“The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.” ~Plato
I started this blog to explore different things that mattered to me. Over time there was an underlying theme that developed related to the warrior lifestyle. I decide to move that direction not because I have a track record as a warrior, but because it was my interest and I wanted to explore what it takes to live as one, to really be a warrior inside and out.
Of all the things that I have seen related to walking the warrior’s path, the biggest challenge… the biggest mountain to climb of your life… is always going to be yourself.
“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” ~Napoleon Hill
As I look at my training, my attitude, my perspective, my mistakes, my body, my relationships, my life… I see something staring back at me from the darkest shadows within:
My utter failure to conquer myself wholly.
To conquer my moods, inner demons, physical weaknesses, procrastinations, clouded thinking, etc.
“Human beings, we have dark sides; we have dark issues in our lives. To progress anywhere in life, you have to face your demons.” ~John Noble
There is a dark passenger within; a dark shadowy figure that represents every failure in my life to be the man I wanted to be… to be the man others think I am.
The darkness within is the intimate knowledge of every shortcoming I have failed to eradicate, every memory of when I have let myself down… and when I have let others down.
On a daily basis I desire to do better, but falter in putting up adequate defenses against self. That is the elements within that don’t care about the hard path, that don’t care about prevailing, that don’t care about the goodness of life.
I failed to prevail.
The essence of being a warrior is to fight against the darkness until you break into the light. For each of us there is a battle raging for control of our souls. Each time we lose, there is a price to pay- whether it is a little or alot.
“He who controls his temper is better than a war hero, he who rules his spirit better than he who captures a city.” ~Proverbs 16:32
If we don’t win the internal battles with regular consistency… we will not win the external battles we face in the future. As a good brother told me, life is not going to get easier, only harder. Whether its hard times at work, procrastinating about your training, difficulties at home or dealing with the temptations to do things that are self-sabotaging or self-destructive.
Judging from my life experiences and mistakes as well as what I have seen with others, most of us don’t want to do what it takes to hold ourselves in check, to face our inner demons… to be uncomfortable and conquer our wayward selves. It is why the world is the chaotic mess it is today. It is a reflection of the chaos we have not personally defeated in our own lives.
In my exposure to the combat and martial arts world I see a lot of people training in the physical, but their mental and spiritual planes are often neglected, and they lack vision about why they are training. Thus leading to a state of self-defeat in the arena of life.
In one of the training classes I attended with Sonny Puzikas, I think he was alluding to the tip of “this iceberg” when he asked the question of us:
“Why do we train?”
Sonny said that if we find in ourselves the answers that lie beyond, “I just want to win” or “I just want to protect my family”… it will change the way we train. In my view, it also means it will change the way we live and apply ourselves.
I spent many days and weeks meditating on that question before I drew any conclusions on why I train. While that is a post for another day, I will say this…
I am coming to realize the importance of making my training consistent and able to touch every aspect of my life and on every plane that I exist (physical, mental, and spiritual) so that in my world, light and angels prevail instead of darkness and demons…
Where the greater part of me prevails over the lesser part.
“A man without decision of character can never be said to belong to himself… He belongs to whatever can make captive of him.” ~John Foster