The Ultimate Warrior

The Ultimate Warrior…

The other day I had the pleasure of listening to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman give a lecture to a bunch of cops and business people in Orange County.

He said something that really resonated with me and I would like to share it with you.

There is no such thing as the “ultimate warrior”.

This might sound like a defeatist statement when it comes to our personal path towards what we call “unconscious competency”. (More about this in a bit).

It is not…. it is a realistic appraisal and a motivational tool at the same time.

There is no “ultimate warrior”. The magnificent warriors of the Comanche, The Mongols, the Samurai, the Spartans… they all strove toward this goal… but in the end the goal is elusive.

As it should be.

(If you arrived here from the email continue reading here)

The “Ultimate Warrior” is the far end of a scale. The willfully defenseless babe is at the opposite end. We each fall somewhere along this continuum. Our place along this scale is not a piece of property that once secured stays with you forever. This scale is fluid, and while you might have achieved a higher point than another in one context, you might fall far lower in another.

I have a fairly decent amount of training when it comes to survival in an aquatic environment. I have expanded that training to allow me to survive and hopefully thrive in a subtropical climate. I am completely ignorant of how to adapt and survive in an Arctic climate.

My scale differs for each specific situation.

Very few of us enter the world of weapons training as complete novices. Somewhere along the way someone took us to a shooting range sometime. We have also been exposed to literally millions of images of graphic violence courtesy of Hollywood, as we inched towards adulthood.

As such we have a pre-existing belief in our ability to survive violence. We are “Unconsciously Incompetent”. We think we are much better than we really are. After some training we are exposed to our own inadequacies. Those that are willing to acknowledge it become “Consciously Incompetent”. We know we don’t know what we thought we knew.

After training begins to set in we become “Consciously Competent”. Given a specific set of circumstances we can elegantly perform a pre-scripted series of maneuvers that may allow us to survive. This of course pre-supposes that we are confronted with that specific set of circumstances.

Lastly,… with time… we become “Unconsciously Competent”.

We don’t think about our tactics… we don’t “think” about are maneuvers… they happen with effortless precision because we have willed them into our being.

Is this the manifestation of the “Ultimate Warrior”.


Even the most inept young little league player may if the stars are aligned, hit the ball in just the right manner to achieve a home run.

Does this mean that he is destined for pro-baseball?


If he practices and practices and dedicates himself to the proposition that he may earn his talent and some day be good enough for the pros, can he achieve that dream?


Is it possible for us to become an “Ultimate Warrior”?

I honestly don’t know… Frankly maybe it is beside the point. Maybe the journey towards that goal is more important than any ultimate achievement.


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