Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)
We are all born as civilians and raised to an age of perceived maturity as a civilian with all that entails as a culture. We are not born into and raised by a warrior culture as found historically in cultures like the Spartan culture. It is by choice within the civilian culture that one takes up the challenges of being a warrior, i.e., when one volunteers for military service.
The greatest challenge in this instance is making the adjustments from civilian culture to one that is a warrior culture. Since all of us were born and raised as civilians, it is very hard to un-encode that instinct driven encoded attitude and belief of civilians. It is here, in the boot indoctrination of a military service, that one starts to learn, understand and put into practice that warrior ethos ensuring the entire group, as a whole one, achieves the objectives of the civilian leadership. Yes, in this culture the civilians remain in control of their warriors.
As we become warriors we put civilian things aside and follow the ethos that is necessary and critical to the unit’s survival in achieving the goals and objectives of the society and its military leadership. The following are notes extracted from the book, “The Warrior’s Ethos,” by Steven Pressfield, a Marine Warrior himself as is the author of this article.
Warrior discipline is taught to us (militarily and/or martially) we teach ourselves self-discipline using warrior discipline as our template. Key 🔐, is to understand if you begin with a goal of civilian warrior you learn and understand the warriors ethos (military) so that you temper training utilizing one to create the other because misunderstandings tend to send civilians to jail, or worse.
Virtues of Warriors:
- will to endure adversity;
Code of Honor: An honor code is a set of ideals governing a group. It is based on what constitutes honorable behavior among group members. The use of an honor code depends on the idea that people within the group can be trusted to act honorably. [which, I might add, depends on how that group defines honor?]
Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions. [which, I might add, depends on how that group defines honesty, fairness, and integrity…?]
A group may actually define their honor with the same exact terms but as to the underlying beliefs, perceptions and concepts that drive group honor can be vastly different.
Two Types of Cultures
- guilt-based: a trend or organizing principle in a society characterized by the use of guilt to promote socially acceptable behavior. Guilt cultures emphasize both self-control in the face of temptation and self-initiated responsibility for one's actions if transgressions should occur.
- shame-based: In cultural anthropology, a shame culture, also called honor-shame culture or shame society, is the concept that, in a given society, the primary device for gaining control over children and maintaining social order is the inculcation of shame and the complementary threat of ostracism.
Our culture is guilt-based: Shame-based, face/honor is everything and all that matters is what the community believes of is. Imposes it’s values from outside the individual. Bushido is shame-based. USMC/Military is also shame-based.
Boot camp for Marines, Army and any other warrior-based endeavors rely on “initiations” as an intricate part of one’s entry into the military and theses hazing-like challenges test one’s “metal” as to their ability to live up to a warriors ethos.
Warriors enter into a culture of the unit that endure harsh living and training like bathing in frigid streams, run barefoot to toughen soles of feet, train without sleep, food or water for days on end. One such test was standing at attention while sand-fleas chewed on our faces, arms, ears and other exposed tender parts without crying out, swatting or scratching - ever, for all nine weeks of boot 🥾! USMC RD Parris Island 🏝.
“Soft hands make soft people. Better to live in a rugged land and rule than to cultivate rich plains and be a slave.” - Cyrus
The military warrior encodes deep in the psych, into the deepest recesses of our beliefs, mind, that we inherit what I pridefully adhere to as my, “Pride, honor, integrity, the chance to be part of a corps with a history of service, valor, glory; to have friends who would sacrifice their lives for you, as you would for them - and to know that you remain a part of this brotherhood as long as you live. How much is that worth? “PRICELESS!” - well known (?) gunnery sergeant of Marines
Lycurgus, of Sparta, who created and started the warrior culture of the Spartan’s:
- Common mess: to bind men together as brothers/friends. Those who break bread together form bonds and become attached to one another.
- Passage to Warrior-hood: we dress alike, eat and sleep alike, speak alike, wear our hair alike, and achieve victory alike. Familiar to Marines, Sailors and Soldiers all!
- Warrior Initiation’s: ordeals of initiation are gone not as individuals but as teams, as units, as brothers in arms.
- When doing, training, practicing and fighting as a unit, we bind with one another with ties even deeper than blood/family. Thus we become a brotherhood of warriors!
“Fight for this alone: the man who stands at your shoulder. He is everything, and everything is contained within him.” - Dienekes
Civilian Culture for Warriors
Our society is NOT a warrior culture but rather a warrior culture that is embedded in a civilian culture/society.
There is a definite separation and distinct difference between warriors and civilians. The values tend towards opposites.
- Individual freedom vs. unified (unit/tribe) freedom.
- Wealth and celebrity vs. Honor.
- Non-aggression vs. controlled aggression.
- Luxury and ease vs. Adversity.
- Selfish vs. selflessness.
These, and other inherent traits that are of the warrior’s ethos, make the warrior, “A Warrior!” To achieve a fuller understanding you have two routes and taking both is highly recommended:
- First, volunteer for military service as Marine, Sailor, Army, Air Force or Coast Guard.
- Second, read Steven Pressman’s book on the Warrior’s Ethos and then incorporate that into your martial arts training, practice and application.
There are other ways to make and gain experience as a warrior or civilian warrior culture, i.e., join a service oriented profession such as, “Police, Corrections Officer, Security, Bouncer, Body Guard, Emergency First Responder, etc.,” and then put the ethos to work for you.
One of the greatest challenges for the Warrior, military, is transitioning to a civilian warrior. I say civilian “warrior” because all that experience and understanding of the warrior ethos easily transfers over into the very fabric of the civilian culture. I give as example myself, a Marine of ten years active duty have been told in all my civilian experiences by civilians that the greatest assets they experienced in their civilian careers is persons with warrior culture experiences have been the greatest contributors to their and their businesses success(es).
I can say that my warrior training, understanding, beliefs and ethos has been my greatest asset in every thing I have done and accomplished. Here is a simplistic resume:
Construction Worker: Drywall
Food Services: Produce Stocking
USMC/Military (9 years 11 months):
- Motor Transport Chief NCO/SNCO (Non Commissioned Officer/Staff Non-commissioned Officer)
- Licensing & Training SNCO
- Career Planner
- Platoon Sergeant/Commander (SNCO)
- Martial Arts Instructor Special Services
NWSC Civil Service (15+ years):
- Motor Vehicle Operator Mail Services
- Warehouse Manager/Forklift Operator
- Materials Expeditor MAERU World Replenishment Manager
- Communications Security Manager
- Radiation Control Technician
- Special Weapons Technician (WG-10)
- UNION Chief Steward AFGE
- Container Repair Technician
- Physical Security Manager/Specialist GS-11 (retired)
UC Berkeley (18 years):
- Mail Room College of Engineering
- Programmer Analyst I/II
- QA/Release Management Analyst III
I remember once, during my tenure at the Concord Naval Weapons Station when three consecutive layoff process occurred over four years, a manager asking me, “Why isn’t there a layoff notice for you?” I simply said, I have accrued a variety of expertises over the last two decades that ensured during the process of “bumping (ability to qualify for other professions)” allowed me to be placed in positions still viable during that difficult layoff period. One reason for this, in the Marines one must know their responsibilities forwards, backwards and in four-dimensional ways as well as all the responsibilities for those Marines at your shoulder because, at any moment, one of you may die. This instills a brotherhood where all qualify for any positions and with the “do or die” beliefs we move as a unit, a cohesive brotherhood, that “gets the job done at all costs!”
This, and many other reasons, is why becoming, being and creating a warrior ethos becomes a huge asset when transitioning into a civilian warrior.
In closing, after forty-nine years of service I was able, a year before the pandemic, to fully retire so I may pursue more personal endeavors of my life. I still indirectly contribute through my efforts as a productive self-disciplined person and you can do the same by embracing the warriors ethos to create a civilian warrior ethos that will support your efforts at every endeavor you decide to take on.
Semper-fi, do our die, ohrahhh Leathernecks!!!!!
Pressman, Steven. “The Warrior’s Ethos.” Black Irish Entertainment LLC, 14 March 2011
For reference and sources and professionals go here: Bibliography (Click the link)