Originally appeared on Badlands Fieldcraft. -NCS

There’s been a lot of good discussion over at American Partisan and on the Brushbeater forum recently pertaining to groups, training, and the general frustration men are facing as some of them are trying to follow “the path.”

I’d like to focus on a specific concept: “The way of the warrior is in training.” I don’t necessarily mean training that you pay for, although that is certainly one aspect. Humbling yourself, seeking knowledge, and submitting yourself as a student to the experience and wisdom of others is certainly training.

Training is also anything that improves you. Anything that improves your mind, your body, your capabilities, your talents, your weaknesses. It’s all training. Training is self improvement in order to reach a higher version; an ideal version. This ideal version may never be realized, and that’s ok, it’s the pursuit of the ideal that’s important. That is “The way”. “The way” is also “The path”.

The saying isn’t “The way of the warrior is getting some training and calling it good”. It’s not about checking some boxes and just putting your feet up. I wish it weren’t true, but it doesn’t matter what you did, it’s what you’re doing now. Just because we did XYZ “back in the day” doesn’t mean we get a free pass to sit on our asses the rest of our lives.

Back in the day

I get the idea that some guys approach training like they are trying to make checks in their training check lists. Rifle training, check. Pistol training, check. While I certainly prioritize my time and money when it comes to training, I also don’t just do it as a check in the box requirement like mandatory safety training at work. All my training supports the goal of reaching the ideal that I’m trying to become.

There is a trap a lot of men get into. They start to worry about events or circumstances going on and they decide they need to get training to better prepare themselves. That’s very wise, but the problem is it puts them in the position of continually trying to justify the expense in time and money to themselves and significant others. It also sets them up for ridicule and confusion later if said situation doesn’t unfold the way they feared. It puts them in the position to have to question their intuition in seeking training in the first place. They are seeking training out of fear. I said it last year; I’m done making fear based decisions.

Imagine how it would sound if you asked someone conducting strength training why they train? Wouldn’t it seem a bit strange if their answer was “Because I’m afraid I might have to lift something heavy one day.” It seems like a lot of work and energy centered around one hypothetical event. In actuality you would get answers like “So I can be stronger, faster, healthier, better looking, etc.” They aren’t training out of fear of a possible event, they are training to better support their ideal vision of themselves. They train because they believe they are worth improving, and so should you.

Of course I say all this from the perspective of someone who is an admitted training addict. I choose to train because it feels good; it makes me happy. I train because it feels like it’s the right thing for me to do. I train for the same reasons an artist paints. More often than not, the training is tiring, stressful, uncomfortable. I don’t always succeed. Very few people would call some of the things I do regularly fun. But the ones that do, those are the ones who understand it’s not a hobby, but a way of life. An unprofitable profession. Sometimes I get a questioning look from some and that’s ok; it’s not their path, I wouldn’t expect them to understand. Wolves don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep after all.

Losing some sleep

For some of us, it’s just the path we’re on and we’re pulled down it by some unreachable ideal goal. When we stray from it, we feel it in our emotions and mood. When we’re on it, we can also feel that too. Perhaps that’s our subconscious communicating to us. The part of us that knows who we really are deep down, and who we really are supposed to be.

Get on the path and try like hell to stay on it. Your first battle will be with that part of you that is selfish and only concerned with comfort. It’s that part that tells you “it’s ok to quit, you gave it your all”. It’s that part that tells you “you’re good just the way you are” and “don’t do that, it’s dangerous!” I think it’s something that is passed down from mother to child in the womb, generation after generation, and nests in our subconscious. It’s there to take care of us when mom can’t. It’s a psychological survival apron string you’ll have to manage.

The next challenge to staying on the path will be those close to you; family and friends. You will have to maintain those relationships and obligations, yet still find a way to be on the path. Sacrifice what you need to to make it all happen. For me, I started going to the gym at night after the kids were in bed. That way I could work, spend time with my family, then when that was all done I could go train. It wasn’t convenient going to the gym at 9:30 at night, but that’s what I had to do.

Some of these people won’t understand why you’re changing and it will scare them at times. Simply explain to them that it’s who you want to be and it makes you happy. You have to approach this with a sense of gravity and a sense of purpose. At that point it doesn’t matter what political or economic, or other situation is happening. My idea of the perfect world still involves training.

Or they will be envious, and attempt to derail you or sow doubt. Don’t waste your time with these discussions. Some of the more controlling people will kick and scream and throw fits; they will accuse you of being selfish. All you can do is stay on the path. Don’t spend too much time on those who aren’t concerned with whether or not you are fulfilled and only concerned with the amount of control they have over you. Don’t waste your time and energy with that stuff.

On Groups

So what about groups? There’s often someone asking how to “find a group” or “start a group”. Or maybe they are frustrated because their group doesn’t want to train.

I think groups should only be made of like minded people who share the same goals and values. If someone doesn’t share those with you, then you’re not in a group. It’s now just an association.

If you find yourself in this situation, look no farther than yourself. Be the leader of the group you would hope to join. What qualities and capabilities would you expect from such a person? Try to live like that. Be an embodiment of what you stand for, and also a representation who you hope to be in a group with. If you’re a fat ass LARPer, do you think some former door kicker is going to want to get together and train with you? You have to walk the walk before you can convince other people to walk it with you.

You also need to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff and determine who is worth your time. I thought this article was an excellent description over on AP the other day of this exact concept. Figure out who is worth the time and who isn’t. Who is there to contribute, and who is there to LARP? If you’ve known these people for awhile, who has shown self motivation and improvement, and who hasn’t? In other words, who is on the path, and who isn’t? My time and resources get more valuable everyday, I don’t like them being wasted, and neither should you.

As you train and begin to follow your path, realize that others are doing the same. Eventually these paths cross and even parallel each other. It’s these intersections where you meet like minded people to “group” with.

That’s why you need to be putting your best foot forward and trying to be that leader and follower that you would like to be in a group with, they are looking for the same things too. Now you’re networking, and instead of sticking your face into a globalist information gathering tool and expecting results, you’re actually getting them.

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