By Oliver Whaley
This site is here to bring knowledge to help those in training, but also to bring out the true warrior in each of us. Here's a little bit of thought that may help you in your quest to train like a warrior and perform like one too.
What is a real warrior? What does it mean to be a warrior? As I think about this a story comes to mind. When my mother’s grandfather, Jones Sombrero (Navajo Indian), was in his mid-teens or so, he had been out with his brother away from his family’s camp. While away, they spotted a group of raiding Ute warriors on horseback, they were headed towards the family camp. At the time the U.S army enlisted the help of the Ute’s in the war against the Navajo’s, paying money for each scalp they would bring in. The men of the village had left earlier to hunt wild game, leaving the young men such as Jones and his brother in charge of protecting the family. The boys knew what their responsibility was and weren’t afraid to do it. They waved down the Ute warriors and caught their attention. Upon being spotted they began to be pursued by the Utes. As they ran, leading the Ute’s away from the family camp, Jones was shot in the abdomen (Gun not arrow…lol). Quickly he grabbed a piece of cactus and stuffed it in the wound to stop the blood. After leading away the Utes they approached a cliff they knew was nearby. When they reached the cliff, the two boys jumped, landing in the sand dunes below (it was a pretty high cliff). When the Ute’s came to the edge of the cliff all they could do was throw stones and roll rocks off at the boys who were hiding below. After awhile, they finally left, and the family was safe. The canyon were the cliff is located is now called Jones Canyon after my great grandfather.
My great grandfather and his brother knew what they had to do, they were ready to do it, if they had fear, it didn’t show, because they overcame it, and they performed their duties under pressure when it needed to be done most. My great grandfather and his brother were also smart, they knew they couldn’t fight the Ute warriors, they were outnumbered, but they could divert them away from the family camp. They knew the land, they knew were the cliff was, they knew what was at the bottom of the cliff, so they were able to make a quick decision and carry it out. Even with the pain of my great grandfather being shot, they didn’t give up, but finished their duty. They could have easily let fear overcome them and decided there was nothing they could do for their family and let the Ute’s continue on. Or they could have wasted time trying to figure out what to do, instead of acting quickly on instinct from their knowledge (of the land) and experience (warrior training). Or after being shot, my great grandfather could have rolled over and given up. Thinking he was in too much pain, that he had tried his best, and there was nothing more he could do. Except hope that by begging for mercy the Ute warriors would not slit his throat and take his scalp. But they didn’t do that. They were raised to be warriors, to take some pride in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities as men. And to have courage in doing it, overcoming any fear they might have, while using their knowledge, experience, and instinct to act, and act quickly when needed. And at times overcoming pain and pushing on until the job was done.
Those are warrior qualities. We don’t live in the 1800’s where being a warrior was just a part of surviving everyday (a reason to be thankful for the times we live in). But we all face our own challenges in life and in sport also. It is being able to prepare smart by training smart, both physically and mentally (mental preparation often sets great warriors apart from others). Being able to overcome the temporary pain that is sometimes associated with hard work. And then being able to have confidence in our preparation, to have courage in our ability to perform, and to overcome any fears that we might have, and then going out and being able to perform under pressure, making adjusts and acting on instinct when needed, and then succeeding that makes us a real warrior. A modern-day warrior. Let us all strive to prepare like a warrior and to perform like one too, especially when it counts the most.