A New Agoge Part 2

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.


Photo by Thomas Xu
Photo by Thomas Xu

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?

Contained within it are mats like you’d find in a wrestling school or karate dojo, a classroom-like area with desks and a dry erase board, punching bags and dummies, a corner loaded with strength training equipment, and shelves piled with equipment for sparring and other training.

You’re greeted by the head dad, someone who has been chosen to manage this facility, and he asks how you found out about the building.  The place doesn’t advertise, just word of mouth.  They even joke that the first rule of this place is “you do not talk about fight school.”

He takes you on a tour and tells you about the various areas they teach, admitting it’s limited.  He explains how each father offers an area of teaching, something he knows that he can pass along to all of the boys in exchange for others teaching his boy things he doesn’t know.  One father is an attorney, and he teaches on “use of force” laws and when it’s legal to defend yourself on the streets.  Another is a wrestling coach, so he teaches wrestling to all the boys.  Still another is a police officer, so he acts as their firearms instructor.  However, one father doesn’t have anything to teach, so he helps out with various classes as a general flunky and learns himself.

Sounds interesting?

The model for this is from some homeschool groups I’ve encountered where each parent steps in and teaches a class, something in line with their expertise.  This way, no one parent is trying to be an expert in everything.

Now, this is an almost Utopian version of what I’d love to see.  It’s the best case scenario for me because a large number of boys will be educated in the combat arts–both armed and unarmed, I might add–at once.  They can then take it with them and pass it on to their children, possibly by bonding with other parents and forming agoges.

The lack of advertising is key, however.

If a facility starts advertising, it’ll attract people who are just looking for an activity for their kids.  If that happens, you’re likely to find a number of parents suddenly upset that boys are being taught how to hunt down an intruder in their home or to break another person’s arm.  There are some people just so absolutely oblivious to the realities of the world that they can see any legitimate reason to teach your kids these skills.

Some people want their kids involved in stuff, often to counter the natural child tendency to play video games all afternoon, but when they find out this is about actual violence…well, they can’t handle that.These are the parents who enroll their kids in karate schools, only to try and force the schools to become kata only, no sparring schools.  Heaven forbid their precious babies ever be expose to

These are the parents who enroll their kids in karate schools, only to try and force the schools to become kata only, no sparring schools.  Heaven forbid their precious babies ever be expose to violence. *GASP!*

The new agoge shouldn’t be a business, in part because a business has to please its customers and it needs lots of them.  Instead, they should be non-profit co-ops, with each father having a vested interest in the facility and the training taking place.

However, I will point out that I don’t think mothers should necessarily be excluded from allowing their children to participate.  Single mothers are often desperate for positive male role models.  The agoge can provide those.

It’s important that such mothers not be permitted to interfere with the training that takes place at the agoge.  Not all will, but a handful may want to “feminize” the training.  “Do they really have to hit each other?” she might ask about a sparring session.  Yes.  Yes they do.  Few men have become men without being punched in the face.

Of course, there are plenty of men you need to be wary of in such circumstances.

This is another reason why word of mouth should be used.  This permits the parents of the agoge to be selective in who can even know about the agoge.  Anyone who insists that violence never solves anything?  Ignore them.  By contrast, someone who complains about schools and their zero tolerance policies?  That’s someone to speak with and see.

Realistically, I don’t see agoges popping up anywhere overnight.  I’ll probably never see these in my lifetime.  Unfortunately, we need them and we need them now.  Not 40 years from now.

Unfortunately, the world is so hostile to the idea of children who can do violence.  Someone will invariably complain about child soldiers or some other nonsense, but the reality is that the world is full of people who will do violence to your children that it benefits them to be ready to do violence in order to protect themselves.

The sad part about the real world is that such a thing is a reality that will never go away as they age.



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.