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Archive for the ‘Ancient warriors’ Category

There’s something amazing about trees.  They all have their own individual personalities and character that stand the test of time; throughout centuries, storms and drought. If you look deeper, you will see them. The way they grow, which way they lean, the number of branches, the direction that the moss develops, the foliage around its trunk, and the stretching and swaying of the leaves in the breeze… are all instruments of expressions for the tree.

Many walk by without even thinking twice about it; but just imagine how much history that tree has lived through, seen or soaked up.  I often wonder what secrets it possesses in its shadows.  What mysteries could it unveil and tell? I see them as ancient beings that can offer much more than the clean air we can breathe.  It’s a partnership, a little give and take. For the continued survival of us both, we must not get greedy.

It’s interesting to note that every different species offers a fresh lesson; a different metaphor of a different voice ranging from the sapling to the old growth. Consider the lessons in strength and community demonstrated by the Redwoods, or the extending hand of the baobabs of Africa and India that offer food in their heavy white flowers, or the deep lesson given by the manicured bonsai trees that bring contemplation for the viewer which also displays the ingenuity of the grower.

You see, we must invent, learn and wonder far beyond the barrier that hold us captive. Lets bust far past the concrete walls that stands between us and a new discovery.  Next time you walk past that tree that offers some shade, listen to what it has to say. It just might surprise you…

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Bushidō means “the way of the warrior”, it’s used to describe a unique Japanese code of conduct followed by the samurai. This code is said to have emphasized virtues such as loyalty, honor, obedience, duty, filial piety, and self-sacrifice.

         Bushido Samurai Left: 1860’s. Photo: Felice Beaton

However, I see some of that same code not stopping there. Many cultures and fighters from all over the ancient world lived by similar codes or by other strict rules of conduct. To name a few include, the Mongols, Romans, Trojans, Nubian archers, Persians, Celtics, Vikings, Amazons, Comanche, Zulu, Barbarians, or the Ch’in warriors. Now you might be thinking, what? These warriors where thugs, murders, thiefs, bullies, or plunderers.  Well I am merely speaking on the conduct of the code amongst themselves, within their own ranks, as all civilizations conduct with others can be in question.  As these warriors fought for a plethora of causes, I will try to capture the ‘fight for the cause at all cost’ that they deemed fit and worthy, not the cause, as that will always have two sides.   I will discuss three, the likes of Spartans in Greece, The Ali’i Koa of the Hawaiian Islands, and the medieval knights templar of King Arthur and the round table. These three all carried similar ways like that of Bushido. Codes of loyalty, devotion and honor until death.

A Spartan would be specifically picked and then taken from his home at a very early age and trained in the ways of a warrior.  It was a very hard life, as when they reached the age of twelve, the training increased with more discipline and initiation. When reaching the age of twenty, they would be considered full warriors and deemed ready to join the Spartan army.  This army was known to be the strongest and considered almost untouchable. Through natural selection, training and the bond, the fighters that emerged were some of the most fearsome and efficient the world had to offer.

   Spartan from the movie ‘300’

For the Hawaiians, the most famous King was Kamehameha I (1758-1819), who unified the seven Hawaiian islands. His birth coincided with the appearance of Halley’s Comet, giving rise to a prophesy that he would one day rule. Ordered to be killed by his grandfather Alapai, he was secreted away in Waipio for five years. Returning after the death of his father Keoua, chief of Kohala, Kamehameha (meaning “The Lonely One”) was trained by his uncle King Kalani’opu’u in all the duties required of an ali’i-‘ai-moku (district chief). Kamehameha grew to become a skilled warrior, renowned for his valor, leadership and fierceness  in the battle in which Captain Cook was killed.  Another historic battle, was when Kamehameha sent a large fleet of war canoes to seize Maui and Molakai. In 1795, he then turned toward Oahu, dispatching an invasion fleet of 1200 canoes bearing more than 10,000 warriors. There, he faced the combined army of Kalanikupule and the Hawaiian chieftain Kaiana drawn up at the mouth of the Valley. The warriors of Oahu fled, as they reached the head of the valley, they were trapped with the 1,200 foot Nu’uanu Pali cliff at their backs. Kamehameha committed forward, and the advance literally pushed the Oahu warriors off the cliff to their deaths. –paraphrased from Chris Brantley (DBA IV/12C) 

-Nu’uanu Pali battle and the real Nu’uanu Pali lookout

King Arthur represented a man who was the embodiment of good against evil, light against dark, and that eternal, never-ending struggle between what is right and wrong. The Knights were expected to have the strength and skill to face the violent gruesome combat of the middle ages, yet subdue the aggressions with a chivalrous side.  A Knights code was more of a moral system that went far beyond the rules of combat. These qualities were idealized by the knighthood, such as honesty, courage, valor, honor, generosity, excellence, loyalty, purity, directness, and wisdom.

You see, I think in some form or another we all can trace our history back to one of the great warrior civilizations in history.  But what we need to hold on to most is the code that they lived by not the fighting, killing or battles. If we could grasp a tenth of what they breathed, perhaps this world would be better off.  If we could operate out of a fraction of faith, charity, justice, sagacity, prudence, resolution, truth, liberality, diligence, hope or virtue within our own lives; then perhaps we wouldn’t be focused on the next t.v show, the fashion trends, how your car looks, or if that hot guy at the bar gave you the right number. When are we going to start looking beyond ourselves, instead of only looking out for ourselves?  Perhaps we all need an injection of ‘the way of the warrior’ in all of us and we could learn a thing or two from the past.

I don’t know its just a crazy thought….

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