Warriors, Once, and Always

by Brian D. Hoffner

"In antiquity those that excelled in warfare first made themselves unconquerable. Being unconquerable lies with yourself; being conquerable lies with the enemy. Thus one who excels in warfare is able to make himself unconquerable, but cannot necessarily cause the enemy to be unconquerable. One who cannot be victorious assumes a defensive posture; one who can be victorious attacks. The combat of the victorious is like the sudden release of a pent up torrent down a thousand fathom gorge."

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Through history there have always been those tasked with the protection of their people, to maintain order, enforce laws, and fight the enemy. Whether they were centurions, knights, soldiers, or policemen, there were those who stood out, those who had something special. They were and they are the leaders, the strongest, the fastest, the best. They stand above the rest…they are the warriors.

Warriors are those who jump from the frying pan into the fire, not because they are without fear but because they feel they must. They do not choose the path of least resistance they choose the long uphill road to achievement. Warriors do not fear the fight, but they are disciplined in their work and in their life. They suffer and sweat to become stronger and better and they seek information to educate their minds. They are never satisfied and they constantly strive to improve. Warriors excel.

Who are these warriors? They are not everyone. They are not the entire army or the entire force of men. They are what I call the six per-centers. Historically only six percent of the entire force or army were those who actually fought with a vengeance to win the battles. The other ninety four-percent were reluctant participants and/or less enthusiastic combatants, and many were merely just there. Luckily the six per-centers were also there, to bring them together, lead them, by example, to victory. This unwritten rule of six per-centers can be applied to most armies, law enforcement organizations, and even private companies. Successful companies led by executive officers are typically the six per-centers and are driven by the same warrior spirit. Think about it. How many successful company executives do you see that are fat, sloppy, and unmotivated? Why is the company loaded with employees that are not self-motivated to climb the corporate latter?

The world is populated primarily with average people swimming in a sea of mediocrity. They are content to complete their workday, go home and lay on the couch and eat a bag of Fritos. They look forward to the weekend when they can lay on the couch and eat some more Fritos. There is nothing wrong with being one of those who maintain a life of mediocrity; the world needs them too. But, they are not the six per-centers. They are not the warriors. The warriors… they stand above.

Law enforcement is no different. Every division of a police department has those who stand out. From patrol through investigations to specialized units, there are those who are extremely good at getting the job done. Some of these officers are still un-satisfied with their role within the department and want to do more. They are the six percent that feel a need to do more, to be more and to take more risks. They want to be where the action is and where the fight will be. They have the warrior spirit within them. Where do these people go within their organizations go to become the ultimate warrior? In the army they make the progression through the Airborne Ranger, Green Beret, and Delta. A Marine may become Sniper or force Recon. In the Navy they are the SEALS. In the Air Force they may be Para Rescue. In the Police Department they are SWAT! They are tactical officers that operate in situations that require them to be warriors, warriors behind the badge!

What draws an officer to become a SWAT operator? Why do certain civilians want to be so much more? Is it testosterone? We know that those with higher levels of testosterone are aggressive, bold, and focused. According to Jim Dabbs PhD, Georgia State University, Those with high levels of testosterone "were always raring to take action, and they could become intensely absorbed in a task without becoming distracted." The more testosterone you have the more dominant you’re likely to be and the less crap you’ll take from others. Testosterone also helps you build muscle, burn fat, maintain strong bones, even grow a decent beard. So it is likely that testosterone has something to do with a one’s persona and it is certainly an "A Type" personality that excels as a tactical operator, but it is not testosterone only and you don’t have to be a bearded woman to be a hell of a warrior.

There is something deep inside the warrior that drives him, that pushes him and cannot be explained scientifically. It is not just spirit and desire, but an extreme level spirit and desire…a Warrior Spirit! Not everybody has the spirit of the warrior, but those that do are exceptional. There is an uncharted fraternity of these people. It is a very exclusive, one can’t just join, and one can be accepted into this fraternity, only; if they possess that intangible warrior quality - the right stuff.

It is an honor to be a member of this exclusive fraternity. I am a trainer of warriors and a student of warriors. I am blessed with the opportunity to train warriors, to learn from warriors, and to evolve with them. You would be hard pressed to find a smarter, more fit, more motivated bunch of thirty to fifty year old men and women on the face of this planet. Beyond the wonderful toys, that we call equipment is the company we keep and not the paltry sum that we earn that makes us rich. It is the people we know, the things that we accomplish, and how we feel about ourselves that truly makes us wealthy.

It is with a surge of adrenaline and pride when I have the opportunity to train with the best. As I teach, I will continue to learn because we all have much to share. Because of our characteristics, we will be offered challenges and opportunities. Because we are warriors we will not fear them. Teddy Roosevelt, the eternal warrior and fighting man, once said…

"The credit belongs to those people who are actually in the arena who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions to a worthy cause; who at best, know the triumphs of high achievement; and who, at worst, fail while daring greatly…so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

True warriors aren’t made; they are born to become warriors. They are a special breed with special character and the determination to be over and above the norm. A warrior’s destiny is inevitable. Once a warrior, always a warrior, it does not go away… Warriors, once, and always.



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Code of the Warrior

by Brian D. Hoffner

"Accept the challenges so that you may feel the EXHILARATION OF VICTORY!"

-George S. Patton                                         


There is a certain code that warriors live by. Living this code is certainly a challenge, but not without reward, and the reward is extreme. For many warriors it is an unwritten code that is a natural product of their being. Though this code may not have been specifically taught to all by some almighty warrior sensei, much of the code is passed from father to son through generations of rearing him to become a person that is a stronger, better version of the father himself. I remember the many lessons of my father, and they will stay with me forever. Much of the code comes from what makes the warrior in the first place; it is an innate product of the warrior, and it is very much the content of his character. Much like the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament that dictate how mankind shall live his life, the Ten Commandments of the warrior code is how the warrior lives, thinks, trains, and wins. The following are words to live by, literally.

Focus

This is a very broad and significant category. In order to be focused, one must be paying attention. All of our training will mean little if we do not perceive the things that are happening around us. It would be little comfort to know that I am a great shot as I lay in the pool of my own blood… if I had just been paying more attention I would have had the opportunity to do something. Referring to Jeff Copper color codes we must spend our days in yellow at a minimum. There is no room in today’s world for color code white, particularly as a warrior, so pay attention, remain in the present, live in the now. It’s the only place that anything is really happening. Focus is determination as well as composure. Sheer grit determination can carry us far and give us the winning edge; At the same time we must remain composed. We are expected to control the situation but we must first control ourselves. We must keep our emotions such as anger and fear, in check. The ability to win is 99 per-cent mental, the fight is 99 per-cent mental. Your brain will allow you to win or cause you to lose…You choose.

Think Ahead

Have a plan. Know what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and of course why. Think ahead, think of the "what ifs". Think about what you will do if the "what if" takes place. It’s difficult to put a plan into action when you do not have a plan to begin with. It should be noted that we are under no obligation to wait for the "what if" to happen before we act. It could be a situation that if we wait to see if it happens…its too late. We are allowed to act before the "what if" takes place as long as we act reasonably, and of course do not violate civil rights. We must be thinking "why" because it is our justification and we will be required to articulate that very point to the world. So as we stay focused…Think ahead.

No Whining

Take your lumps without whining. Nobody wants to hear it. Nobody cares. Whining makes you appear weak and if you do it enough you will start believing that you are weak. So don’t do it! It’s ugly, it’s shameful, it will earn you no respect.

Take Responsibility

We and we only are responsible for our actions. Just as we are responsible for every bullet that leaves the muzzle of our weapon. We are responsible for everything we say and every thing that we do. We are responsible for our own success or failure. Making excuses is kin to whining so take responsibility. It’s your life, own it! Or blame someone else for it…You choose again.

Don’t Take Any Abuse

Stand up to your foes. External foes are others who attempt to abuse us in one way or another, don’t let it happen. Foes who abuse or attack us physically are easy for the warrior to defeat. It is the sly dogs that attempt to abuse us mentally, beat us down a little at a time, that we must be aware of and defeat. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Even tougher, don’t take any abuse from your internal foes. What are they? They are the demons within us that prey on our being and try to make us under achievers, hold us down, and perhaps…destroy us. The lazy Demon will keep you from reaching your true potential. The Comfort Demon can prevent you from taking a risk that needs taking. Ego can make you take risks not worth taking. Satisfaction can impede your progress. Blind trust can get you stabbed in the back. Fear can make you freeze when you’re being counted on. Lack of fear can make you jump off a roof. Whoever or whatever your foes may be, whether external or internal, stand up to them…the cost is too great not to.

Just Do It

Hard choices temper our strength and our integrity; they make the difference between a life of mediocrity and a life of excellence. Choose the arena; don’t fear it. You know what is right, choose it and do it. It’s the right thing.

Keep Your Word

A warrior is only as good as his or her word. We build self-trust and trust in others by keeping our word. We earn respect and honor by keeping our word. If we say it, it’s as good as done. You could lose everything, but your word may never be taken from you. It is the one thing you cannot afford to lose…Keep it!

Keep Your Sense of Humor

Smell the roses along the way, have a good time in life. Be goal oriented, bust your butt to get there, but enjoy the road along the way. A sense of humor shows confidence and relieves stress for you and others. It makes the world go around just a little bit better.

Train to Win

You may be a member of a full-time tactical team that trains daily or Competitive club that meets regularly. Whatever your situation is you must train to win. We must give it all we’ve got each and every time we train. We operate as we train, therefore; if we train with less than one hundred percent; we operate and fight, at less than one hundred percent. Why give the edge to the bad guy? We must train the way we fight because we will fight like we train. Give it your best effort and do not practice improper technique. It takes hundreds upon thousands of repetitions to make a technique reflexive, then it must be maintained, or it will go away. Most skills will perish without practice. We know when we train physically we must train hard to make gains. When training physically or mentally; train proper, train hard, train to win, and train some more.

Discipline

A warrior is not afraid of discipline. A warrior is made of discipline. We must eat, think, sleep, speak, study, train, and act with discipline. As warriors we live a life of discipline. Let’s face it…without discipline, we are just a poor dumb slob swimming in that sea of mediocrity, and mediocrity is a dead end…it gets us no-where fast. Discipline will make all the right things happen.

Live with Passion, Fight with a Vengeance

Give it your all. Set your path, enjoy the scenery along the way, but if your path is crossed with the fight, fight with a vengeance. Losing is not an option. You only live once. Give it all you’ve got, nothing less, and make your mark. No regrets! You will sleep well at night.

Never, Ever…Quit!

No matter how tough. No matter how painful. Never, ever quit!
 

Summary

I have spoken of the lessons of my father and how this code is passed from generation to generation. I do not have a son to pass these lessons to, but my two daughters are tough, strong, smart, and quite prepared to conquer their own world. The world of warriors is not restricted to men. Woman have more barriers to hurdle but it must be done. Today’s soccer moms must be tomorrow’s warriors. As mothers become warriors they in turn pass it on to their children. I know my girls, in time, will pass much of what I taught them to their children. The lessons of a father to his children are a valued and treasured gift. The last lesson of my father I learned during his recent death. As he lay on his deathbed after a valiant and courageous fight against the unbeatable leukemia that eventually consumed his body he continued to show grit and determination. He refused to show pain or complain about his life’s end. He was concerned only of his family and determined to comfort us all. I learned so much from my father much of which is relayed through my training program. Perhaps the greatest gift my father gave me was the strength and perseverance he had his entire life and the dignity with which he died. Even in death my father was remarkable. Dad, you will forever inspire me to live the code of the warrior, thank you.

The code of the warrior is the content of your character. If you have practiced these Ten Warrior Codes most of your life than you probably have noticed that you are a bit different than most folks. It is OK to be different, not average, not treading water in the sea of mediocrity. It is good to be above the rest. That is why you are a warrior in the position that you are. You are the sheepdog not the sheep. The sheep will ridicule the sheep dog behind his or her back. But when the wolf is at the door the sheep flock to the sheepdog lest they bow to the mercy of the wolf and become wolf feed. So when they ridicule, when they criticize, just smile, and know, that you…the sheepdog, the warrior, can tear off the head of that wolf, whomever he may be, and spit down his neck, if need be.

Warriors, as you live your life, you will be a role model to many. Your children will respect you and aspire to be more like you as they mature. Your legacy will become theirs as they pass it on to their children. One hundred years from now no one will remember the car that you drove, the clothes you wore, or the house that you lived in, but if you had an impact on just one person, one life…then your life was worth it. Give it all you’ve got, live the code of the warrior.

"Don’t just dream of success… wake up and bust your ass to achieve it!"