Essential Reading Recommendations

 

Protector of the Small
by Tamora Pierce

Reported by Justicefavorsall

Warriors do not just rely on their physical capabilities. They also rely on their mental capabilities too. Books are a great way for a warrior to stretch his or her mind. The books I am presenting are fiction, however I believe they have good strategies and characteristics that all warriors should encompass. It is a quartet by Tamora Pierce called the "Protector of the Small" quartet.

It is about a girl named Keladry Mindelan who decides to try for her knighthood. She is the first girl in centuries to become a knight. The books show her progress from page to squire to knight. It shows how she and her companions work through differences, battles, trials, and tribulations. Brilliantly done, these books are worth the read.

A quote from "Lady Knight" (fourth book of the quartet):

" You know the enemy. When he comes, we will fight, not for some glorious cause, but to survive." - Keladry of Mindelan

 

"The Secrets of Self-Defense"
by Paul Wellard

Reported by daxx0r

A warrior is more than just someone with the ability to fight and follow orders. A warrior must learn what is needed of him in order to protect the helpless, and figure out what to do, even if all hope is lost and you're alone on the battlefield. But to survive that battle, or any other, you must still learn the art of fighting, and keep the knowledge you learn close to your heart at all times. Most ordinary people in today's society don't know how to fight. Therefore every warrior should read "The secrets of self-defence" by Paul Wellard.

The book is a perfect guide to learning moves, tactics, training tips, etc. for anyone who needs to learn how to fight. Despite the authors consistent reminders that you should not be the attacker, but the defender, there are many techniques for offence as well. The book is keen on describing different battle moves, not only from street fighting (which is the books main theme), but also martial arts and more. Paul Wellard gives easy to read descriptions, that are always easily understandable and often contains pictures showing how to perform certain moves. The book not only describes tactics for attacking (or counterattacking as the book often suggests...), but also contains many moves to block punches and keep yourself from being beaten down. The book also has a very clear emphasis on being merciful. Even though the book describes it as "not sinking to that scum bag’s level, and getting jail-time for it", it still teaches us that mercy is always the answer if available. Wellard also explains about different mental preparations, such as screaming, which will pack more power into your punches as well as scaring your enemy.

The book is however intended for self defence against thugs, and not for warriors. It does not teach the ways of following orders, protecting others, or teaching you to think on your feet. It has no descriptions of how to work as a team, or fight on a larger scale, such as wars. It contains almost nothing about weapons. It has a setting, which is quite negative. Wellard was (and constantly shows signs of it in the book) a former thug himself, and he does not hold back powerful statements, that can possible shock some people.

"The secrets of self-defence" is a great book for learning how to fight, physically and mentally with your enemy in order to prevail. The book is easy to follow and often has pictures to help explain the different moves, and tactics in the book. Beware though, that the book does not teach the ways of the noble warrior. It should not be used to set your mentality after (as the book follows Wellard’s mentality, who is still, at heart, a thug). The book should mainly be used to teach fighting techniques, and for that purpose, it is excellent. You can buy the book on-line and in some bookstores. If you are persistent, you may even find a PDF copy of it in-line, free of charge.

 

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
Translated by William Scott Wilson

Reported by Yasukage

The Hagakure is a book of proverbs, or collected sayings of one Tsunetomo Yamamoto as recorded by the scribe Tsuramoto Motazaemon Tashiro. Tsunetomo was a samurai who never once participated in battle and came into service toward the declining years of the samurai (in terms of need concerning martial work). Despite this, Tsunetomo’s collected sayings in the translation by William Scott Wilson are striking and somewhat antithetical to the consumer/businessman ideal of today.

Perhaps the most famous line from the book is the following:

“The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim.
We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaining one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.”

According to Tsunetomo, throwing away one’s life in service to one’s Lord or cause is the ultimate way to truly live life. It is this understanding that, at any moment, one may have to give up their life in battle or commit seppuku that fleshes out the underlying beauty in living. Hagakure also addresses issues concerning etiquette such as the following:

“It is bad taste to yawn in front of people. When one unexpectedly has to yawn, if he rubs his forehead in an upward direction , the sensation will stop . If that does not work, he can lick his lips while keeping his mouth closed, or simply hide it with his hand or his sleeve in such a way that no one will know what he is doing. It is the same with sneezing. One will appear foolish. There are other things besides these about which a person should use care and training.”

It is excerpts like this that add to the charm of Hagakure and further instills a very unique and powerful slant on the warrior way. Yukio Mishima in his book Yukio Mishima on Hagakure in Modern Life states the following:

“During the twenty years immediately following the war, Japan began to transform herself into exactly the condition that Hagakure had foreseen. There were no longer any samurai in Japan, there was no war, the economy was reviving, all was overflowing with a mood of peace; youth was bored. Hagakure, to repeat, is basically a paradoxical book. When Hagakure says, “The flower is red,” public opinion says, “The flower is white.” When Hagakure says, “One must not follow this course,” this course is exactly what the world at large is eagerly pursuing.”

It is not a stretch to incorporate such a situation with the youth of the United States and other countries as well. While it is easy to write Hagakure off as a bizarre book of propaganda or simple fanaticism (if such can even exist), there is no denying the strength and the mystery behind the mindset of confronting death as a warrior and the ability to grow through such a philosophy. When one embraces death, what is left to fear? Hagakure, in its wisdom brings such a question to the reader’s mind and, the reader permitting, urges the warrior onward to battle fields unknown to him before.

 

Seventh Son
by Orson Scott Card

Submitted by Private Brookie, Third Rank

The book in question this time is called Seventh Son. It is a nice fantasy book, with a interesting plotline and believable characters. A very important point it brings up though is a fundamental relation. It admits to the opposing forces of god and the devil, good and evil so to speak. However it brings up another set of forces: making and unmaking. In the book, the unmakers exists to destroy everything, until nothing exists whatsoever. It brings up the point that in religious texts the devil is always fighting for control of everything, yet not even he wants everything destroyed. The basic force of destruction, or the unmaker, would have everything cease to exist, everything destroyed so completely that it would be as if it had never existed. Thus in this book "makers" are people who oppose the "unmaker" by making things.

While I do not believe that there is a force out there deliberately going about attempting to destroy absolutely everything in this manner, it remains a fact the decay and destruction are most defiantly real. If we are not careful destruction could come about as quickly as if there was an intelligent force attempting to destroy all. The only was to oppose the natural force of decay is for us all to become "makers." We need to put aside our most destructive instincts and instead to to make things that will last, things that can stand up to the test of time and will be bulwarks against time itself.

I am afraid sometimes that if we do not all begin constructing rather than destroying, we may run out of things to destroy.

 

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
by Richard Carlson

Submitted by Private Brookie, Third Rank

This report is on the book titled "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson. I suppose it is a self help book, my friend lent it to me with instructions to read and think about it, having done so I wish to share it with the rest of you.

This book talks about how many people stress over so many things in life that could easily be avoided. I found that while I did not agree with some of the things in the book, for the most part they struck me as true.

He brings up things such as letting people finish what they are speaking, and not finishing their sentences for them. While this is something I consider a matter of courtesy, he show another point in that to interrupt someone not only can cause friction, but it also takes a lot of energy to anticipate what they are saying so much that you can finish their sentence, and that it would be much more profitable to use that energy to try to understand what they are saying.

Throughout the book he repeatedly says that rather than listen to radio talk shows that reflect your opinion, you should try listening to a talk show that reflects the opposite of your opinion, this way you might learn something new rather than just have what you think handed back to you. He also urges people to never become so entrenched in your position that you stop actually considering what the other side has to say.

I found that this book can really just be boiled down to a list of things to do that can help you have a smoother, more relaxed day, and while most of the things I read in it I consider common sense sometimes you need to see it in writing to remember it. I recommend that you take this book from the library, or if not that then buy it, read it, and pass it on to someone else when you are done.

 

 

Websites of Interest to Warriors

Soldiers' Angels
Report by SisterDawn

One of the most controversial topics today is the US-lead war in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it is my view that no matter one's politics or beliefs about the morality of the war, it is essential that we support our troops. I have recently learned about the organization Soldiers' angels, which puts this viewpoint into tangible action. I have signed up to adopt a soldier, and encourage you all to do the same, if you have the time and ability to commit to this. Let us support our fellow warriors on the front lines! The link is:

www.soldiersangels.org

 

Sergeant Boo-Yow's Obesity Boot Camp
Report by SisterDawn

Although training and maintenance of one's physical body is vital to a warrior, not all of us begin with the proper health and stature. I believe that this site is tailored to warriors who are beginning a mission to condition themselves. It certainly is useful for me, and I hope my fellow warriors will find it to be of assistance in their quest for healthy bodies and minds. The eight week program layout makes the site straightforward. Keep in mind that the creators of this site are proponents of a diet consisting mostly of raw foods. whether you hold to this teaching or not, it has useful lessons for us all. The link is:

Fruit Boot Camp


Health to us all!

 

Chivalry Today
Report by Brookie

Here is another website that I think alot of people would benifit by looking at. Once again quite a bit paladinny (that's spelt horribly) and I doubt the rogues would so much as touch it, however warriors should take time to think about it. I expand a bit on the ideas brought up on the website and use it a bit as an excuse to show some of my own views as well.

This specifically looks at a single page of a site. The address is http://www.chivalrytoday.com/Farrell/Business-and-Chivalry.html. This page just goes over some of the old knigtly virtues, and how they can be applied in life today. Warriors have a great need for this as they, well at least I know for sure I, tend to rush into situations and sometimes look for the easy way to succed. Warriors need to be able to focus on whether what they're doing is right or if it is just what they want to do.

The first of the virtues to be looked at is courage. This has its obvious point in that you need to have the courage to stand against those who are doing wrong and the courage to lead others into the future. However courage also applies to your own mistakes. You must have to courage to admit where you are wrong. You must be able to have the courage to do what is right even
if that will make others angry at you or cause you to lose prestige or status with those who are not happy with your decison.

Next comes Justice. This one is pretty simple. There are always rules and laws that try to tell you what is "right" but a rule cannot be made for every situation. You must decide for yourself if something is "just". The most obvious examples are in giving credit to someone else when they have done what you are being applauded for.

Then another simple one mercy. Mercy is sparing your fallen opponent. Letting them keep some honor or dignity rather than stripping them bare then stomping them into the dirt. Mercy is giving a quarter to the homeless person in the street. Sure they may deserve to be where they are but you
don't know what they have been through and it could make their whole day better just by sparing whats caught up in your pocket lint and will likely get lost in your room anyways. Mercy is doing to others what you would hope they would do in your place.

Then follows generosity. This is like the begger from the last one but bigger. Generosity is when you share what you have with those around you, even if you don't have much to spare. The site makes the point that is you are generous in buisness dealings and give a little extra then customers are much more likely to return to you. Generosity can be expanded to simple things like sharing your lunch with a co-worker who forgot his. This has very direct and visible rewards if you forget your lunch someday and that same co-worker is around and sees you plight.

Next is faith. This doesn't have to relate in any way to religion. Faith can simply mean faithfullness to those who put their trust in you. If you have habits of meeting deadlines and doing what you say you will then customers will trust you. This also frees you up from other duties. If you have faith in your employees and that faith is not misplaced then you don't have to keep a constant eye on them and are free to do other things.

Nobility is something that is often misunderstood. A true noble, and not someone who just holds a title, is someone who is chivalrous in all areas of their lives. It is alot easier to do whats right when there are people to watch you and critique you than it is to do what is right when you are alone with nobady around. Someone who does what is right when no one is watching is a true noble, someone who doesn't is just a pretender, no matter how pure their blood is.

The last virtue is something that is needed everywhere. Hope. Having a positve outlook on life not only helps you but also can overflow onto those around you, thus making everything, from the workplace to the bowling club, happier and brighter.

These virtues, if followed, can help you to become less of a brute who rushes into a battle and leaves destrution and hurt in their wake, and more of a warrior who fights with honor and valor, against all the enemies in the world.

 

Care2
Report by Brookie

The website is www.care2.com. It is a site devoted to helping the world a little at a time. The person who started this assignment must have been a warrior as the website leads people to do together much more good than they would be able to do alone. This is a noble effort in which the person who created the site leads everyone who joins in a combined effort to do good in the world.

The section I personally use is the "click a day" section. Here, for just a minute a day you can help the world a little at a time. There are eight sections but for some reason it only shows 5 on the home site. Once you click on the first one though it allows you to see them all along the top.
The sections are rainforest, oceans, big cats, primates, children, pets, stop violence, and breast cancer. If you just take a little time each day to click on each the sponsers of the site donate a little bit of money to each cause, and when there are 10,000 people clicking each day the little bits
add up. This part is completely free, there is no requirement to join the site or to submit any information whatsoever.

There are other sections to the website that I do not use. There is a section that you can use to send e-cards, a shopping section that you can order product from "green" companies, a section to keep you updated in the latest petitions to the white house which you can sign, and it even gives
you an e-mail account. Of course these functions of the website require that you submit information which you may not want to give out.

So you can help a little, by doing the click a day option, or you can help more by submitting personal information. I only help a little but even a little helps alot if you commit yourself and do it everyday. I personally have sponsered 47 children and made their lives better just by click each
day. If you do not want to give away personal information, which is perfectly reasonable, then you can at least help whoever created this site by giving their efforts meaning.

 



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