Emerson Combat Series: Developing The Warrior Spirit
By Ernest Emerson, The Guardian Shepard
“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” – Vince Lombardi
Since time immemorial warriors have always held a revered and respected place in society. In spite of all political meanderings and the ebb and flow of societal values, this has never changed and it never will.
In terms of exposure to a spontaneous dangerous threat, it has been my observation that in general, society breaks down into two groups. Those who run to danger and those who run from it. This is not a matter of courage or cowardice and I place no judgment upon it. I believe in the idea so eloquently explained by my friend and colleague Lt. Col David Grossman that, “There is the flock and there are the protectors of the flock, the Sheepdogs.”
Now, if you are reading this article, then chances are you are a protector, a warrior. Otherwise this would be of no interest to you.
Mind you, a warrior is not necessarily the 220lb football quarterback or the professional fighter. In fact the physical aspect of strength or size, or sex has little if anything to do with the bearing of a warrior. Many times in hostage situations, it has been the petite middle-aged woman who has stepped forward, into the fray.
Do you know who is the toughest son-of-a-bitch to walk the face of this earth? Any guesses? Well, I’ll tell you who it is. It is a 150 lb Marine just out of boot camp. How can this be? Does he think he is tough? No, he does not. He knows he is tough. He knows he is the toughest son-of-a-bitch to ever walk the face of the earth. There is not one shred of doubt in his mind. He has the resolve of invincibility. If any of you who are reading this are former Marines, then you know what I am talking about.
Every time I teach a hand-to-hand combat class the ever anxious students expect to grab weapons and start training in knife fighting tactics right out of the gate. They expect that to happen, but that never happens. Why not? Because after 2 or 3 days of training what I’ve got is 30-40 weak fighters with knives in their hands.
My goal, my methodology, is that that I must train them to be fighters first, before we ever put any weapon into their hands. Once I have turned them into fighters – hard-core, fight to the death warriors, then I can put any weapon I want into their hands be it a rock, club or knife, and they will prevail. Because now, even without weapons, they are warriors, not just athletes. At the end of a training evolution I’ve got 30-40 warriors willing to fight to the death if necessary, to stop the bad guy. And it doesn’t matter whether they have a weapon or not. They’re going to win.
Once upon a time I was working with members of the British SAS. In the middle of an edged weapons training block we were practicing how to punch as hard as humanly possible. I asked one of the instructors why we were training in punching when we were dealing with edged weapons. In a thick Scottish Brogue he answered bluntly, “If I can hit you so hard, that I’ll knock you into next Sunday then, if I have a knife in my hand, I’ll drive it through your chest and right out of your back. The only reason I’m in this fight is because the bad guy’s tryin’ to kill me. I’m not about to let that happen.” What is the key point in his reply? The one you should lock onto?… “ I’m not about to let that happen. That is the Warrior speaking. Not the punching. Not the drills. Not the SAS. It is the man who is a warrior. In simple terms, it embodies everything I’m trying to describe. It is the attitude. The resolve. The Mentality of the Warrior.
“Get Tough or Get Beat” – SAS Maxim
In 1876 the citizens of Northfield, Minnesota rallied together to rout a daring bank robbery by the James Younger Gang. Cole Younger was shot 13 times. While recovering in the hospital he was asked by a newspaper reporter how he could survive being shot 13 times. His answer was simple and direct. “We’re tough men used to tough ways.”
The warrior’s spirit is conceived by need, driven by a cause and fueled by inspiration. It is learned and earned and is not something anyone is born with. As it is with a leader, the Warrior is not born into the role. It is made by hard effort, determination, resolve, selflessness and a dedication to a moral and ethical ideal, a sense of justice and a willingness to defend your convictions.
A warrior is one who takes a stand and will give 100% of himself, even unto death to protect those who depend on his shepherding.
“Until the end of time, as the last sun sets upon this earth, in that blackest night, somewhere a warrior still stands his lonely watch.” – Ernest R. Emerson
For inspiration I submit to you the following, taken from The Order of the Black Shamrock:
“The Medieval Knight and the Royal Orders represented the ultimate warrior class of Western Civilization mirrored only in the East by the Samurai of Feudal Japan. The Knight represented the ultimate culmination of skills and the epitome of human development. Fearless in battle, heedless of death, driven by a cause and held to a strict set of moral standards. To the common man, they represented the ultimate in human achievement. And they represented the protector, their bulwark against evil.
These knights also represented the idea that someone possessed of such deadly skills and destructive force could at the same time be held accountable by an adherence to a code of strict moral, ethical, and honorable standards. Standards held higher for them than any others. Such was the definition of chivalry.
And this definition stands true today. We are warriors. We are warriors in the fight for justice, for truth, for freedom. We are warriors against tyranny, against oppression, against evil in all its forms. We are warriors for what is right and good. We are warriors who protect those helpless, from harm. We are warriors who fight to protect our way of life. We are warriors who carry on the legacy of those who have gone before us, those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and the safety of our families. We carry on the legacy of the warrior class, those who have always stepped to the frontline to place themselves as the last wall of defense between the evil that would destroy it and the precious things that we hold so dear.
This legacy has been borne true since the time of the noble knights and it is now held forth by those who heed to its calling to this day. Those who stand watch over our neighborhoods and city streets. From the dirt swept planes of Afghanistan to the front doors of our very homes where our families sleep at night, a warrior stands at the ready. Whether you are a Soldier, Police Officer, Fireman, or a guardian, we are the brotherhood of warriors, the protectors, those who will not run from danger, but run to it, to seek its source and with shield and sword, strike it dead to stop its terrible spread. We are the noble knights who will, without hesitation, and against fear, enjoin the battle to protect and guard the safety of those who lay their trust in us.
Not every man is a warrior, but for those that are, know that you are the steel that runs through the foundation of society and civilization and that without you there would be no liberty, no freedom and no justice for all.
The warrior is held to a higher standard. The highest standard. The greatest heroes in the history of the world have been warriors. You are counted among those heroes, those times, those events that have shaped human history, that have built the greatest civilizations on this planet. Count yourself among the ranks of those brothers and know that you stand shoulder to shoulder with those who have shaped the destiny of the world with steel, blood, fists, and glory.
You know who you are. Carry the pride and bearing that befits the status that you have earned and that you hold. Be proud that you have chosen to walk the path taken by few and revered by many.
And know also, that as warriors, we will never perish from the face of the earth.”
The responsibility of a warrior does not merely necessitate the taking up of arms against an enemy. It is more, much more and it is such that you become an example, a role model of ethical and moral behavior to all others who may look to you for guidance or protection. If this is the path in life that you have chosen to walk, then know that it is a path well worn by the footsteps of those who have walked here before you. Others, who have willingly said, “I will endure the hardship, the pain, the sacrifice and the risk of death so that those who sleep soundly in their beds can do so in the warm embrace of safety and peace.
If this is your choice then know that your road will be fraught with adversity and you will be assailed by many, but in those times, remember that you are in the company of the noble souls who have also faced such adversity and prevailed. And know also that your legacy shall be that until the end of time, as the last sun sets upon this earth, in that blackest night, somewhere a warrior still stands his lonely watch.
Ernest R. Emerson is a knife-maker and personal combat instructor.
Visit his knife site – click here to visit EmersonKnives.com