glyph 446: guardians, defenders, predators, producers . defense of the productive, peace, war ... blood, sweat, tears ... military, armed forces, security, violence, special ops ... personal responsibility . martial arts .... tools of defense, resources for defense ... Dave Grossman, Sun Tzu, Miyamoto Musashi ... preservation of the possibility of trade and exchange . conservation of the origins of goods, of matter and spirit
The author, active military, wrote this for and to explorers, November 2008.
It occurred to me recently that the explorers of tomorrow, in their efforts to understand and thrive in the world of today, may be neglecting an important area of study: Personal Protection. To be clear I am not advocating the (immediate) purchase of any weapon. I am referring to the Art and Philosophy of Self Defense and the Mindset necessary to implement both as needed. To illustrate my point I ask that your explorers search the History books and find an Explorer who was not willing or able to defend him or herself if the situation clearly warranted it. You will not find them anywhere but in the obituaries or as sad footnotes in reference to those who were successful.
Free Trade is a wonderful idea and one that (I believe) will in time prove itself to be the model of success in a Global Economy. However, "Free" Trade like "Free"-dom is never free and rarely obtained cheaply. An Explorer must be ready at any time to defend that which he/she has struggled to find/build/develop/invent lest it be taken from them. The mantra "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" is not an out-dated piece of literary gobbledygook. It is a fundamental Truth that describes in great detail the price that MUST be paid for anything of real value. "Blood" tops the list for a reason.
For those who may be thinking about the possibility of having to save their own life/livelihood or that of their loved ones for the first time I would suggest a few resources of personal interest:
1. First and foremost read a newspaper (preferably one that includes an International/World News section) for one week. With a pair of scissors cut out every article that references violence here and abroad; everything from home invasion and fist fights to piracy, war and African genocide. Each day put these articles in a single legal sized envelope. At the end of the week take out what you have collected, spread them all out on your dining room table, and attempt to absorb what you see all at once.
2. Read "Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs", an essay by LTC Dave Grossman, US Army (Ret). Read this essay from the perspective of each of the three societal classes presented and then decided who you want to be. This will take maybe slightly more than an hour - two hours tops.
3. Read "The Art of War". Written in 6th century BC China, Sun Tzu's work has applications in everyday life as well as modern warfare. This can be done in a weekend.
4. Read "The Book of Five Rings". Written in 1645 AD by Miyamoto Musashi. Much like "The Art of War" and any other book containing "Truth", this military treatise will open your mind to new avenues of thought with regards to the world around you. This may take several weeks.
5. Decide upon a weapon that you will use to defend yourself. It could be a pen, a knife, a phone, a job, a business philosophy, or your own hands and feet. Whatever you choose, that act of making the choice to defend yourself is the first step towards developing the mindset necessary to survive in a violent world. Making the choice is instantaneous, preparing to defend yourself will take a large part of your life.
6. Have a backup plan, a second weapon to use in the event that your first choice fails. Advocating non-violence is fine and I full-heartedly applaud those who do so, but there is a vast difference between violence and controlled aggression with a purpose. Besides - you take your body with you everywhere you go anyway, might as well learn how to use it. This will take few years (at least).
Remember that "control" implies the ability to stop at any time, which is why I strongly recommend finding a Martial Arts academy with a strong moral and philosophical foundation. I was lucky enough to be enrolled in an Okinawan form of Karate called "Go Ju Ryu" at an early age. My Sensei was a balanced man in mind and body. He stressed Rules for Living and Meditation as strongly as he did proper Technique. He once said the best way to avoid a punch is to not be there when it is thrown. Only later did I figure out that he was saying it is O.K. to run away if the opportunity presents itself. It doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes you must stand and fight. My Dad once said that the only fair fight is one that you walk away from. Only later did I figure out that this meant there are no rules in a fight. There is only the one that walks away, and the one that is carried away.
I urge the Explorers of tomorrow, in order to preserve their ideas and ideology, to tread the lands of the Earth boldly, but with a caution born of preparation, and to see the world with eyes of informed clarity, not blinded by naiveté.
From a Guardian, to all explorers
"On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs", by Dave Grossman
November 29, 2008; edited/updated November 26, 2015