather by the struggle, the odds they face to accomplish anything.
This is why I designed the logo the way I did… The eternal struggle of a warrior is easily shown with the image of a triangle and a ring interwoven, each influencing the other, leading to balance through eternal struggle and self discovery.
If you agree, feel free to adopt this logo, replace the text below it with anything you wish (the name of your school whatever), or just share this as it is. Make sure you share this post explaining it.
Thank you for your time!
– Daniel Laughingbird