Domain Query: The Brotherhood


Commenter Zarathustra had some germane thoughts to add to a recent post that I wrote about the benefits of learning how to beat other people to a bloody pulp with your bare hands:

Because in the beginning stages, when one gets his first licks to the head, liver, etc., there's this social conditioning that has to be overcome. This person who just caught me good and hard is not my enemy. He does not hate me. He is my friend or is definitely friendly. We are working together helping ourself and each other to get better at the art. Yet each millimeter of respect is earned, it's not given for free at all. Strong friendships are forged in the ring. And ya don't have to say some nonsense like "No Homo".

Just imagine if young boys roll or spar instead of insipid watered-down BS gym activities. Who knows, maybe we wouldn't have to spy these white boy poofters walking around town.

Our friend hits the nail on the head here. This perfectly encapsulates the reason why every man should study at least some form of contact combat from a very early age.

None of this is news to my brothers who read this and practice some form of martial art. This is for those who do not, and for those who have young sons and wonder how to train them to avoid the fecklessness, the dissipation, and the weakness that is so common among boys and young men today.

In order to ask why martial training is so important and so useful, we must travel back in time to a society of warriors that knew the answer to that question right down to the very marrow of their bones.

The ancient Spartans are often admired and referenced by many Manosphere writers- including me- when it comes to looking at how the ancestors of Western civilisation bred and cultivated masculine virtues within their citizens. The Spartan system of education was, by modern standards, extremely brutal- but it also emphasised a number of ideas and values that Western civilisation has since become far too soft and complacent to enforce.

Chief among these was the notion that a boy should grow up to have balance in his life. The agoge did not solely emphasise military training, but rather required Spartan males to acquire skills in a large number of different areas. Spartan boys were required to take lessons in reading, writing, philosophy, literature, the art of rhetoric and debate, and the cultivation of wit- the phrase "Laconic Wit" comes down to us directly from the short, dry, and precise puns and put-downs that the Spartans were trained to use and learn from a very young age.

The most famous of these phrases, the one that stirs the blood and fires the imagination of every red-blooded masculine man, is of course: μολὼν λαβέ - COME AND GET THEM!

This was the phrase uttered in defiance of all of the odds by the legendary band of 300 Spartiates, full-fledged citizens, who stood against the hundreds of thousands of the Persian army of Xerxes in their immortal last stand at Thermopylae. That phrase has gone down in the history of the West as a rallying cry uttered by men who loved their lands and their people, and who stood and fought and died for what they believed in.

Yet few ask how the Spartans got to that point. Few realise what it took for Spartans to bond as brothers and fight as a single unit in mortal combat. Few try to understand what motivated a mere handful of men to stand at the Hot Gates and fight one of the most pivotal and consequential battles in all of human history.

The answer is to be found in their insistence on martial training from a young age.

As Zarathustra points out above, when you fight with a man in the cage, within the ring, or on the sparring mat, you do not fight an enemy.

The Grandmaster of my martial arts school has dinned this into me from the first day that I put on boxing gloves as a greener-than-snot yellow belt in my first sparring class: fighting is NOT about scoring points. The man in front of me is NOT my enemy. If we are getting beaten up at slow speed at the hands of more skilled and experienced opponents, we are going to get beaten up far worse and more painfully if we increase the speed.

He has even applied those lessons to me, in quite brutal fashion, with his own two fists and feet. I once sparred with him for nearly 40 minutes straight, without a break. I took a true beating that day, and could barely stand after it.

There was another day when I was sparring with one of the instructors, a highly skilled and experienced black belt who nonetheless surrendered at least 15Kg of mass to me. He beat the crap out of me, and quite possibly broke my nose.

When I asked him afterward why he hit me so hard, he said to me, "You fight really heavy. Everything is really linear with you when you fight. Loosen up, be lighter on your feet, don't just sit on your punches and kicks like that."

I could have quit in a huff and refused to get beaten up anymore. That would have been a terrible mistake, because I would have ignored the lessons that my teachers were trying to give me.

Instead, I swallowed my pride, I sucked it up, I let my injuries heal a bit- and then I got right back on the mat. I took my lumps and learned from them. I changed my fighting style. I built my skills. I got better.

And while I am certainly no great fighter or martial artist, I wager that I can hold my own against the untrained idiot on the street.

For the untrained idiot has never had to take those lumps. He has never had to know humility delivered by the hands and fists of his betters. He has never had to understand the need to control one's temper and fight smarter rather than harder. He has never known what it is like to put his physical safety, indeed his very life, in the hands of other men intent on teaching him instead of killing him.

The art of fighting is much more than a merely useful skill- for it instills in a man a profound respect for those with greater skill, experience, speed, and strength.

The ring, the cage, and the mat are far more than mere training arenas- they are the crucibles that break down a man's preconceived notions about his own strengths and force him to face his own inadequacies.

The man in front of you beating you down is far more than your opponent- he is your teacher, your friend, your brother-in-arms, on a journey that you have voluntarily undertaken to make yourself better.

The process of becoming stronger, faster, tougher, more tolerant of pain and more compassionate toward the weak, is what builds a man's character. The training that he undergoes is a great equaliser between all men- for, no matter how rich or poor or tall or short he is, every man that steps onto the mat and learns how to fight has to start from zero, and build his way slowly and painfully upwards from there.

This is what creates the bonds of brotherhood, in a way that, really, only men truly understand. Women have a much more limited capacity for enduring the ravages of martial training, and most- not all- women have a very hard time understanding physical confrontation and conflict.

Women do not sort out their differences through physical confrontation. They do so through much more indirect means- through gossiping and back-biting and shaming and psychological games. That is all well and good, and it works for them- but it does not work for men.

Men use physical combat as a way of sorting out our differences. It is usually quick and always extremely effective at determining who is best. There is rarely any ambiguity involved. And because of this, it is possible for two men to trash-talk outrageously about each other before a fight, then step into the cage and absolutely maul each other during it, and finally walk out together and embrace as brothers afterwards.

Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald going to war in the cage
Less than two hours later, in the hospital together
That is why physical combat matters. That is why martial arts are so important to the development of young boys. It teaches them humility, respect, and the fact that physical strength is meaningless without control and compassion.

Six years ago, I had never thrown a punch in anger, I had no idea how to throw a kick, I had no clue what "groundwork" is, and I probably could have been beaten in a fight by a girl if she hit me hard enough in the right places.

Despite the strength and size and confidence that I had gained as a powerlifter, the reality was that I was weak. I was incomplete as a man because I did not truly know how to be part of something bigger than myself, to stand with other men in defence of something, or to pass on my hard-won and hard-earned knowledge to others.

Today, I stand proud and tall as one of a brotherhood of men who have hit each other, hard, and afterwards hugged and gone for a beer, who know how to teach others, and who have each been charged with guarding and cultivating the flame of knowledge that is our martial art.

We are blood brothers in a very real sense, because we have shared that most fundamental of male experiences- physical combat. And while we have certainly not done so with the intent to kill and wound, we have done so with the intent to learn.

My Grandmaster likes to say that martial arts is the ultimate method of human expression of the will and the soul. He is right, because putting a man into a fight where his very physical existence is at risk reveals everything you could ever want to know about him. It reveals every last detail of his character for the entire world to see.

Men who have spent years forging themselves, stripping away their insecurities and their flaws, accepting their failures with humility and grace, and becoming aware of the glorious and terrible Purpose that they hold within their hearts, are the kind that we need to train the next generation of sons.

Martial arts embodies many dualities: Pride in one's achievements combined with humility at the knowledge that there is always more to learn. Righteous anger combined with zen-like calm. Contempt for an untrained idiot combined with deep respect for a skilled opponent. Love of all that is important and good in life combined with hatred for those who would threaten such things.

Such is the Way, as the legendary swordsman Musashi taught us. Thus are warriors forged and unleashed; thus are our peoples and our cultures protected.

Comments

  1. Well said. And not just because of the mention.

    I imagine that those of us who come to read the content here also go to the same or similar sites for more content that speaks to things that are important to men. I have noticed that there is a bit of mission creep going on sometimes. Maybe because there seems to be nothing else to say, like it's all been said before. Going on about fallen women, various ethnic groups, which overlord is better for us, and whatnot.

    Tell you what though - the message in this post can't be repeated enough. Especially in these times. Know thyself. Forge thyself. Band together and form your tribes, makeshift though they might be. Keep fighting. Struggle is life. You will die, so LIVE!

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