The Way of the Warrior: How to Cultivate a Warrior Mindset
Warriors are typically understood to be practitioners and masters of warfare and combat.
Martial arts often evoke images of warriors, especially related to East Asian methodologies and philosophies. Indeed, Bushido, the Samurai’s moral code, translates to ‘way of the warrior.’
Martial arts and self-development clearly go hand in hand.
But what is it exactly that creates or constitutes a warrior?
Not all martial arts or combat sports have oral philosophies, but that is not to say they will not share commonalities with those who do. Regardless, a warrior mentality is often crafted through their commitment to training.
The first aspect all practitioners must learn is discipline.
You cannot progress if you do not show up and continue to do so. In this sense, discipline is understood as self-control, a mastery of the mind that dictates your behavior, rather than letting emotions run your life.
Respect is built into almost every martial art.
While it is down to an individual school to embody and teach it effectively, most students will not get very far without it.
Respect is practiced first and foremost at the door or entry to the dojo, varying from a bow to making a mental shift to leave your ego behind and train in a committed way.
This sentiment is extended to teachers, by listening to their instructions, and also to other students, by training safely and communicating effectively.
Like Kung Fu and Karate, some martial arts are based on religious traditions, such as Taoism and Zen Buddhism, respectively.
This provides a backdrop of principles that guide the student in developing the mindset of a warrior.
Taoism encourages living in harmony with nature, while Zen Buddhism teaches meditation and embracing one’s true nature.
These are specific but other martial arts, through the physical practice, bring on a state of meditation, where the practitioner frees the mind of unrelated thoughts. This is also known as a ‘flow state.’
It’s possible to see martial arts as a mastering of the body.
It is equally possible to see martial arts as a mastering of the mind.
As the need for real warriors dissipated, the meaning of the word changed to embody anyone who was fighting something, even if only themselves.
The warrior mindset is crafted with, or without an underlying philosophy.
Through discipline, respect, self-control, releasing the ego, and meditation, the way of the warrior is available to all of us.
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