Defeat: A Warrior’s Perspective

Playing devils advocate here, it seems to me hero’s are quite often hero’s because they shoot from the hip and mostly succeed – pitch the other side of the coin and what are they then?

My answer: the same person they would have been had they not failed – except, however, now rudely enlightened!

Of course this is accepting that if he or she has suffered any psychological trauma from a defeat it will in long run be character building. Because as far as I see it warriors should never regret a defeat, really – they should learn from defeat.

In fact victory or defeat should be inconsequential to a warrior, a matter of course, both holding lessons. Victorious, a warrior might wonder what could have been better. Defeated, a warrior might wonder much and the same – nuanced, admittedly, from a different perspective. This is because warriors, sovereign to themselves, take ownership of all that occurs in their lives. They hold an inner-directive that is centered on growth, through knowledge of self.

Brave enough and generous enough to eschew the petty resentfulness and vindictiveness so commonly seen in the face of defeat, a true warrior at the same time doesn’t attribute too much credit to a powerful other. A true warrior, whilst magnanimous towards an enemy, always looks to himself as the source of defeat. The other is merely a mirror and for that a warrior shows gratitude towards him when, once more risen and able, he lifts up his sword and continues his journey a tad more informed.

Because defeat shows us our limitations, we see more clearly the dangers of this world and what we can and cannot handle.  This should inspire us; seeing more clearly our bounds we can buffet against them until we break through; seeing where we are weak, we can work to make strong.

A warrior knows, because he means to expand, defeat is a thing he will always encounter – he might as well to welcome it in the belief that every defeat holds an answer for him, or at the very least a clue or crack in the clouds that allows him to more clearly perceive a way he can win. More and more he can see what is needed, and build on each lesson.

At first this isn’t an easy concept to grasp. Defeated, the pain, the ache, the wound, the horror, the disillusionment, devours us, cuts to the quick; particularly so if we have suffered a bloody encounter where Hells Grim Tyrant has knocked on our door and rattled our senses to such an extent our mortality appeared so strikingly clear.

To most of us the idea of there being a blessing in the cruelest defeat, a blessing in the most vicious defeat, is absurd. But time is the healer. I know. Even in the face of death there’s a blessing somewhere. Strength to be garnered. A shocking awareness of our mortality wakes us to life, to living more fully with courage and faith, alert to our dreams and our warrior spirit.

Dying is to live with regret and a fear of defeat. Living is to know the heart can bear every burden and see deceit in thoughts of defeat as a terrible thing.  It’s not.  Defeat is a teacher.   An agent of change.  Change for the better when we let go of shame.  Change for the better when we view our humbling as opportunity to let go of hurt and conquer our pain.


Thanks for visiting A Warrior's Journey, my name is Robbie Pringle and this is my personal look at the martial life and life in general. Feel free to leave comments and encouragement, and if you like Share this site. And remember, life's no rehearsal - live it with purpose!

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