“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

Warrior and Religion, pt II (Service)

This installment is not going to deal with religion very much, but it is a continuation of this post.

I would like you to ponder over the following quotation, by “Iron Mike Tyson”:

“The Strong will always dominate the Weak, and the Smart will always dominate the Strong.”

For sure, this is a profound statement from a man that is not known for being intelligent. But he most certainly is a warrior, and he is giving you the reality that someone who was once the strongest, most dangerous man on the planet had come to realize. Because Iron Mike has repeated this saying several times on different occasions, it must be a reality that he lives by. For every man has a master–whether he realizes it or not–and every man is vulnerable to another. Even the mighty warrior, who is powerful and capable of taking another’s life in the blink of an eye, has to answer to someone. Is it not logical that even the strongest, most dangerous of men find a Higher Power to submit to? I am sure that some warriors, capable of snapping the neck of his President, King, Emperor, General, knows that in one brave move he could move mountains in his country–perhaps the world–but some higher purpose or cause prevents him from doing it?

Who could be the master of one so powerful but the Creator of the Heavens and Earth? What is to stop this mighty warrior from killing his leaders and taking political power from all who challenge him?

It happens. And when the warrior takes leadership, rule is out of balance, and we end up with tyrannies. This is why Military Dictatorships and leaders who are all too powerful do not make good leaders. Fighters are not necessarily leaders, although the masses sometimes will follow them to the ends of the Earth because they romanticize the Hero. While men who lead must have the qualities found in soldiers and warriors–like tenacity, courage, servitude–fighting and leading are completely different skills. Many warriors understand this, as they are good for wielding swords and directing battles. Leaders must be good orators (not necessarily charismatic orators), they must be managers (of people, finances and resources), they must not be in love with wealth and lust, they must be honest, and they must be willing to die for the good of the people–and willing to lose power if it is important for the country. It is why I have always believed that a leader with no military experience can lead a city, but never a nation. Because a nation is more than a business that needs money and management; a nation needs law and order, and she and her people must be protected.

The warrior, on the other hand, has many of these qualities, but his role is different. The leader serves his people, but he is the head that pushes his people in the direction that is best for them. The warrior is at the leader’s beck and call, and often must move ahead of the leader to make sure the coast is clear. So in that role, the warrior must be powerful only in the face of the enemy–but he must be obedient to his leaders. It is like the guard dog who fears no one, and strikes fear in everyone’s hearts but his master. He must have the dual role of not fearing his leader, but also not being feared by his master. If this balance is allowed to tilt either way, we cannot have a harmonious situation.

The warrior, then, cannot have too much power. As I stated, too much power tilts the scales, and it must be controlled by something very powerful. Power, like money to the leader, intoxicates. It is a liar and the tool of the evil to get otherwise good men to do wrong. It is the reason a crooked cop or crooked soldier seems so devious. Someone has trusted you with this power, and apparently, the checks and balances required to protect abuse has failed. When building warriors, those arming warriors must ensure that their weapons and skills will not be abused, misused or falls into the wrong hands. The warrior-in-training must be conditioned and taught that he is a servant, or he will end up as any form of a bully.

This is the reason I am against FMA being taught on video. I am against true martial arts being mass-marketed. And it is the reason I feel the last three decades have failed the growth of the martial arts to a degree. Martial arts has become a commodity; a product to be bought and sold. Many masters I have discussed this with have told me themselves, “I am only paid to teach martial arts, I keep people alive.”  Thanks to the intoxicating lure of the dollar or fame, these men have either watered down their art for mass consumption, or taught the most dangerous version of our arts to feed the thirst of men too immature to realize that they are trying to live out a boyhood fantasy of being a cold blooded killer/ninja-type. I have no respect for this, and there is no secret that I have a disdain for it.

That said, we must return back to the days when the warrior was just a servant. A protector. An enforcer. A teacher. And to some degree, a leader. The martial artist as a snake oil/snake charmer, entertaining crowds of seminars, a comedian who makes his rounds every few months from city to city giving awesome demonstrations–a peddler hawking videos and certificates to nonwarriors and children alike–has bastardized the arts I love. To counter this, my friends, has been my mission ever since you first heard of thekuntawman.

At the same time, the warrior must feel some sense of servitude to his people and neighbors. Even in my religion of Islam, men are encouraged to protect the homeland where he is living (it is not true that Muslims can only protect Muslim lands). The warrior must do more than just work, make money and practice his art. If someone is hurt in the warrior’s presence, he has failed his training. If a warrior fails to protect and arm his family and friends, he has failed. If a warrior fails to even speak against an injustice–he has failed in his role as warrior. For a warrior to do no more than treat his art as a pastime or a vocation–he is betraying the very reason these arts exist. You are no different than a man who allows his wealth to rot under a rock than to spend a portion of it feeding the hungry in his presence. One has squandered a gift that he was blessed to have. The arts were not passed down through the generations so that you could brag on websites or make a few bucks.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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