Yesterday, I mentioned the term “warrior archetype” and said I’d get into it later. Well, it’s later.
First, let’s get into what a warrior archetype is, then we can talk about how you use it to reach your goals, be they fitness or other.
In my mind, a warrior archetype is a model of the warriors from a warrior culture in history whose lifestyle you find complimentary to your goals and ideals.
For example, I’m someone who values strength. However, I also want to do a better job of keeping my word, holding trust with those I love, protecting my honor, and being more hospitable and gracious to guests. These are all things that were present in the Norse culture. Vikings, basically.
Because of that, I’m basically using all of that as a way to guide not just my training but also how I work to be a better man.
The thing is, I recognize that’s not what everyone wants out of life. It’s easy for me to throw up something like the Warrior Pyramid and say, “This is the path. Follow it.” It’s another to know just what in the hell any of that crap means.
But by taking an archetype, I have an idea.
For me, it means building my strength first but also spending a good bit of time on fight training. I may not be using an axe to battle enemies, but a good fight has its place in my life.
Now, realistically, I’m not going into battle (most likely) but I can use that to guide me and my training. The “good fight” can be sparring, BJJ rolling, or whatever. The specifics don’t really matter.
Yet for you, that archetype may not work. Maybe you want to be a knight. You want to learn how to fight with a sword and study historical unarmed combat skills like catch wrestling or boxing. Perhaps you see it as your mission to return simple courtesy to the world and you want to start with yourself.
Well, then. You’re a knight.
Or what if you are fascinated with the code of Bushido and Japanese martial arts? Then you should look at other things the samurai were educated in and consider following that path.
The key here is to focus on the positive aspects of these warrior archetypes and seek to emulate them, but you should expressly avoid the negative. For example, the Vikings were notoriously hard drinkers and alcoholism runs in my family. Um…no thanks.
Yet that’s just an example.
Realistically, it could be anything that you fancy, though I suspect I’ll cook up a handful of archetypes just to help folks who don’t have any preconceived notions on the topic.
Now, this isn’t something I completely cooked up on my own. Well, I kind of did, but after I did some thinking on it, I remembered reading this over at Nerd Fitness. It’s kind of similar. Basically, you use your goals to pick a “class.”
The thing is, I don’t actually like the choices. A warrior who doesn’t actually train in how to fight? Um, no thanks.
That said, this approach seems to work. A lot of people are using it to achieve their goals apparently, so it does seem like a viable idea.
But what if we stop playing and recognize that bad things can happen, so being ready for those bad things should be a priority? What if we add that to the idea that we need to get healthy and strong and become something more?
Now couple that with the idea that there’s more to life than training, that we can become better people as well by following the lead of those who came before.
So, I’m a Viking. Because I’m a writer, I like to think of myself as a skald, a Viking warrior-poet. It encompasses who I am and who I want to be.
Other options include:
- Samurai – Strong interest in Japanese martial arts including swordsmanship and archery, deep desire for an honor code to follow, as well as a desire to share the samurai’s affection for literature and history.
- Knight – Focused on Historical European Martial Arts and horsemanship, they also have a strong desire to follow the Code of Chivalry, updated to the modern day, of course.
- Spartan – The consummate warrior. This is someone who is born and bred for battle. They’re most likely interested in a military career and will stay until they’re forced to retire. They’re lean, strong, and deadly.
- Legionnaire – The Roman soldiers were professional, but they were often only there for a while. They would then leave the army and pursue other things such as family and home. This is for the Spartan who also wants a home life.
- Templar – a knight with a strong devotion to his faith. He spends much of his time either training, praying, or contemplating.
- Warrior Scholar – while not so much a culture, the warrior scholar appeared in numerous time period, but perhaps most famously in Greece. Most of the philosophers you’ve heard of had served in the army. Plato, apparently, was a hell of a wrestler actually. These are people who value the mind and the sword arm.
- Warrior Poet – Those who train for war, but also have an artistic side such as writing. While being an actual poet is awesome, it’s not truly required to fill the archetype. Singers, writers, and even visual artists could be someone who balances the call of the warrior with the call to create.
These are just a few I’ve come up with, and I suspect I’ll come up with plenty more.
I honestly don’t know if this will help anyone, but I’m giving it a try and it’s a hell of a way to get me off my butt to workout when I don’t really want to. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
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