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The Warrior Spirit


The warrior sprit is more important than any technique or style of combat training! Please read that again. An attacker can notice this state of mind while they are debating whether or not to pick you as a victim. In addition, even if they have picked you, they may change their mind if they see that you are willing to die if necessary to defend yourself. This state of mind in not automatically passed on to us through Martial Arts training. Just as the ability to make the techniques you have learned work for real. It is imperative for anyone who wishes to prevail in combat to cultivate this state of mind.


What is the warrior mindset you may ask? Here is an example:


Many women have successfully defended themselves against considerable odds because of their ability to focus on what needed to be done without hesitation, or being inhibited by the likely hood they would be killed if they failed to stop their attackers. In contrast, many woman have been killed or raped that have had lesser odds stacked against them. All of these women were totally out-matched as to the physical size, strength, and ability of their attackers to injure, rape, or kill them. Additionally, these women had no martial arts training at all. How can this be that some successfully defended themselves and some could not? The only thing it can be is their determination to injure or kill this person in any way possible without emotion. There was nothing else in their minds other than hurting their attacker to save their own lives. Not, if I am nice maybe he will let me live, I cannot harm someone else, maybe God will send someone to help me, why me, etc.  In every case I have studied, these women have planned, even if just mentally for this possible scenario ahead of time. How does this differ from self-defense training in the Dojo? Most martial artists start practicing a specific technique by having their partner come up and attack them. They know they will be attacked, who will attack them, what techniques they are going to perform, etc. This is fine for learning the principles of a given technique and to gain proficiency. However, these techniques (even if valid and practiced to a high level of proficiency) will not work under the stress of real combat without the proper warrior spirit. Most of the necessary skills to survival are actually not physical techniques at all, they are psychological.


One of the first things I believe that needs to be cultivated for this proper warrior mindset is the ability to look at an attacker as not deserving the respect of a human being. Anyone that would try to cause severe physical injury to another should be considered sub human. As brutal as this sounds, it is easier to kill or maim someone if necessary if they are not looked at as a person at all. Why do you think in the military and police they use words like, subject, enemy, perpetrator, insurgents, forces, target, etc? None of these terms sound like they have anything to do with people do they? However, we all know that indeed they are people. It is easier to harm or kill someone if they are made to be less than human. Although not my theory, it does work so I teach it. I realize this does sound atrocious and extreme however, someone that tries to rape or kill you cannot be dealt with in any other way but extreme.  Let me give some advice on this. Students must understand that this only pertains to real self-defense situations and, only when physical defense is the ONLY option. Walking around in daily life with this attitude turned on is NOT what I mean here. The next important factor is to realize that you WILL get hurt even if you are successful in defending yourself. In addition, expect it to be extremely violent and difficult compared to your dojo practice. Furthermore, do not expect everything you try to work like it does in class, or every attacker will come at you like the kata in class. We want no surprises as to what can and will happen in a violent attack. How can you prevail in combat if you do not understand what actually happens in these situations, including how brutal they are, and train accordingly?


Bottom line is this: you must be mentally prepared as well as physically to defend yourself if necessary. The physical ability is usually the only thing taught in Martial Arts schools and is only one fraction of the attributes required for dealing with extremely violent situations. Mentally, you must be ready and willing to do whatever is necessary no matter how extreme, brutal, or unsettling. This should happen automatically when your pre determined criteria are met as to when you think physical action is necessary on your part. Nothing else from that point on should be on your mind except striking down your assailant in any way possible. The training your have endured up until this pivotal moment should flow from you without thought or emotion. In addition, your defensive techniques should have all of the ferociousness of a cornered pit-bull. If you are killed in your valiant effort, so be it! There are many worse deaths for a true warrior than to die in combat.


Jim Barry

Budokai South Defensive Arts Institute

Budokai South Defensive Arts Institute
Minami Budo Ryu
Ju Jitsu / Aiki Jujitsu / Judo / Self Defense
Aiken, SC
Phone: (843) 864-3125
Email: newtobudokai@gmail.com

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