Warriors. I’m not one.

English: Two Marines from 2nd Marine Aircraft ...

English: Two Marines from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd) practice Marine Corps Martial Arts Program at Al Asad, Iraq. Here, Corporal Robert Lemiszki performs the shoulder throw technique on Corporal Halie Kennie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So often I hear from martial artists, instructors, and others, talk about being “warriors.”  God help me I think that term is over used, yes, even in the context of martial arts. 

You may argue that martial does mean war, and I can argue back just as righteously that it has more to do with military, and that you are not a warrior unless you are in the distinct “warrior class” of a society, in most modern societies that means the military.

You may be a fighter, but not a warrior.  A warrior is part of a group that fights for more than himself.  They make themselves available full time to die for the protection of others.  He/She fights for the tribe, the village, the country.

Most martial “warriors” I meet these days train part time to fight for the personal glory of a winning performance in a tournament.

I, and many others have been there done that (Marine Corps here, baby)!  I did my turn, I don’t do it anymore, and I’m on to the next stage of my existence.  I’m not a warrior. No shame in that.   I am a householder, an educator, a family man, hopefully a good contributing member of my society.  That also means I have the highest regards for those true warriors that are doing their turn now.

I think it almost diminishes their worth when some un-thoughtful knucklehead calls himself a warrior cause he “likes to fight.”  Martial artists are not necessarily warriors, and I think the qualifier is the “art” part of the term.  Art implies a creative continuity not an expectation of possible death in the process.  Fighting isn’t enough to make you a warrior, it is an availability and willingness to die, for others.

Fight, train martial arts, but respect and honor our true warriors by not trivializing the term.