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The Way of the Warrior (1995 version)

One of the purposes of my website ( and this blog is to share different models of the warrior spirit and the warrior path.

In this second article of this blog, I share with you a text that I wrote in 1995. For a modelling assignment that was part of my certification as a master practitioner in neurolinguistic programming. I had been following the Warrior path through Kyokushin Karate and its budo orientation for 25 years. I have modified some parts of this text, but I have kept the spirit of the text intact. It still respects some of the beliefs I had at the time of the Budo path. I remember writing this text in the office of my karate dojo in Rosemont, Montreal on Beaubien Street.

The archetype of the warrior is a force present in the mythology and the collective unconscious of human beings. There are many dimensions of the warrior and different cultures bring their own interpretations, experiences and beliefs to it. Some versions are antithetical and others complement each other. It is up to us to find the right guides, mentors and people to help us walk this path efficiently. Contrary to what we may think, the way of the Warrior is not at all a solitary and individual way. We will come back to this aspect in another article.

My definition of the warrior

The warrior, as I define it, is a man or woman of power and action. He is guided by his vision, which like the North Star, guides him through the obstacles towards the accomplishment of his mission. The warrior is committed to a specific mission. He invests his time and energy in his mission so as to move forward in life with full awareness. Sometimes he is worldly, action-oriented, effortful, and sometimes he is inward-looking, meditative and non-exertional.

The warrior in the traditional sense walks on the blade of a sword. This metaphor suggests that the warrior must progress along this very narrow and adventurous path, without falling to one side or the other, neither in effort nor in non-effort. He follows the middle path. The warrior has a lot of flexibility to achieve his goals.


I started karate in November 1971. From the age of 14 (1973), I became interested in the psychological, energetic (chi), metaphysical and spiritual levels of martial practice. I considered that rigorous and intense physical practice could be an excellent tool to sharpen the power of my mind and reach other levels of consciousness. The way of the warrior was the way I thought I had chosen (when in fact it had chosen me). The unification of body and mind can increase our power tenfold and make us exceptional people. (That's what I thought 50 years ago, and that's what I still think.)

Achieving physical feats (e.g., doing thousands of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, kicks, and punches one behind the other) requires not mastery or domination of the mind, but full collaboration of all dimensions of being to follow one's warrior code.

I have approached the way of the warrior since the beginning of my martial practice through many psychological, intellectual, metaphysical and psychosomatic grids [see my biography]. For the last 30 years, I have approached the way of the warrior through other grids such as neurolinguistic programming, neurosemantics, neuroscience, metastrategy, generative trance, hypnosis identification trance, etc. In the first instance, to elicit the strengths of the warrior and to make a practical model of them. In which environment this warrior energy is found, what are its behaviours, how the warrior is a master of tactics and strategy, what are the beliefs, values, criteria and presuppositions related to the warrior [the warrior code], why it can be very useful to have a warrior part in oneself, the influence of the warrior on identity and the importance of spirituality in the warrior, etc.

Secondly, fundamentally, the way of the warrior is also a way of excellence. The mission of the warrior is the resolution of conflicts and the maintenance of harmony. His role is not to wage war, but to maintain peace. While enforcing boundaries.

For me, the way of the Warrior is a pragmatic model. It puts a lot of emphasis on calibration, observation, the structure of subjective experience and the interaction between individuals. The warrior has a highly developed sensory acuity and seeks to gather and understand the different elements, both objective and subjective, in order to execute the right gesture and the right action. He is a master of interaction, being able to read the analogical and digital language and to detect any incongruence between the two. The warrior has a mastery of syntactic behaviour and can quickly detect redundant behaviour.

The warrior to become a master of strategy must become a master of rhythm. Miyamoto Musashi, Japan's greatest samurai who lived in the sixteenth century said of rhythm:

"In everything there is a rhythm. If you look around you, you will see that the existence of rhythm is clear in dance, music and musical instruments. When rhythm dominates, the performance is good. In the martial arts, everything obeys rhythm and cadence. In all arts and techniques, one cannot go against the rhythm. In abstract matters, too, rhythm dominates. The same is true of a trader's business: the rhythm that brings him wealth or the rhythm that makes him lose it. So in every field there are different rhythms. There are several types of rhythm in tactics. One must first know the concordant rhythm, then understand what the discordant rhythm is," said Miyamoto Musashi in the Book of Five Rings. He continues: "One must know how to discern the right rhythm, the rhythm to be seized according to the occasion, and the discordant rhythm, all rhythms, whether they are wide or narrow, slow or fast, are characteristic of tactics. In tactical combat, one must know the rhythms of each opponent and one must adapt to the unexpected rhythm of the enemy. Then one can defeat one's opponents by setting oneself on an "empty" rhythm starting from a rhythm born of intelligence."

Musashi's only work, "The Treatise of the Five Wheels" [or the Book of the Five Rings], is a book that is still studied today by martial artists as well as by all those who want to master the art of strategy and tactics. This book is considered an important classic of literature written by the greatest samurai in history where we find the secret of Japanese efficiency that applies the spirit of martial arts to world affairs. It is this warrior's attitude that today explains, in part, the reasons for Japanese success in all fields [I wrote this in the early 1990s when the Japanese were excelling]. Now the Chinese are the ones who are, according to some specialists, the best placed at the moment. Do the Chinese use the Strategy of Sun Tsu [the author of the 2500 year old classic The Art of War] in business?


I am convinced that the great advanced communicators are masters of rhythm. Manipulators and dictators have long understood its importance. They have this ability to match their rhythms with those of the people they communicate with and to discover the latter's conscious and unconscious strategies. What transpires from Musashi's work is the importance of the warrior's principles [or beliefs and values] and the use of strategy. For him, strategy is a matter of rhythm. To master the art of strategy, one must be able to master rhythm. To master rhythm, you have to practice," he says. It is through practice that you discover rhythm.

Musashi transferred his mastery of the sword into all the arts, calligraphy, drawing, poem, writing, etc. He says: "I applied my swordplay to the art of the sword. He says: "I have applied the principles of tactics to all fields of the arts. Consequently, in no field do I have a master.

I will paint a picture of the warrior based on my personal experience, the various masters I have worked with and different traditions of the warrior path. The Warrior Way is vast and cannot be studied in one lifetime in its entirety.

Here are some of the references and influences that I have drawn upon in the Way of the Warrior:

1. The art of war by Sun Tzu.

2. The treatise of the five wheels, Miyamoto Mushashi.

3. The way of the Japanese samurai and Bushido [the warrior's code].

4. The knights of medieval Europe.

5. The spiritual warriors of India.

6. Native American warriors.

7. The higher path of the Tibetan warrior.

8. Dan Millman's peaceful warrior.

9. The way of the warrior according to Carlos Castaneda.

10. The way of the warrior according to Karl Dürchkheim.

11. The way of Zen.

12. Mahatmi Gandhi's way of the non-violent warrior.

13. The way of Aikido and Master Morihei Ushiba

14. And many other documents related to the way of the warrior.

The Warrior, to me, is one who uses his knowledge and power creatively towards conflict resolution to create allies [not enemies] by using our power with others; nothing like the negative warrior who only seeks war and destruction to seek power against others.

Using the way of the warrior to forge our character and help others

1. The warrior archetype is an energy that we can tap into within ourselves. Mindfulness exercises and deep intention can help us to channel it better.

2. The martial path [budo] is a practice that can help us follow this narrow path. But it is not the only way to actualise this archetype within us.

3. We will understand why, in the face of certain serious illnesses, some people roll up their sleeves and fight for their health while others give up and give in [the power of resilience].

4. We will realise that researchers, inventors, leaders, great communicators, therapists, entrepreneurs, sportsmen, artists and all those who succeeded in their fields and dared to face the unknown, despite insecurity, were great warriors.

Through this model, we will discover how the warrior spirit is needed in these times of global upheaval and why we need people of action who commit themselves through various causes to find pragmatic solutions to the problems and multiple crises of this new millennium.

Through the social upheavals, we are looking for a model on an individual level. We desire a model that can help us consciously engage in action to contribute to a new emergence of collective consciousness, achieve self-mastery, and find meaning in our lives. The warrior model responds to this quest.

- Gaëtan Sauvé

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