For as outrageous, as evil, as it is, from the Attack on America of 2020 that is unfolding in cities and states around the country some good has come.

First, given the abruptness with which it’s been upstaged by domestic terrorists, the COVID-19 “Pandemic Crisis” can now be seen for the contrived crisis that some of us have always insisted that it was.

Second, when conjoined with their enthusiastic endorsement of the indefinite internment of the country, Democrats’ equally enthusiastic endorsement of the ubiquity and savagery of the violence that otherwise “peaceful protesters” have visited upon civilian populations will surely drive more people to vote them out of office.

Third, the grisly spectacle of police being overwhelmed, of the erasure of the Thin Blue Line, has compelled exponentially more law-abiding Americans to assume responsibility for their own protection.  The COVID Internment gave rise to an astronomical increase in gun sales during the months of March and April.

Yet now, within no more than a week (as of this writing) of endemic lawlessness and violence, gun sales have already surged by 80%.

It is this last point on which I’d like to focus here.

While conservatives and libertarians are correct to note the importance of the Second Amendment and the right of citizens to own guns, little, if any, mention is made by these same commentators of the need for cultivating a genuinely martial spirit, the mindset needed for insuring the incapacitation of the bad guys before the bad guys have a chance to incapacitate the good guys.

A gun is a great equalizer, for sure, but neither the possession of a gun nor even handiness with one is sufficient when confronted by determined, vicious attackers.  Essential to self-defense is a mindset that the combat art of Warrior Flow refers to as “ruthless intent.”

Ruthless intent.

Founded by United States Marine Corps Lieutenant-Colonel Al Ridenhour, a combat veteran of both wars in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan and a marital artist of some 40 years, Warrior Flow is designed for one ultimate purpose.  It is meant to equip law-abiding citizens with both the physical ability and the will to “kill the bad guys,” as Master Al puts it.

Being devoid, as it is, of all moral relevance, I nevertheless, given the racial character of the present conflagration that is the inspiration for this essay, feel compelled to mention that Master Al is also black (and spent his childhood in a New York housing project to boot!)

“Martial” means “of or pertaining to war.”  Warrior Flow is a martial art in the literal and original sense of the term: Its students train for life-or-death situations, i.e. war.

In Warrior Flow, there are no uniforms, no aesthetically impressive, but essentially impractical, moves.

Training in Warrior Flow is most emphatically not training for contest or sport fighting.

Practitioners don’t train, in other words, to confront opponents in matches.

They train to crush enemies, those who would prey upon them, their loved ones, and other innocents who may happen to be in their presence.

Training in Warrior Flow certainly involves training in weaponry (like firearms), but it is principally centered in the perfection of one’s natural weapons, one’s body.

While gun owners may scoff at the notion that any training in hand-to-hand combat is necessary when a gun can get the job done with far greater ease, this observation, though accurate as far as it goes, goes only so far, for the point is that, as Master Al is wont to continually remind his students, “Just because you have the most impressive and effective of tools, this doesn’t make you a carpenter.”

As one illustration of this principle, Master Al brought to my attention that the Marines still train with bayonets.  Obviously such training has nothing to do with any expectation that they will have to use them for actual battle, for this mode of warfare has long since gone the way of the dinosaur.  The reason, rather, is that the more habituated one becomes to the idea of charging the enemy and driving a bayonet straight into his throat, the more ready one will be to drop the enemy with a rifle from a distance.

Training in the use of bayonets cultivates the mindset of ruthless intent.

Ruthless intent is the mindset of the Warrior.  Miyamato Musashi, an undefeated Japanese Samurai Warrior who lived nearly five centuries ago, provides us with as concise and clear a summation of ruthless intent as any when he instructs aspiring warriors to “attack with the spirit of terror and death.”

Continuing, he writes:

“In the span of a single breath, crush your opponent’s courage and cause him to tremble.  Resolve in your heart to win under any circumstances and do not stop until the opponent is lying dead at your feet.”

Musashi concludes:

You must be direct and powerful and strike with speed and death.”

So how does a decent, civilized, law-abiding citizen cultivate ruthless intent?  Like any other virtue—and, yes, despite the idea espoused by some combat instructors and theorists of war that combat is somehow “beyond good and evil,” ruthless intent is a moral excellence, for it maximizes one’s chances of victory over the purveyors of evil who would attack innocents—the cultivation of ruthless intent requires training.

Space constraints preclude a more thorough analysis here.  A few brief remarks may suffice for now:

It is critical to develop constructive “self-talk,” as Master Al refers to it.  The idea of self-talk, of having the courage to delve within oneself, to dredge up one’s implicit beliefs and prejudices, and to vigorously challenge them also happens to be one and the same idea as that at the heart of Albert Ellis’s, “Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.”

All of us, to some degree or other, possess fear.  Fear that is rational is both inescapable and good, for it alerts us to danger and keeps us alive.

Yet fear that is irrational is a plague.

The fear that most of us have—and that we’ve been brainwashed into having—is irrational. This fear in large measure stems from two things: (a) the moral ambiguity that’s been instilled in us regarding good, evil, and the employment of violence; and the consequent (b) lack of confidence in one’s own abilities to defend oneself against predators.

We’ve learned to have these thoughts, and our minds have, accordingly, conjured up scary images to go along with them.

But just as we have learned them, we can unlearn them, and adopt in their stead new thoughts and images.

Warrior Flow encourages students to reimagine themselves, to recognize in themselves their own self-worth as children of God who, as such, have an inalienable right to defend themselves by whichever means necessary against anyone, irrespectively of race, ideology, and whether or not the gutter snipes who would prey upon innocents have the backing of political, academic, entertainment, and media elites.

Ruthless intent, which is the “perfect clarity” and “moral certainty” into which Warrior Flow students are educated, is discriminatory, yes, but it discriminates between only two groups: It discriminates in favor of good people and unequivocally against bad people.

Bad people—those who unleash violence against innocents—are not opponents; they are the Enemy.  Warrior Flow, via training in ruthless intent, fashions the law-abiding and the peace-loving into warriors whose aim is nothing more or less than the incapacitation of the uncivilized and violent by whichever means necessary.

Ours is a violent world.  The events of this past week are a reminder of that.

Decent people need to defend themselves and one another.  We increase our odds of doing this when we make it our aim to change ourselves into warriors, into men and women who have both the ability and the will to turn the predators into prey.

 

 

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Martial Arts as War (MAW) and Martial Arts as Sport (MAS)—these are the two paradigms that, by and large, define the contemporary universe of the martial arts. Or so I have argued in previous essays. Now, it’s true, of course, that—as my own Master-Instructor observed to me in one of our countless conversations over this […]

As I was at pains to show in a previous essay, far too many self-defense instructors within the world of the martial arts ignore the contextual considerations that inform every training modality. There is, however, one system that recognizes that—to paraphrase Pindar, the lyric poet quoted by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus—context is king. The […]

In a previous essay, I noted that the vast majority of human beings, irrespectively of their circumstances of place and time, uncritically embrace whatever the prevailing paradigm happens to be. As long as “the Experts” inform (or misinform) them of X, they, without thinking twice, accept that X is indeed true. Matters are no different […]

The idea of systemic racism is one that has been critiqued in this column in the past. That being said, it is worth noting that if ever the case for systemic racism could be made, it is now, in the era of COVID as Social Distancing protocols, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates have been imposed […]