To my last article, “What is Warrior Flow,” I received emails from admirers and critics alike. In some instances, the author of the email was both an admirer and a critic.
But it is to one objection in particular, one that, owing to the fact it is the most blatant of non sequiturs, I was initially inclined to ignore altogether, that I decided to reply in this essay. Since my exposition of Warrior Flow was published at a site that is known for the vigilance with which it seeks to safeguard (as much as it is within its power to safeguard) the liberties of Americans against abuses by an all-too powerful government, this criticism invites a word or two in response.
Objection: Since Warrior Flow is founded by a retired Lieutenant-Colonel of the United States Marine Corps who, as such, made his living engaging in acts of violence as an agent of the State, Warrior Flow is deserving of suspicion.
I too take to heart General Eisenhower’s warning against, what he called, the “Military-Industrial-Complex.” And I have been critical myself of the Cult of the Soldier and the dubious enterprises upon which the United States government has embarked the military. Against the State: An ... Best Price: $5.02 Buy New $5.52 (as of 11:35 EST - Details)
Nevertheless, and as I indicated above, skepticism concerning the purposes for which the military has been utilized at any given time has absolutely zero relevance to the question of the worth of Warrior Flow. It is either the inability to follow the most rudimentary logic or (which I think is more likely) the unwillingness to do so that could lead a person with an IQ above room temperature to reject a martial system(!) because it was founded by someone who served in the military.
There’s much more that could be said here that space and time constraints preclude. For now, though, suffice it to say that it is precisely because Senior-Master Al Ridenhour also rejects Statism that he founded Warrior Flow in the first place. It is worth quoting him at length. The following is from his blog:
“I remember a recent email exchange I had with Prof. Brad Steiner President [founder of American Combato and member of the International Combat Martial Arts Federation], where he was discussing this whole “Sheepdog” versus the “Sheep” mentality that has permeated law enforcement and military circles. Basically, there is a philosophy out there that folks in those communities have adopted where they in law enforcement are the “Sheepdogs” protecting the sheep from the wolf, and that everyday civilians are the sheep to be protected by them. And that it is their responsibility to protect all of the “helpless sheep,” etc. Brad called BS on the whole notion and I’m in total agreement with him because as he stated, it’s just a bunch of ‘statist’ bullshit where they presume that they and only they are capable of standing up to evil etc….
“Let me be very clear here! You and I have every right and a moral obligation to not only protect our lives but our loved ones as well and you are not required to give up that right just because you’re not a cop. Nor do you give up the right to defend your nation just because you’re not in the military [or if you have even] …never served.
“Me personally as I tell folks when they ask me about all of this “sheepdog” stuff I basically tell them,
‘Listen I really don’t like that analogy. I mean I get it and understand what they are saying but let’s get something straight. The Sheepdog works for the rancher, not the sheep, because he knows if the wolf kills any of the sheep he doesn’t eat that evening. Now me? I prefer to make people into Lions or Lionesses, you know why? Because neither wolves nor sheepdogs hunt Lions.’
“In a world, of sheep, sheepdogs and wolves be a Lion!”
This quotation from Master Al is almost entirely unedited. The bold-faced type and italics are his. I only added for the reader’s benefit a brief description, in brackets, of Professor Bradley Steiner, Master Al’s email correspondent and a first-rate instructor of World War II close-quarter combatives himself.
Readers can see for themselves that Master Al, far from being a “Statist,” is committed to deploying his nearly four decades of martial arts experience toward the goal of undermining the Sheep-Wolf-Sheepdog paradigm that prevails amongst law enforcement and military professionals. And he seeks to achieve this end exactly because he rejects the dominant model as Statist.
It is crucial that liberty-lovers specifically grasp exactly what it is that’s happening at this moment: While Warrior Flow as a system is indeed revolutionary as far as the world of martial arts goes, so too is its founder motivated by what can aptly be called a “Spirit of Revolution” insofar as he is driven by a desire to shatter what ultimately amounts to an anti-American Zeitgeist (the Doctrine of the Sheepdog) by empowering American citizens of whatever circumstances to reclaim their birthright and assert their God-given right to defend themselves.
To defend themselves.
In stark contrast to most self-styled conservative and libertarian theorists and pundits, Master Al is singularly focused not only upon convincing others that they do indeed have the right and the duty to self-protection and the protection of those who can’t protect themselves.
He as well is consumed with helping people to do just that.
In other words, Thomas Jefferson, the man who wrote that “the Tree of Liberty” requires the “natural manure” that is “the blood of patriots and tyrants;” Patrick Henry, who made explicit his preference for his own death (and, implicitly, the death of his oppressors) if he was denied his liberty; George Washington, General George Washington, who led the colonists in killing the enemy until Americans had gained their independence—if any of these men and their brothers-in-arms could weigh in on the present generation, can there be any question that they would be far more partial toward Master Al than they would be toward the legions of “conservative” and “libertarian” media personalities and think tank wonks? Anatomy of the State Best Price: $8.12 Buy New $4.75 (as of 07:55 EST - Details)
The question is rhetorical (but the point is that much more telling when it is considered that Master Al, being black, could have had ancestors that any of the Founders could have owned).
Conservative and libertarians (as well as most people) pay no small supply of rhetorical homage to “personal responsibility,” the Founders, the Constitution, natural rights, and so forth. Yet because the intellectual life of the West continues to neglect essential aspects of the human condition, particularly those that intellectuals (and pseudo-intellectuals) find unpleasant and/or unworthy, these commentators rarely if ever pursue the logic of their rhetoric to its inescapable conclusion:
Personal responsibility, a God-endowed right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, etc.—the indispensable preconditions for these goods are the ability and the will of individuals to defend themselves and other free agents who are threatened by those who would prey upon them.
Master Al, along with his instructors in Warrior Flow, have invested their lives into helping their fellow man (and woman) actualize their inner warriors. They are committed to helping those who value liberty realize that liberty in their own lives.
Not only is this not the stuff of Statists.
Warrior Flow is the stuff that should be feared by Statists.