Warrior Flow Combatives, as has been shown in a variety of columns (and most recently here and here), is a genuine martial system. Its combative principles constitute a seamless whole that at once develops the mental and physical dimensions of the human-person.
Ontology: The human-person is a spiritual oneness—most certainly not some kind of disembodied soul of the kind conceived by Neo-Platonists, Gnostics, and Cartesians. No, Warrior Flow’s is an incarnational ontology inasmuch as the person is recognized as an indissoluble unity of mind and body. Just as, according to the Christian perspective, Christ, the Second Person of the Triune God, did not inhabit but, rather, assumed the human body of Jesus of Nazareth, so too does Warrior Flow suppose that each and every person is a fusion of spirit and body.
Thus, training must begin and end with the person as he actually is.
Epistemology: This incarnational ontology is inseparable from the epistemology based upon it. As far as it goes, it’s not inaccurate to refer to this theory of knowledge as a form of “empiricism” (the position that knowledge derives from experience). Yet this label only goes so far, for since the advent of the modern era, empiricists—motivated, as they have been, to counter their rationalist rivals—have been all but obsessed with debunking innate and other species of a priori knowledge.
Because its representatives were driven by a set of philosophical and historical considerations peculiar to the cultural milieu within which they operated, empiricism in its early modern and Enlightenment guises was dogmatic. The “empiricism” underlying Warrior Flow is more akin to that of Aristotle (who was also a rationalist of a sort) than to that of John Locke.
So, while affirming the experiential essence of learning, Warrior Flow repudiates as the nonsense that it is Locke’s fiction of a tabula rasa: Locke’s doctrine that the mind is a blank slate prior to experience is of a piece of the same load of bullshit as that peddled by his rationalist boogeyman, Descartes, who said that the mind and the body are two fundamentally distinct “substances.”
In stark contrast, the 17th century Japanese Samurai Miyamoto Musashi memorably remarked:
“[T]here is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
Warrior Flow seconds this. This is why Warrior Flow instructors are really educators in the literal, etymological sense of the term. In the original Latin, the educator is one who “leads forth,” who “takes out,” who “raises up,” and “erects.” The educator educes, i.e. he summons to the heights of explicit consciousness the knowledge that the student, however inchoately or otherwise subconsciously, already possesses.
Philosophy of Learning:
Warrior Flow has an overall philosophy of learning. Yet it also appreciates how this philosophy assumes flesh, so to speak, within the specific circumstances in which an aspiring student of the martial arts finds him or herself.
Learning, first and most fundamentally, is not limited to formal education. This much should be obvious. Human beings are always learning, and they are learning by way of doing, by continuously interacting with the ever-fluctuating environments by which they are affected and which in turn they affect. Yes, the subject/object distinction that has been theoretically problematic for philosophers for the last 400 or so years is resolved in practice every moment of everyday as people contribute to the creation of the very environment that constitutes (at least partially) their very identity. Between self and “non-self” there exists an intrinsically synergistic, a dialectical, relationship.
Learning doesn’t always produce knowledge—if, that is, the object of knowledge is necessarily truth: People learn lies. They learn misinformation. They learn wickedness.
The goal of learning, clearly, is the securement of knowledge, and Warrior Flow is meant to provide students with knowledge of how to crush—logically, how to kill—those who, God forbid, would imperil them or theirs.
So, this is the first thing that any prospective student of Warrior Flow must know before he or she so much as considers the mere possibility of becoming an actual student. It is the first thing that must be unequivocally stated by any self-styled “self-defense” instructor of any system. Anything less is not just false advertising, but insidious false advertising inasmuch as it at once deprives people of a return on their investment (their money, hopes, energy, time) and potentially endangers them.
As a martial or combative system, Warrior Flow exists for no other sake than that of helping its students liberate from the layers of the lifetime of psychological and emotional garbage under which it’s buried the Warrior that lies within them.
Nor is there anything hyperbolic, sensationalistic, or otherwise figurative about its use of “warrior” talk. A real-world physical attack against a person is tantamount to an act of war inasmuch as such attacks can and have resulted in those against whom they are initiated being critically injured, paralyzed, tortured, raped, and killed. For this reason, the predator who sets his sights upon innocents marks himself as, not an “opponent”—this is not a sports-competition or game—but the enemy.
“The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win.”
People process information through the cognitive categories, the conceptual lens, that have been indelibly shaped by the experiences that they’ve endure. So whatever information educators provide to their students should always be framed in a way that accommodates this fact (even if, ultimately, in order to discombobulate, maybe to even revolutionize, their students’ standards and expectations). This is all of especial critical importance in the case of aspiring martial arts students.
Those who seek out instruction in the combat or warrior arts do so in order to manage their fears. This is most fundamental. There is a variety of other benefits that can be reaped from the study of this subject, but, in the final analysis, there can be no doubt that those who train in a martial art do so in order to own their fear.
This in turn means that the last thing they need is for their instructors—the very people to whom they turn to help emancipate them from the tyranny of fear that drove them to those instructors in the first place!—to reinforce those fears. Yet this is what occurs all too often.
For example, within some systems it is not at all uncommon for instructors to fill the already fevered imaginations of their students with tales and images of “prison-trained monsters,” massively muscular, super powerful, tatted up hardened convicts that are all but bullet-proof. There is more than one problem with this:
(1)That big, strong, predators exist is true, of course. However, the odds of the average person encountering one are miniscule to the point of being nonexistent;
(2)One needn’t fit the profile of the “prison-trained monster” in order to be a psychopath or otherwise predatory and, in fact, the overwhelming majority of sadistic bipeds are do not fit this profile;
The biggest problem with this approach, though, is that it has great potential to exacerbate students’ fears.
In other words, there is no need to belabor, and even less need to embellish upon, the brute fact that there are venomous scumbags on the planet. Rather, there is no need at all to adopt this approach when interacting with people, most of whom are already adults, who have already embarked upon the study of a combat art. They already know about the dangers that exist. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have decided to pursue martial development in the first place!
Thus, any system worth its salt will focus upon reminding its students at every turn, if not always in word, than during training, that the monsters among us, even if not human in the normative sense of that term, are nevertheless members of the homo sapiens species like anyone else.
This means that they are mortal.
If the most asocial “prison-trained monster” in the world can be touched, and touched even by the smallest and feeblest of elderly women, he can be killed.
And killed by her.
There are no supermen here. No one is invulnerable.
Self-styled martial or combat instructors need to fill their students’ heads with, not just the thought, but the conviction, that he or she can become—no, is already becoming—the stuff of the nightmares of the worst of the worst. If a person can learn one thing, he or she can learn another. If a person can learn how to become a “prison-trained monster,” say, then another person can learn how to become sufficiently ruthless so as to remove, without a second’s hesitation and with all of the brutality imaginable, such a monster who attacks him or her from the land of the living.
The message needs to be—and this is what it only ever is within Warrior Flow—that in the real world invincibility is reserved only for God. The bad guys are susceptible to every conceivable agony that they reserve for their targets. And this is bad news, this is terrible news for them if they victimize an otherwise law-abiding, peace-seeking student of Warrior Flow who some villains think they’re going to victimize.
Yeah, there are evil, dangerous people on Earth. Well, isn’t that the whole fucking point of training in a system of combat? Why continually harp upon it? Within Warrior Flow, this is the problem that doesn’t need to be stated. Each and every self-protection system that purports to be anything of the sort is predicated upon it. The solution that Warrior Flow prescribes—that it embodies—is what it spends time upon, and the solution is to make as many good people more dangerous than the evil.
Most fundamentally, then, self-protection instructors need to know the psychology of their students. They need to know that successful teaching is a matter of accommodating the psychological needs and desires of their students, for the information that they supply is inevitably going to be filtered in terms of these needs and desires. And this, in turn, means that what is said and how it is framed will make all of the difference between whether a student succeeds or fails—both as a student and, potentially, in real life where the difference could be one between life or death.
More on Warrior Flow’s philosophy of learning and how it stands apart from other systems in a future article.