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.

Views: 132

Tags: Art, Arts, Martial, Philosophy, Warriors

Comment

You need to be a member of Art of Manliness to add comments!

Join Art of Manliness

Comment by David Tindell on September 20, 2009 at 1:33pm
As a fellow martial artist, I know exactly what you're talking about when you mention kata. I try to impress upon my students that kata are a great way to start your workout by helping you clear your mind and focus. Yet few of them get it until they've been in the art awhile, and by then most have dropped out because studying the martial arts is not an easy thing, and they (or their parents) are not interested in difficult things.
It should be no surprise that warriors produce great art. Although I know little about art, I know enough to understand that creating art---sculpture, painting, literature, whatever---takes discipline and patience. You have to be eager for instruction and willing to take constructive criticism. The warrior also is more in touch with himself, because he knows his limitations but is always pushing himself, and the world around him, because he is constantly on the alert and observes things. He understands people and their motivations because he is often in a position of leadership. He can express himself because people look to him for answers. And because he may have to risk his life to protect others, he sees things with more clarity and with a different perspective.
Comment by Dave on September 15, 2009 at 11:57pm
Thanks for your post. It contravenes the myth of soldiers and warriors as brute beasts incapable of expression.

Latest Activity

NYGayBear replied to Daniel's discussion Family in the group Gentlemen Atheists
"I'm going out on a limb here- stop apologizing for no longer believing in a superstition. If there was a catholic sister in a Protestant family? Or a Methodist brother in a group of Presbyterians- would that even deserve comment? Just go to…"
7 minutes ago
Daniel Rodriguez replied to Daniel's discussion Family in the group Gentlemen Atheists
"Don't attack them for their faith. It does nothing but make them more and more against you. I found that I would have days where I would want nothing more to burn a church down, bash down religion. But it's their life, and you have yours.…"
9 minutes ago
Daniel Rodriguez replied to Herb Munson's discussion Trusting in the Faithfulness of God in the group The Great Debate
"I follow a different path. That path brings me happiness. Why is your path better? Where is your god? Trouble not the world with such."
20 minutes ago
Daniel added a discussion to the group Gentlemen Atheists
Thumbnail

Family

Since losing the faith I find I have a difficult time maintaining close relationships with my parents and siblings who are strong believers. We don't fight, we all love each other, but there is a barrier that prevents anything too deep from happening. They are still faithfully waiting and expecting a prodigal son to return, so things seem to be a state of arrested development.I'd love to read about anybody's experience/success with bridging this divide in a healthy way, or of what potential…See More
21 minutes ago
Jacob Bauer replied to John Bravo's discussion I held out sex for love first....Why is it so hard to find a girl who's done the same?
"You're probably looking in the wrong place and at the wrong girls. Ignore these idiots who say you "shouldn't judge" or whatever. You laid our your criteria and you know exactly what you want in a woman. Find her and hope you…"
32 minutes ago
Jacob Bauer replied to Herb Munson's discussion Trusting in the Faithfulness of God in the group The Great Debate
""Silly" and "rigamarole" are hardly personal insults. Perhaps he does find your position silly. He was still respectful of the people supporting it, as far as I read. I think you're trying to find an excuse to avoid his…"
45 minutes ago
Rush replied to Rush's discussion Praying for Wife Material. Selfish Prayer? in the group Christian Men
"I agree that Faith without deeds is dead. God helps, but I have to work at it too. I don't think that praying out of money for your own ambitions that do not have God is good. For example I think its good to pray for success in Him through many…"
52 minutes ago
Nathanael replied to John Bravo's discussion I held out sex for love first....Why is it so hard to find a girl who's done the same?
"Reread what he wrote.  If he was interested in morals or values he'd be asking women about their beliefs and how they behave now, not whether they've ever had casual sex.  This is about his own psychological and sexual hang-ups,…"
1 hour ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service