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.
I was talking with a friend yesterday when they asked, “Dude, what is up with this preoccupation with violence? I thought you were running a blog on being manly and stuff, not some ‘warrior’ blog.”
It’s a fair question.
After all, I do spend a fair bit of time talking about violence as well as sharing information I find on how to administer it to the deserving. I’ve spent a lot more time on that than probably any other subject thus far.
In Part 1 of this series, I outlined various things a father can do to prepare his son to be effective in protecting himself and his family in later years. After all, knowledge is power.
However, no man is an expert in everything. He is either an expert in a handful of things or, like me, someone who knows some on a great many topics but can’t truly be called an expert in anything.
Either way, there’s holes in any man’s knowledge, and it’s virtually impossible not to pass those along to your son. That’s not a good thing, obviously.
Imagine, if you will, a building; maybe it’s an old barn or a warehouse, but it’s fairly isolated and relatively empty. You step through the door with your son the first time, and what do you see? Continue reading “A New Agoge Part 2”
Spartan boys, when they reached a certain age, were pried from their mothers and put into a special state-run school called “the agoge” where they were taught to be warriors. It almost had to be state-run because few parents would subject their children to such brutality.
By the time they were finished, they were Spartan warriors, and ready to defend their city from any attacker.
Today, most of us put our children in state-run schools as well…and the results aren’t anything like the agoge. In fact, they may well be the opposite of the agoge in many ways. While the Spartan school sought to turn boys into men, in many ways public education seeks to turn boys into girls. Continue reading “A New Agoge: Part 1”
A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about resurrecting honor. Unlike most posts here, this one took off and blew up thanks to a link from Instapundit. It also spawned some interesting discussions on Facebook. Since that first post was never intended to be all encompassing–it’s not a subject you can write about in a thousand words and call it done–it may be worth a second look at honor based on those discussions.
You see, several people argued that honor is intimately tied to the idea of duty. They have a point.
Honor is, in part, based on how one performs his duty. It doesn’t matter what that duty is, what matters is how you perform it. The janitor who takes care in cleaning the building has infinitely more honor than the CEO who just uses his job for the perks while he’s running the company into the ground. Continue reading “Honor and Duty”
Once upon a time, honor mattered. It was universal and vital for men to maintain their honor. People were actually killed in an effort to defend it…though it’s not all bad. Some killed by men defending their honor got hit musicals made about them, so there was an upside apparently.
Today, honor is just one of those things people don’t think much about. A handful of people still do, but society as a whole seem to think of honor as a quaint relic of a bygone era.
Once people stopped holding their honor as sacred, the world began a nasty descent into what it has become today. Men and women both view relationships, even marriage, as temporary arrangements and get married only for tax benefits or to be on one another’s insurance, nothing more. So-called “protestors” initiate violence regularly. Alleged leaders defend a would-be killer and excoriate the police officer who ended the threat.
The truth is, men fight. Maybe not for fun, but every person I know of that meets the definition of “man” I’ve laid out has been in at least one fight in their lives. When you think about it, it’s inevitable.
However, if you’re someone raised in the “conflict is bad” era, you may not know how to correctly throw punches.
If you’re one of those, no judgment here. You’re at least wanting to learn how to throw down if you ever need to, so here’s a video I came across that might help. Please excuse the hamhanded attempts at advertising, because the information is pretty good.
These are just two punches, and there are plenty of them, but it’s a good start. Learn these two correctly and practice them regularly, and you’ll be well ahead of the curve if you find yourself in a fight. Continue reading “The Basics of Punching”
I’m not talking about guys making sure they’re well groomed or well dressed. That’s one of those things each guy should determine for themselves. Personally, I appreciate sharp clothes and all that, though I’m more likely to be dressed like a slob most of the time, so who am I to judge?
What I’m talking about is whether a man should be worried about the aesthetics of his physique or not.
Lord knows that my physique isn’t much to look at, though my wife seems to enjoy the view well enough. However, what about in general? That’s the question that strength trainer Mark Rippetoe answered in this podcast I came across a few days ago. It’s kind of long, and takes a couple minutes to really get rolling, but please bear with it:
Of particular interest was where Rippetoe makes a hell of a point about aesthetics when he points out that your six-pack abs won’t impress anyone unless they see it, but if you’re muscular overall, even if you have a bit of a gut, they’ll still know you put in the work.
What that means that if you’re like two-thirds of all Americans, you may still need to lose a few pounds, but the rippling six-pack may not be the best way to spend your gym time.
Mark and the host, Mike Matthews, have a hell of an interesting discussion regarding the issue and it’s well worth your time to watch and learn.
A man is often judged by his strength. A physically weak man is often judged as being less of a man. A physically strong man is judged as being more of a man. This is a simple fact and isn’t really open for discussion.
Whether this is right or wrong is irrelevant. It is what it is, and as men, it behooves us to understand just why that’s the case.
It goes back to the days when physical strength was an essential skill. You needed it to carry more firewood or more of an animal’s carcass. Even today, we still valued strength because a strong man is always more useful than a weak one. After all, a strong man can still pick flowers, but a weak man can’t pick up his end of a massive log.
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.
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. Continue reading “Cultivating The Warrior Mind”
“Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” — Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard is best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian, but this quote from him may be my most favorite thing from him.
You see, he’s right.
Take a look around you for a moment. The world is filled with people being discourteous to others for any number of reasons. Just yesterday I watched a video of a student group being besieged for an hour by their political opponents, belittled and accused, told they don’t belong in their college because they’re not liberals.
The whole thing wasn’t a pleasant experience for those surrounded, I’m sure, but what if there had been repercussions for that act? What if these special snowflakes had been forced to deal with real violence for their discourteous behavior? What would they have done then? Continue reading “On Civilized Men And Ruthless Savages”