What Differentiates a Warrior from a “Warrior-Healer?”
For the most part in Western culture, warriors get a bad rap in the morality department. They may be interesting to watch on a T.V. program like, “Vikings,” but you would not really want to be one, or have your sister date one. Warriors draw blood, take life, and generally cause a lot of disruption in communities. They act too often act on their own behalf, using violence as a method of intimidation, control, and oppression.
This conception is quite different from most other global cultures. Many Indigenous, African, and Eastern cultures have very different connotations when it comes to what warriors are. We can broaden our cultural perspectives about what a warrior is by adding this hyphenated word; “Warrior- ‘HEALER’.”
What differentiates a warrior from a “Warrior-Healer?” Traditionally, a Warrior-Healer is not a fulltime soldier. They often contribute to the greater good from skills other than fighting. It could be hunting, farming, craft trades, etc. It is only when the community calls upon their fighting skills that they come into action specifically as warriors. This does not mean they do not regularly train for battles, but that is not their only activity.
Another distinction is that they have learned the “flip side” of their fighting arts. They have trained in some modality of healing, simultaneously with learning how to destroy a human. In the Eastern martial arts, many of the sensitive points that are used as points of attack can also be used for healing — when worked correctly and to that effect. For example, in some systems of Jujitsu, when a person achieves an intermediate rank, they begin to learn Shiatsu massage or acupressure, using the same points they learned in causing opponents pain. As a Warrior-Healer, I have learned and train others in Qigong to defeat an attacker, or to help heal another human being. “Qi” is a neutral energy that can build up or tear down. We need both.
A Warrior-Healers primary goal is to holistically protect their community. This (unfortunately) at times may include harming or even killing others who seek to destroy and harm their community. Yet, the 90 % of the time the community is not in crisis (or is recovering from crisis) they actively work to heal and build up that community by “any means necessary.”
Anyone of any age, or gender can be a Warrior-Healer. Elders and youth can learn to both discipline their bodies to defend, and learn methods to heal their communities. The key way we heal communities is through example, through modeling. We set a positive example in leading fruitful, peaceful, and helpful lives that others can respect and emulate. Most of us are like toddlers — we mostly imitate what we see, good or bad.
Are you a Warrior-Healer? Do you exhibit some of these 4 common characteristics?
- You Are Empathetic to the Needs of Your Community: You are not only running your own game; you think about how your individual actions affect the whole. When your community suffers from a loss, you feel it. If a young man is shot, or a woman is beaten by a partner, or a fire decimates a building, you care. You do what you can with what you got to help. You have the heart of a Warrior-Healer.
- You Act Courageously for Your Community: When challenges hit the community, you are there. You speak out, stand up, call someone up, encourage others in the challenge. You are a person of action, not just talk. Worse yet, not just “like” or “share” something on social media. You are willing to get off your couch, get 3D in someone’s face, and get your hands dirty.
- You Have Been Wounded in a Specific Way and Heal Others from That Wound: Many Warrior-Healers have been wounded in a specific way. You may have been a victim of violence who helps others heal from that. You may have been involved in a gang and help others get out from that. Some of the most powerful “Warrior-Healers” I have met was when I worked with Homeboy Industries, where I saw many ex-gang members help heal others to get them out of that dead end cycle. You alchemized the blood of your wound to be a healing balm for others with similar pain.
- You Perfect Your Craft of Defense-Skills and Healing: You train in skills that can help heal you, others, and your community. You train in skills that can help protect you, others, and your community. These skills maybe traditional martial arts, or they could be accounting, law, media, healthy cooking, writing, whatever. You invest in your training through time and sweat so you can help heal and protect you, others, and your community. You do not slack.
In these times of disruption, change and chaos, ALL communities need to revisit the traditional paradigms of Warrior-Healers. So many communities are being targeting for institutional and state violence. So many communities are lost in a futile cycle of infighting. So many communities have lost sight of the rich heritage their ancestors laid for them, often through aggressive colonization or just plain neglect. Cultivate your cultural roots as a Warrior-Healer.
It is time for us to pick up the mantle of a Warrior-Healer! Each one is unique, because each of their wounds are unique, as well as their path to healing. Is there an elder or mentor that you can learn from? Are their people with less resources and experience that you can help with your example? If everyone in every community took up the mantle of being a Warrior-Healer, this world would be transformed overnight. Do we really have time to wait? Respect to all those numerous Warrior-Healers who are on the frontlines healing themselves and others. May God’s protection, healing, and blessing be upon us all.