Physical strength, for me, has been a means to strengthen other areas of my life. It’s lifted up my entrepreneurial spirit, helped me tackle obstacles with a confidence that only comes from knowing you can accomplish something, anything, you set your mind to. Looking like a warrior, physically, has magnified the warrior within me, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
Yet, as I sit writing about those things that I’m truly passionate about: fitness, health, being a man, being a warrior, I sit, with fingers made for war and hands made for battle, feeling tamed. There’s something inside me that wants a battle, a place to test my courage, to see what I’m made of, an opportunity to become great, to be a hero, or to fail.
Like every man, my heart is wild. As a kid I’d dress up as my favorite heroes and play war, as a teen I went to battle in the boxing ring, and felt alive, and as a man I enjoy a life of freedom, one with obstacles I have to conquer, fears I have to face, and a purpose to each and every day. I’m not complaining – that’s the last thing I’m doing, I’m merely asking. I’m growing, working, and learning, but I have no battlefield.
Even with lofty goals to fill my time and imagination, I still dream more about adventure than any other single thing. I long for it. I want to charge in to battle yelling Follow me! like Teddy Roosevelt, Pick a fight like William Wallace, or take on and defeat a thousand armed men with nothing but my fists and a jawbone as my weapons, like Samson. I want adventure. I want to test my mettle like I did when I was fighting, but on an even grander scale.
There’s a reason why men so dearly love and connect with movies like Troy, Gladiator, 300, and Braveheart. They’re about us. They are us – at our core, in our spirit, and in our hearts, at least, every man wants adventure, we all want to be a warrior, but with the ‘evolution’ of our society, we’ve become – and I cringe when I say this word – domesticated. With each day spent at our 9-5, being good, tame, nice men, we push, stomp down, and quell our warrior’s heart. With each passing day we move further away from the warrior, adventurer, hero, we are meant to be.
Our society loves to tame wild animals. We make docile wimps out of powerful beasts. I’ve seen bears doing tricks, elephants and horses, the same. Men are no different.
Where’s Our Battlefield?
In the era before gunpowder, all killing was of necessity done hand to hand. For a Greek or Roman warrior to slay his enemy, he had to get so close that there was an equal chance that the enemy’s sword or spear would kill him. This produced an ideal of manly virtue – andreia, in Greek – that prized valor and honor as highly as victory…
… The ancients resisted innovation in warfare because they feared it would rob the struggle of honor.
King Agis was shown a new catapult, which could shoot a killing dart 200 yards. When he saw this, he wept. “Alas,” he said. “Valor is no more.”
~ From Steven Pressfield’s, The Warrior Ethos
Death and destruction don’t have to be the mission, nor does killing another in hand-to-hand combat. But with the rise of the high-rise, has come the domestication of men. Our hearts, at least in some fashion, still yearn for excitement and adventure, but our daily lives speak nothing of what our hearts want. To truly experience living and life, our hearts desires should be aligned with our actions – daily, and in a larger scope, over a lifetime. They aren’t. Actually, the lives we live are exactly the opposite of what our hearts hunger for.
Are we, then, not living?