I believe that knowledge is the truest form of power. This belief has driven my achievements since childhood. Becoming a black belt is a strange goal for me. The more I know about the art, the more I have to learn. Yet, the more I learn what it means to be a black belt, the less I know. Does this seem like a strange statement to you? Anyway, visiting your web site answered some questions, collected some thoughts, and settled some anxieties. I appreciate your views of how a “warrior” should be perceived, because it doesn't carry the “brute“ attitude as much as it carries the “duty“ attitude. As a Navy Corpsman, I was considered a “non-combatant”. I was never sent to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, but I served in a hospital that lost over 60% of its manpower. Was I a warrior? For every fight I can remember, there were hundreds that I backed down from. Does that make me less of a warrior? I am a medical professional who has accepted the standard of “first do no harm”. I am not against the warrior attitude because (like Colonel Jessup suggested) I WILL pick up a firearm and stand a post if you push be past my limit. I just may have a different set of values as the “warrior” types I have encountered (most of whom may have been merely “posing”).
The warrior spirit is something Americans seem to have lost. Warriors are not killers, they are just ordinary people who are willing to fight for what is right. If the fight means they may die in the effort, then so be it. Americans seem to think that everything in life should be peaceful and uneventful. No matter what happens, if it doesn’t happen to them directly, they just ignore it and continue with their lives as if nothing had happened. Then when something does happen to them, they blame others, expect others to fix it, and then they continue as before, oblivious to reality. The public does not know much about warriors, since true warriors do not seek recognition; they just do their duty and fade back into obscurity (except for John McCain). The posers and pretenders flaunt their supposed warrior status so this influences the public opinion of warriors. Warriors need to step out of the darkness and reeducate the public.
Corpsman is an undervalued rating in the Navy. Many in the Navy consider corpsman as just another rating; however, Marines have the highest respect for corpsman. Even though corpsmen are not combatants, in every war, they have received many of the highest combat awards for bravery. The first thing the toughest, bravest Marine yells for when he is wounded and in the line of fire is, Corpsman!
ll new sailors think it the greatest thing in the Navy is to be a chief and enjoy all the benefits of being a chief. For those who hang in until they make chief, after they do make chief, the benefits do not seems so much better than those of a first class. After they make chief, they find there are more responsibilities than there are benefits and they suddenly feel lost and overwhelmed by the sudden great responsibility placed upon them. The same is true in making black belt. By the time you finally get it, it is not that distant, lofty goal anymore; you begin to see it as just the next belt level but one that has responsibilities not expected of lower belts. Since you are new at dealing with the responsibilities, you find yourself feeling like a beginner again and feeling humble and lost. Just as you saw with chiefs, where some were E-7s, some tried but came up short, and a few were real chiefs, some black belts think the black belt makes them, while others know that they must live up to the level of black belt for it to have any true meaning.