Cultivating The Warrior Mind

Once upon a time, if you had a penis, you were expected to do certain things.  Among those things was to defend your tribe.  Each and every male was expected to earn the title of man and defend their home from invaders.

Men were warriors.

Modern day warriors at work.  Photo by James Brooks
Modern day warriors at work. Photo by James Brooks

As time passed, this idea faded.  As numbers grew, it became less and less important for all men to be warriors and, instead, the responsibility was handed to a select group who prepared for war full-time.   However, in many of these eras, men still had to

However, in many of these eras, men still had to step up and prepare for battle at least some of the team.  Militias were formed to supplement the full-time warriors, which meant at least some had to have a warrior mindset in addition to their duties as farmers, potters, carpenters, etc.

As society became more sophisticated, these other jobs became more and more important.  Today, there is no expectation for an individual to serve in the military on either a full- or part-time basis.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  As a veteran, I can tell you that military service isn’t for everyone.  Personally, I had too much individualism and stubbornness to be a particularly good fit for military life.  I was honorably discharged, but the Navy wasn’t really sad to see me go.

However, the downside of this is that there’s no obligation for men to develop anything akin to a warrior mindset.

Many men feel this.  They know something is wrong, so they seek it out.  They actively look for the activities that may bring them closer to their inner warrior while at the same time preparing them for a hostile world.

The other night, I was watching a documentary on Netflix called Fight Church.  It was about Christian churches with fighting ministries.  These churches use mixed martial arts to try and bring people closer to God.

Of course, trying to provide balance to the piece, the filmmakers included a couple of critics.  One was a priest in New York City who claimed that Christianity was all about love and that fighting was all about hate.  His arguments boiled down to how can you love someone you’re trying to beat the crap out of?

My wife, watching with me, looked at me and said, “He’s got a point.”

I looked at her and said, “Back in my SCA days, I tried to beat the crap out of some of my closest friends with a club.  There was never any hatred there.”

She acknowledged my point, but the priest’s words stuck with me.  Not because they were poignant, or because he had a point, but because it boggles my mind that someone could think such things.

Anyone who spends much time watching MMA will note something.  After a fight, the fighters usually either shake hands or, more often, embrace one another.  There’s a deep respect in the sport.  Hatred, there isn’t.

Of course, ignorant people are ignorant.  It’s just how it goes.

Unfortunately, ignorant people rarely think they’re ignorant.  For example, this priest was actively lobbying to keep professional MMA illegal in the state of New York.  Further, after the attorney general permitted amateur MMA fights to take place, he began lobbying to stop that as well.

Opponents shown in Fight Church argue that violence is violence and that professional MMA will only increase violence in society as a whole.  Of course, that’s total BS since violent crime rates have been decreasing steadily since UFC 1 first aired, but facts rarely matter to people who are running off of emotion.

What people like the priest don’t get–or anyone who thinks violence is always wrong–is that they’re contributing to the wussification of America.

Men, even those who never served, were expected to protect their families.  That expectation often meant they learned to shoot a gun and pound someone’s face in.  Boxing and wrestling were the preferred sports for much of that time, though martial arts rose to be more of a driving force in the 1970’s and such.

Back in those days, it was understood that violence was a rational response to violence.  Even today, most people agree that self-defense is a valid reason to slug it out with someone.

However, those who lobby against MMA competitions are sending a signal.  They’re claiming that even sports violence is immoral, and if the person sending that signal is a priest, his congregation is getting that signal.

Those who compete may or may not be violent people by nature.  However, competition gives them a place to test their skill in a safe and secure environment with rules, judges, a referee, and most importantly, a doctor.  All of these things keep the competitors safe.

Opposing MMA competitions doesn’t stop violence.  It stops controlled, directed, and safe violence.

All of this, however, stops something else.  It stops the warrior mindset from developing for those who buy into such twaddle.  For many, this is a feature, not a bug.  The warrior mindset is something that shouldn’t be cultivated.

This is why, while I was searching for a toy gun when my son was small, we had so much trouble finding any.  My father had used the opportunity of me having toy guys to teach firearms safety, and I wanted to do the same with my son.

Toy guns were damn hard to find, and this was in the Deep South where guns are still generally held to be a sacred right.  The stores, however, had caved to pressure nationally not to carry such “violent” toys and thus no longer stocked them on their shelves as a regular thing.

Those who opposed toy guns, like those who oppose MMA competition, think they’re doing God’s work.  They’re not.  They’re undermining the very nature of men and the results on society will be catastrophic.


When a people devalue warriors to the point that they actively seek to undermine the very nature of those warriors, eventually people will stop seeking it out as a vocation.  Ancient Rome had to import warriors to serve in their armies because citizens didn’t want to do it.

Those same imported warriors eventually went back home…and used those skills against Rome.

What our society needs is for every male who is physically capable to embrace the mantle of the warrior and actively seek out the means to hone it.  For some, that may be military service.  For others, it may be learning to fight.  For others, learning to shoot.

Whatever it is, we need to not just accept it, but applaud it.  Warriors don’t just protect their own, but often will protect anyone in need.  Too many men have put themselves between strangers and harm to say otherwise, and this attitude is what our society desperately needs.

So yes, we should embrace MMA.  We should embrace anything that lets a man hone his inner warrior into razor sharpness.  We need it.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.