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: 121

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

Lucius Artorius Castus replied to Titus Techera's discussion Healthcare ideas in the group The Great Debate
"Why does it need to expand further into society? Why is it your responsibility to take care of me, and mine yo take care of you? How about we all take care of our own damn selves and leave everyone else alone so long as they are not hurting anyone…"
7 minutes ago
JD Plueger replied to Thomas James's discussion Paying off a large credit card debt vs. settlement? Are there pros? How bad are the cons?
"I too made some financial mistakes in my past... Without knowing the details (nor do I want them) of your finances it's hard to point you in a specific, calculated direction. I would start with just paying the basics first and…"
9 minutes ago
Andrew D, USA Ret replied to Andrew D, USA Ret's discussion Militias, politics, anti-2nd amendment hysteria and the Bundy issue in the group The Great Debate
"He's a simple, hard-working, poorly educated man who doesn't want to lose his ranch and way of life to a government he sees intent on doing just that, as proven by the disappearance of the once dozens of ranches around him in the not so…"
25 minutes ago
Carl Monster replied to John Muir's discussion Bulk Shopping For Staples
"I don't have a problem with occasional use, hey, carbon monoxide is bad for us too, but buying in bulk hints at frequent downing of the stuff. Yea, sugar I hear is better, just like margarine is actually worse for you than butter."
28 minutes ago
Jack Bauer replied to Titus Techera's discussion Healthcare ideas in the group The Great Debate
"I find it unconscionably arrogant to be so enamored with your own ideology to believe it should literally be imposed on everybody else, against their will, for their own good.    Garden-variety statism.  Luckily, we have a…"
31 minutes ago
Carl Monster replied to Andrew's discussion Interesting Article: 'Men Suck At Friendship'
"Tim, amen to that. A few years ago, after becoming aware that I was starving for male company, I sent an email to someone who was an acquaintance over a decade ago. He had asked me on a canoe trip together, and I have never forgot his kindness in…"
31 minutes ago
Augustin replied to Andrew's discussion Interesting Article: 'Men Suck At Friendship'
"Damn right. "
38 minutes ago
Andrew D, USA Ret replied to Titus Techera's discussion Healthcare ideas in the group The Great Debate
"A better explanation of socialism versus individual responsibility I've seldom ever heard.  On which was our nation founded?  "
38 minutes ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service