This bit of Martial Monday wisdom brought to you by a woman who almost ran into a deer. Don't do that.
This Martial Monday vlog is an explanation about the meaning of my sign off "Live in the battleground." This is a true warrior phrase that has been used for centuries and is a phrase you should consider adopting for your own life.
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” - Osho
There is a powerful illusion that nearly all of us believe to be reality. It is something very close to home. It is something that literally billions and billions of marketing dollars are spent on each year to get us to continue believing in it. What is this illusion?
It is the illusion of possession. What I am about to say may upset some people and irritate others. If this is you, know that I do not apologize for what I am about to say. As a warrior, I speak my mind and I share the truth. I do this out of respect for you. I care enough about you to give it to you straight. I also care enough about my own internal integrity to give it to you straight. Disclaimer aside, here it is: You do not own or possess a thing. Not one thing. Not even yourself. Did you create yourself? Did you choose your parents? Your country of origin? Your skin color? No. If you are not the creator of yourself, you are not the owner of yourself.
Did you create your shoes, car, computer or purse? No. Did you create the money you earn? No. Therefore, they are not yours. You do not own them. You do not possess them. It is all an illusion. You are told everyday by countless marketing ads to become the "possessor" of a new trinket, a new widget, or even a new person. Did you create other people? Did you create your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, siblings? No. Therefore, you do not possess them and you shouldn't want to.
Coming to the realization you do not own or possess anything is immensely liberating. It is something I must remind myself everyday because it is so easy to fall back in love with the illusion. But always remember it is just that, an illusion.
You are the possessor of your own thoughts, actions, choices and decisions. That is about it. Even those you only have due to already being given a soul and a body. Warriors have long accepted this notion that they do not own anything as a way to avoid being swallowed up by the world; as a way to continually focus on their purpose. It allows you to maintain your integrity, honor, and standards.
This viewpoint is highly practical in nature and is not merely philosophical. Think about it. If a billionaire let you borrow his Lamborghini while he was on vacation, how would you treat it? Would you throw empty McDonald's bags in the passenger seat? Would you toss your muddy shoes across the seat onto the floor? No. You would treat it with the utmost care and respect. Why? Because it doesn't belong to you. You are free from the illusion of possession in that scenario, so you treat it with great care and respect.
Warrior's apply this to everything. If I do not own my body, but instead believe the Creator owns it, how much better will I treat it? If I view other human beings as someone owned by the Creator, then how much better will I treat the Creator's "property"? If I view even my own mind as not my own, how much more carefully will I guard the entrance to my mind to prevent it from being contaminated with foul things? If I have been entrusted to take care of myself at the request of the true owner (the Creator) how much better will I treat myself?
Similarly, how will I be able to handle rejection if I realize that I do not own anything? How much better will I handle loss of property, wealth, health and even the deaths of loved ones? If all those things were never mine to begin with, I will not be devastated. I will better understand their true nature and I will have savored the time I did have with them all the more.
Realize warriors that everything around you is owned by God, the Creator, and you are merely being loaned or entrusted with certain things of His. This will humble you, decrease your vanity and crush your pride. Because you will realize it isn't you. God owns it all, you are merely a steward, a guardian, a protector of the gifts and things of God.
You own nothing warriors. You possess nothing that was not given you by God, the Creator. If you choose to accept this, you will be able to handle loss in ways you never imagined. You will take better care of yourself, you will treat others better, you will love more, stress less, and you will finally see reality as it is.
As a side note: even if you don't believe God exists, you should act as if you don't own anything regardless. It will still enable you to treat yourself and others better if you believe you don't own or possess things.
Break free from the illusion. Cast off your need and desire for ownership and possession. How can you do this? Accept reality. Accept that you are not in control and never were. Accept the truth that warriors all throughout history have accepted: Possession is an illusion.
Live in the battleground,
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Martial Monday Vlog. Live in the battleground Warriors.
Today's Warrior Wednesday blog might ruffle a few feathers but I've never been known to shy away from that. If the truth "ruffles your feathers" then you are in the wrong place. I'm going to share 3 pervasive self-defense myths that most of you will probably have heard before. The problem with these myths is that they can actually cause you harm rather than work to your benefit. Let's dive in.
Myth number 1: Place your keys between your fingers so when you punch your attacker, you punch them with your keys.
Whoever started this myth obviously never applied it in real situations against committed attackers. The problems with this myth are many. For starters, when will you ever have time to place all your keys in between your fingers once attacked? You would have to prep by placing them in between before you were attacked because it will not happen once the fight is on.
Second, how natural is it to have the keys between all your fingers? Is this something you have ever trained? Have you ever actually punched anything while in this position just to test it out? Don't do it because the keys can slide back into your own hand causing major tissue and tendon damage if you punch too hard. What ways are the sharp sides of the keys facing? Likely, some will be towards your hand and some will be away.
Whenever I speak with people, I am amazed that I continue to hear this bit of advice still being touted as "conventional wisdom." This piece of advice is from charlatans who never actually applied it. If you want to trust your protection to unproven, untested and potentially harmful techniques such as this, that is your affair. My "advice", avoid this like the plague.
Myth number 2: The answer to all male aggressor encounters is to "knee 'im in the groin"
While this seems like good advice, it is not for several reasons. For starters, in combat and fighting, few things are certain other than chaos. Therefore, giving blanket advice is rarely a good thing. Telling people (especially women) that "kneein' 'im in the groin" will always work is a lie. It won't always work. Many times, your attacker is attacking you because they are under the influence of powerful drugs and/or alcohol. This can make many attackers very resilient to groin pain. Oh they'll feel that groin shot in the morning once their body has purged itself of the chemicals, but in the moment they may just laugh.
Again, real warriors look to the battleground for their "advice" and "conventional wisdom", not the opinions of wannabe's who have tested nothing. Real police encounters have occurred where men hyped up on drugs have taken point-blank, full power billy clubs to the groin and continued fighting as if nothing had happened.
Kneeing a man in the groin is not bad advice in and of itself as long as it not shared in a "this is the magic technique that will end all male aggressor encounters with no questions asked." It won't and there is no magic technique. If you want proof that nothing is for certain, Google some images of things people have survived being stabbed with and impaled with. It is grisly but people have survived hunting knives being plunged into their head, car accident victims have survived having their lower half completely severed by a pole or fence, etc. The human body can take enormous punishment especially when on drugs or in similarly altered states.
In summary, the groin is a great target to impact but do not assume that just because you hit them there one time that the fight will magically be over. Continue fighting until the threat is neutralized.
Myth number 3: Your height and weight are the most relevant factors in a fight.
I hear this myth a lot, especially from women but this applies to men as well. At first glance, me fighting John Cena or The Rock would seem to have me over-matched. They outweigh me by a lot and are at least 5 inches taller. I don't see it that way however and you shouldn't either. Impacting the appropriate targets will bring down anyone no matter how much smaller you are.
Your attitude is always one of survival, no matter how daunting the enemy. This resolve and total commitment to staying alive can sometimes stop a fight before it begins because other people can sense that determination and resolve. I am not sure how we do that or what exact signals we are picking up on (body language, chemical emissions) but we all know that we can do it and that we can perceive it in others.
One analogy we (myself and my colleagues) use is the 5 pound cat analogy. Have you ever tried to pick up or hold onto a cat that didn't want you to do that? A 300 pound WWE wrestler cannot hang on to a 5 pound cat that doesn't want to be held. Why not? He outweighs the thing by 295 pounds. Answer: the cat makes him miserable. It starts clawing, biting, writhing, flipping, climbing, and hissing like the devil possessed it, forcing you to drop it and let go. You need to visualize yourself as that 5 pound cat when cornered. When all the other options have failed, become the 5 pound cat. The cat isn't intimidated by the wrestler's size or weight, it just does what it does. It would do the same to a 5 year old child. It doesn't care about the person, it just deploys it's weapons until it is let go.
In conclusion, don't ever lace your keys in between your fingers, kneeing someone in the groin is not a magic bullet, and you are never too small to protect yourself.
As always, live in the battleground warriors.
Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength." - St. Frances de Sales
Welcome to another Martial Monday fellow warriors. Let's dive in.
The quote by St. Frances de Sales is not something that is encouraged very much these days. Especially for men. We are told that in order to be strong, you must be dominant, a lone-wolf, and maybe even harsh, unforgiving, and stoic. Life is unforgiving and harsh right? It is. But that is precisely why we must balance it out with gentleness. The myth of gentleness is that one is weak if one is gentle. The opposite is actually true. One possesses great strength if one is gentle.
I am by no means saying that one is timid if one is gentle. Far from it. This is a lie you have been told so that you will not be gentle. Because the truth is, those people who fed you that lie, they don't want you to achieve true personal power. You can begin to acquire this power when you possess BOTH capabilities viz. the capabilities to be gentle and aggressive. To be able to dominate and submit. Only being aggressive will cause you to damage everything and everyone you interact with. Only being submissive will cause you to be trampled on and taken advantage of by everyone and everything. Life calls for both. There are times when one or the other is appropriate. As a warrior, I am concerned with doing what is appropriate for the given circumstance and situation not in being a certain way all the time.
In the ultimate scenario, warriors do this all the time. What level of violence do I use to meet this particular threat? Does this threat even warrant me using violence? We must decide then how to act and what to do with grave consequences on the line should we choose poorly. These ultimate extreme moments often call for violence to be met with superior violence and resolve. This is what protectors and warriors have committed to doing should the need present itself.
However, they have also committed to being gentle and kind when appropriate. Because the warrior is a servant. They will do whatever it takes to keep their loved ones, their team safe. If that means being violent, they do it. If that means protecting the feelings and emotions of another by being gentle and kind, they do it. They can walk in both worlds and do so regularly.
I want to stress the point that true warriors know how to be gentle. They understand that to be gentle is to be strong, not to be a panzi. One of my mentors is by far the toughest, most powerful man I know. He has a command presence unlike any I've ever seen. And yet, when I saw him interact with his two greyhound dogs, he was kind to them, gentle and sensitive to the fact that they were rescues and could be spooked easily due to their abusive past. This is a man who is without question one of the most lethal men on the planet, and he was soft and kind to his animals. This is a true warrior. Someone who understands the power and strength that comes from being gentle where appropriate and devastatingly violent when appropriate.
I look to men like him as examples for myself that being gentle and kind isn't weakness. It isn't cowardly. It is in fact many times, the more difficult path to take. Many times, it would be "easier" to just smack someone who annoyed you. But that would not be the right thing to do. It is difficult to show gentleness and kindness to an antagonist but that is precisely why warriors choose it. It builds our character and forges us into men and women of discipline, honor and integrity.
I challenge you to view gentleness in a different light. Do not be passive when the situation calls for action however, do not be aggressive when the situation calls for gentleness. Demonstrate true strength by being able to do both. Claim true personal power for yourself by being able to walk in both worlds.
Live in the battleground dear warriors,
This is my first Vlog. This idea came to me based on the events of the day and I wanted to share it with you.
Live in the battleground,
If you want peace, prepare for war." - Vegetius
Greetings, and welcome to the ATM (All Thoughts Martial) blog for another Warrior Wednesday. Let's dive in.
This quote by Vegetius is not necessarily a popular one. Many prefer to believe that war and being prepared for it isn't necessary to a peaceful society. I know if you are reading this however, you are not one of those people. You understand that peace, freedom and tranquility must be fought for and never comes free.
What I really want to address however is the notion of preparedness. Warriors are perhaps the most prepared people on the planet. They understand that in order to effectively prevent and combat violence, the one most prepared will usually win the day.
What does preparation look like? It begins by casting off denial and facing reality. Bad things happen to good people and violence can be done to you or anyone else you know. This is a fact and your denial of it will only serve to get you injured or possibly killed should you be faced with a threat.
Once denial is thrown aside you will begin to ask the right questions. Questions like "Would I be able to stop a deadly threat if it presented itself?" "Am I physically fit enough in order to fight if necessary?" "How can I prevent violence in the first place because I really don't want to have to hurt anybody?" These are all good questions and only those who face reality will have the courage to ask them of themselves.
Next, if you are honest with yourself, you will begin "preparing for war." War within your own environment and community. Everyone's preparation is different and you must do what you are comfortable doing. If you are averse to firearms, don't carry one. If you only want to be skilled in First Aid but don't want to be the front line combatant, that's ok too. Just understand that each choice you make comes with it's own consequences, good or bad.
If you aren't sure where to begin in your preparation, I would offer this up to you: get professional grade, martial training. There is no substitute for being able to physically fight if you need it. Get the training now, well before you are ever faced with a deadly threat. It is preventative in nature. The nation that prepares best for war is less likely to be attacked. Thereby creating a paradox where the most prepared for war end up fighting the least. This is the goal of the warrior. To be so prepared that no enemy even dares to attack, thereby preventing all violence in the first place.
This is obviously a Utopian goal, but I'd rather aim high and just miss that goal than aim super low and achieve it.
Prepare for your moment of truth now. You will not be able to rewind the clock once the threat is upon you. Train now, prepare now, and fortify your mind, body and spirit for war.
When your own heart asks, how will you respond?" - Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Book of the Samurai
Greetings warriors and welcome to the Martial Monday blog for this week. Let's dive in.
I put today's quote to you: When your own heart asks, how will you respond? Seriously, how will you respond? Warriors know that internal consistency is more important and valuable than any external reward. When a warrior's heart asks, he/she wants to be able to respond honestly and truthfully. The ability to answer one's own heart honestly is truly priceless. Why is it then that you ignore your heart's own questions? It is because you have been sold a lie. A very powerful, seductive and insidious lie. It is so subtle that you are perhaps completely unaware of it. It is the lie that you can have the life you desire without actually being the person necessary to acquire that life.
What exactly do I mean? I am talking about a distinction that was made years ago by Steven Covey (and undoubtedly dozens of others) in his iconic work, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is the difference between the Personality Ethic (PE) and the Character Ethic (CE). PE focuses on how to get what you want without actually being the person necessary to get those things. PE is externally focused and does not focus on your character or who you are. CE is the opposite. It focuses on your character and the person YOU ARE and who you are becoming. It is the CE that will respond truthfully and honestly to it's heart because it focuses precisely on its heart. PE does not ask "Am I ok with the person I am and becoming?" CE does.
Essentially, PE is the lie that you can have your cake and eat it too. You can have all the things you ever wanted without actually having to become the person it would take to get those things. Warriors know this is a lie. This is why attributes like integrity, gratitude, honor, chivalry, and etiquette were and still are staples of warrior culture. Because warriors know that the person you are is far more important than the things you can acquire. Long-term success and happiness is only possible if you can answer your own heart honestly when it beckons you, when it questions you. This internal consistency is not something you can simply purchase, download, or pick up at the local Wal-Mart. It takes constant self-sharpening, brutal honesty, discipline and many daily sacrifices.
Focus more on who you are and who you want to become than on how to create the perception that you are this or that. Look inward at your own character instead of outward at everything else. Stop believing the lie that you can have it all without paying anything for it. You can't. If you want to truly live the life you desire, you must gain internal consistency. "When your own heart asks, how will you respond?"
Live in the battleground,
Welcome to the Anatomy of a Warrior Blog!
National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.