I’m doing a weekly Zoom in which I discuss principles and other philosophical aspects of Aikido with several other practitioners. One of the topics we keep coming back to is warriorship.
In the news this past week, I read that a U.S. army sergeant has just been become the first woman to become a Green Beret. I cannot help but be thrilled by that. Women can, of course, succeed in programs that are designed for men, even physical ones.
But while I know that Green Berets and other special forces are intended as elite combat troops and therefore expected to have intense physical skills (ones usually associated with very strong men), our Aikido discussions make me think real warriorship has little to do with that level of physical ability.
Common Japanese words for martial arts are budo (the way of war) or bushido (the way of the warrior). But bu, usually said to mean war, can also be translated “to turn the spear,” which means it has a connotation of protection or defense. That opens up a different way of thinking.
As I began to study martial arts, I found myself drawn to the concept of being a warrior, of being the person who would stand her ground, protect others, fight for those who needed me. And, of course, to be a woman able to walk the streets or travel on her own.
That is, to be a woman who was not afraid of men. Continue reading “The Way of the Warrior”…