I began developing this post-modern, Four Elements model of the warrior in order to rebuild myself from the ground up.
I have used this Four Elements model for my own personal development through each quadrant of power, and it works very well with The Way Of The Warrior.
In brief, the Four Elements model for The Way Of The Warrior is:
Earth – Warrior skills
Water – Warrior ethics
Fire – Warrior mindsets
Air – The way of peace
These horizontal levels are constant throughout each of the vertical levels.
Warrior skills represent the core physical competencies necessary for the survival of the individual and the group.
Warrior ethics, as we have already seen are an integral part of The Way Of The Warrior because warriorship has its roots in the group and loyalty and preservation of the group.
Warrior mindsets are the core inner-game strategies necessary for survival and long-term victory for the Warrior.
Finally, The Way Of Peace is the highest expression of Earth-External power, wherein the warrior approaches a transformational dilemma that forces the realization that the survival of the group is contingent upon the long term survival, prosperity and sustainability of other groups, as well.
Each of our developmental training categories –
- The Way Of The Warrior
- The Way Of The Leader
- The Way Of Strategy
- The Way Of The Sage
not only corresponds to each of The Four Elements, but each element also contains each of The Four Elements.
Truly strong people look for ways to become exactly who they want to be, and they don’t compromise in that effort.
You can be who you want to be, and you can develop yourself to your own highest and best potential.
It begins with The Way Of The Warrior.
“The boys of my people began very young to learn the ways of men, and no one taught us; we just learned by doing what we saw, and we were warriors at a time when boys now are like girls.”
– Black Elk
Obstacles On The Way
There will always be a temptation among most people to swing to either pole of The Earth Element of selfish thuggery or abstraction and inaction.
“Without Knowledge, Skill cannot be focused. Without Skill, Strength cannot be brought to bear and without Strength, Knowledge may not be applied.”
– Alexander the Great’s Chief Physician
People who are only interested in violence for violence sake, or “winning” fights run a dangerous risk of never developing past the Earth element or the bio-survival circuitry.
In The Way Of The Warrior, we’ll assume that this isn’t the case for you, and that your interest lies in using your body as a vehicle to understand and develop yourself, and that you understand that there are times when it’s either necessary or expedient to fight and win. As Mencius said:
“I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger.”
Even more dangerous and far more likely than low-brow thuggery is the real most common pitfall facing people interested in developing their warrior nature from an intellectual or cultural perspective.
“If you do not train in technique, but only fill your breast with principle, your body and your hands will not function. Training in technique, if put into terms of your own martial art, is in the training that if practiced over and over again makes the five body postures one.”
Similarly, Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”