Symbols of power and spirituality have always been important to warriors. From the beginning of time warriors have sought power. Symbols are/were used to internalize spiritual beliefs to harness or summon power. Some believe(d) that symbols summon spiritual beings be they gods, demons, spirit guides, ancestral spirits, or the power of nature. Those symbols were the sources of power and works of ancient and modern art.
Discipline brings strength and purposefulness. Warrior cultures throughout history developed discipline through physical regimen, mental regimen, and adherence to a strict belief system.
Intricate stone carvings; wood carvings; paintings; murals; the construction of weapons, poetry; philosophy; literature; music; all forms of art. All take a great amount of discipline and skill.
It seems that warriors possess a fire of passion that others do not. If a warrior lives beyond his youth it seems they inevitably are drawn to art. The warrior poets of ancient Greece wrote great works of poetry and literature. The samurai of feudal Japan were painters, poets, calligraphers, carvers, and craftsmen. Fathers of the American Revolution wrote songs, poetry, and treatises on religion and philosophy. Even modern warriors such as George Patton turned to poetry and painting for solace and self awareness. There are myriad examples in history, of warriors that pursued art.
Recently I attended the funeral of my uncle. He was one of a small few that had knowledge of Choctaw warrior traditions. I’ve grown contemplative of late. While mourning his death and remembering things he taught me. I’ve asked myself questions, already answered in my youth. The only times, in recent years, that I have turned to kata have been to teach them or when I needed to address emotions that I feel I cannot control. The discipline of performing kata focuses my mind, clearing my emotions, summoning strength within me that I haven’t needed and long forgot.
I am a terrible poet. I write poetry anyway. My poetry is very personal. It is one way I can express myself and feel I do so with poignancy. I’ve found that writing my poetry makes me question and explore once again. Over the years my hands have been damaged and my drawing suffers because of it. I draw anyway. I also fancy myself a photographer. When I capture images I frame them with meaning that is within me. My photographs may seem amateurish to some but to me, they have meaning. Trying to employ the rules of photography takes surprising discipline. Drawing has improved my photography. It helps me see into myself and extract what I see and capture it with the camera.
I wonder if the warriors of the past felt as I do now. Is that why they pursued art? Did they seek to answer questions within themselves?
I just needed to vent.