I was wondering a couple things. First, what is your spirit animal? Second, which historical warrior do you imagine yourself as when you are attempting a PR? (I assume everyone does this, right?)
I thought this was a solid question for my first offering for 2011, as I dig animals, and the thought of channeling an inner animal makes total sense. I always remember the story of Creation; God created all the animals first, giving them all the best gifts like strength, speed, fur, claws and instincts. When it came to man, he realized he had given all the best gifts away and left nothing for Man…so to even it out, he made man in his image with the gifts of reason, compassion and intelligence…we got the short end of the stick.
Can you select your animal spirit? No.
If it was as simple as selecting your own animal spirit, we would be inundated with people who believed they were wolves, bears or lions. But that is not the case. Have you seen our society? Have you seen the masses? Most are more heavily influenced by the spirit of Krispy Kreme than wild animals.
The spirit animal selects the person. But how you do you know? How do you know what animal is protecting you? I think if you have to ask, you are not paying attention to the world around you. Our environment is an exciting and interesting, if you pay attention you will realize things happen for a reason. You just have to open you mind and close your mouth long enough to take advantage.
I was fortunate to learn my spirit animal at a young age, but I must admit I never envision an animal when playing or training. I also never envision a historical warrior when lifting weights or going for a personal best. But I do owe my approach to sport and I credit much of my success to one of the most dominant warriors of all time…the Samurai.
As a kid growing up in the 80’s I was a fan of Kung Fu and Bruce Lee movies and took martial arts. I was fascinated by the samurai from a young age. At the time, everyone was about the ninjas, throwing stars and black hoods, but I always dug the samurai. In my 3rd year at Berkeley, I was given the Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, the world’s most famous samurai. And this is when things got interesting.
In his book he wrote about The Way of the Warrior, also known as Bushido; the Samurai Code of Conduct. Musashi’s singular focus was martial warfare, and he wrote extensively about the mastery of the sword. He wrote about the Ichi Ryu Ni To or One School, Two Swords. The Samurai carried two swords tucked in their belts on the left side of their bodies, this was the mark of the warrior and the school of Ichi taught the practitioner to wield both swords in combat.
“If you practice day and night in the above Ichi school strategy, your spirit will naturally broaden. Thus are large-scale strategy and the strategy of hand-to-hand combat propagated in the world. This is recorded for the first time in the five books of Ground, Water, Fire, Tradition (Wind), and Void. This is the Way for men who want to learn my strategy: Do not think dishonestly. The Way is in training. Become acquainted with every art. Know the Ways of all professions. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters. Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything. Perceive those things, which cannot be seen. Pay attention even to trifles. Do nothing, which is of no use.”
For over one thousand years, the Samurai’s singular focus the perfection of killing. They dedicated their lives to training, physical exercise, study, mediation and perfection in whatever they did. I decided that if I could take a cue from the samurai and a page from the Book of Five Rings and apply it to football, I would be successful. My singular focus became training, eating and execution of my skills. The training became the path and the competition of practice and the game became the battle and test.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago…I traveled to Japan to visit with one of the oldest sword makers in Japan. For 750 years, spanning 26 continuous generations, this family has been making weapons in a tradition started when the samurai ruled over Japan. I was enlightened and humbled to take part in the forging of weapons that have been revered worldwide for thousands of years. It sparked a ton of reflection in my way and training and brought me full circle.
What is my spirit animal? Fire Dragon.
The dragon teaches us about transformation. His power is that of shedding its skin and emerging as a new, transformed being. Dragon uses magic from within to transform life. The Fire Dragon is both a creator and destroyer, he can move from calm and collected to explosive. He is their own worst enemy; does not always employ the best decision-making measures, and sometimes jump to the wrong conclusion. He also suffer from recklessness and quick tempers. Yet, when they do keep their temper, emotions, and rivaling spirit under control, they emanate a commanding influence on other people.
What is historical warrior has influenced me? The Samurai.