On heroism

Hi Tony (sorry for addressing you like this, but I believe it is part of the netiquette here to use the firstname; I do not wish to seem impolite)!

Yesterday I had some long thoughts on the aspect of being(generally speaking) a warrior (not a fighter). During those thoughts I stumbled across something else: Is heroism something created out of the helplessness of other people? In the public's eye, does subduing a bully make You a hero (when nobody else "had the balls" to step up to that specimen)? No matter how unethical or immoral you treat the guy (completely smashing him up with no warning, for example), you will gain public attention and respect.

This seems to be the public view of a warrior. In fact the media transmits this picture very strongly from the USA. More often than not I am shocked by the reaction of fellow forum members cheering out to people bashing someone else on the street or in pubs to settle arguments or issues only remotely touching them. I find this very disturbing and would like to inquire, how do you deal with persons like that (if you have to) and how to give their self-education a push in the right direction.

This is a problem of ethics, I believe, which is a bottomless well of material for discussions (making it a great topic). I'd simply be greatful to hear some of your thoughts on that matter, since I deeply respect the mindset and worldview you present here on this forum (and which I deeply hope and believe to be your true mindset).

In deep thought,


Hmmmm, I expected your post to get more attention then it has.

Hope you (& Tony) don't mind if I post my 2 cents worth. In exploring this topic I think, first off, we should define some terms. By heroism do I take it you mean being heralded with public admiration for a display of courage. Ex. About a year ago a colleague of mine was driving home and noticed smoke pouring from a remote farm house. He stopped to investigate. Observed signs (cars parked there) that indicated folks were home and when into the now significantly burning building, roused the family and got them out safely. He was (rightly) heralded as a hero. So, a hero would be someone who displays courage in the face of adversity when no one else does or is capable (or present) to do so. Webster defines hero as "... a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities and considered a model or ideal..." SO, I would say your quandary on heroism is solved by definition – meaning I don't percieve wanton/excessive violence, even in a noble cause, as a "model or ideal". Now, if the masses term this individual (that you illustrated) heroic I would say it is in spite of, not because of excessive cruelty. I'm not sure where you've picked up the notion (TV perhaps) that here in the USA we applaud excessive violence. (at least I like to believe we don't applaud that – in my experience the "good guys" don't) I would say we do like to see the "bad guy" get what he deserves, but as Mr. Blauer so aptly champions the true victor is the one who can resolve the confrontation without violence. Check out the thread on the Judo forum: why we NEED combatives & the David & Goliath thread here (the preponderence of responses were for avoidance and de-escalation)- there's also been numerous other pertinent threads here in the past – I am a rather specific lurker and don't venture around to much in other forums.)
As far as specifics on resolving violent encounters non-violently Prof. Blauer is the high priest in that area – hopefully he'll respond. As usual in questions of this nature his material is available and deals with this topic. Check out the PDR guide/ and ABC video. All his stuff touches on this some more than others! Nothing else out there even comes close. Good luck in your search.

& Hokahey!


I will share some thought's soon. Things are crazy here and the really deep questions (like this one) I wait on until I am, once again, alone in my hotel room [2 weeks of seminars coming up].

Good reply {K}


PS As for your last comment/question regarding my mindset...I will try not to disapoint.

Horatius: First of all, thanks for for joining in. You already gave me some extra food for thought with your post!

Well, the idea that brutality is welcomed as heroism mostly came from a lot of the forum members (sadly most of them seem to never read over here). Whenever issues concerning some kind of harassment came up, it almost sounded like the voice of the universe screaming for revenge. That is what I found so unsettling. I truly hope that the decent guys (concerning that mindset) are the silent forum-members only reading and shuddering in disgust.

Not to diminish what your colleague did (anybody saving someone else's life deserves a pocket-full of medals...), but shouldn't this be a matter of course? Whenever the situation arises, we MUST help (usually without risking our own neck, not to trade a life for a life). This is a big issue nowadays, since everybody seems to look away when something unusual is happening.

Why aren't paramedics and firemen and policemen treated like heroes? They are! Oh, well, it's their job, isn't it? Well duh!
The equilibrium is completely offset!

I picked up that notion of Mr Blauer's that fighting is not the key and completely go along with it. Winning without fighting is one of my basic rules in life.

Tony: I always prefer quality over quick responses, so please take your time!


...don't let this thread disappear (I don't yet fully understand what makes them disappear)!


I hope this doesn't sound too corny but I think my Dad was a true hero. He was a Veteran of the Korean Conflict and a real warrior in that sense...

But what I have come to understand is what a real hero he was to Mom and his five boys. Dad always worked two jobs and just about every weekend. He was a schoolteacher and coached football and basketball during the day and a bartender at night. When I was in High School we used to ride home together after practice and he would hit the couch for a quick nap before his "second" shift started. As children often resented that he was gone at night. We thought he liked tending bar and didn't really want to be home with us. In reality the grid of constant work and fatigue took it's toll and I'm sure shortened his life.

He never complained about it or even let on how tired he really was. In the summer, we all used to work at various jobs like house painting, laying sod, janitorial work, selling sandwiches and a ton of other jobs.

After Dad retired, he came out to California to be closer to my two girls, his precious Grand children. He continued to work as a teacher at CYA, which is a prison for boys up to 21 years of age. Many times we would be sitting in his modest trailer and these "kids" would come by to let him know they were staying straight and to thank him for helping them while they were incarcerated.

Dad got real sick back in 1996 from emphysema, but he continued to work as much as he could. He didn't believe in quitting. Soon he was too sick to work and the most Dad could do was walk to the porch to sip a cup of coffee. As the disease progressed he could do less and less. But he ALWAYS did as much as he could do. He never complained about his condition. He never tried to blame anyone or curse the universe or whatever.

To the end, Dad would always tell me that he was looking forward to a little "up time", which meant that he would be able to sit up and maybe watch my kids for a while.

I was alone with Dad when he passed away. His fight was finally over. It's hard to put these feelings into words but I know there are many people out there fighting quietly with no fanfare or recognition of any kind. Nevertheless, I believe that these people, like my father are real heroes...

The distinction between the 'warrior' and the 'fighter' is paramount.

Surely the warrior mindset is to walk into a crowded room, a threatening environment, and rather than being scared to believe that EVERYBODY in that room is safer simply because you are there.

maybe a little Don Quiotex (Forgive the spelling it's late here) but if honour and honesty can't get you through then a little 'tactical deception' is permitted. I don't want to stand by and watch somebody beat a weaker person for fun, or because they can. I choose not to be a 'well armed witness' to events which are within my control.

sometimes it is right and proper to place yourself in jepardy, in a planned and logical way, to protect those who cannot, or will not, protect themselves. We choose the world we live in everyday. If people get beaten in the street and the world walks by it is because we choose to walk by.

'Warrior' or 'Worrier'?


Hi Jim!

Thanks for sharing that very personal thing with us!

I didn't want to point out that there are no heroes! Only that the picture of heroes that is generated nowadays in the minds of onlookers is twisted (to put it in modest words).

I totally agree with you that your old man is a hero, if he put himself on the line for his family the way you just described!

Peace and thanks,



I believe that we are singing off the same hymn sheet, I wrote in support of your position but the limitations of the media again intrude upon the message.



I didn't feel that we are of different opinions. I just wanted to make it clear that I didn't mean to dishonor anyone giving up his life for his family (or other loved ones, and if it is the population of his country).

I don't weigh the importance of every single word I read, but always try to get the whole picture. I'm aware of the problems of using the medium internet (as great as it may be... I miss the personal contact very much. It's just not the same to read some words or "feel" the person I'm speaking with. But my air-transfer-fees would just kill me :). Since English isn't my first language I constantly stumble over the problem of properly expressing myself.

Don't worry, I think I understood you perfectly!


Whoops, I meant to thank Taroson for sharing those thoughts with us!

Sorry for the mixup!


Been giving this some more thought and it seems to me that their are five components to herosim:

Opportunity: That you are around the situation which begs a hero. (although I believe their is ample opportunities for herosim in our daily life some things just don't seem on a grand enough scale to grab our attention as herois and sometimes the opportunities are not recognized (see cognizant below)

Courage: That you possess the strength of character and fear management skills to exhibit courage when and where it is needed.

Capability: You possess the skills required to be of assistance in the situation. If the heroics required entail rescueing a drowning person swimming and CPR MAY be capabilities that are required to fulfill the hero role.

Caring: That one feels moved to intervene, cares about the other individual enough to assist.

Cognizant: Notice the situation where heroics is called for...

I'm sure I'm missing parts of the equation buit in my analysis I believe eah of these must be present to result in heroc action.

(Hope somebody thinks this adds to the conversation. I've had some drivong time lately and this herosim thing kept going through my head.)



Hi, Horatius!

I'm happy I'm keeping some brains moving!

Your equation IMHO only pays respect to the ones that I call "positive heroes". The ones with I big heart, common sense and a strong willpower.

You're leaving some things out, I believe:

Opportunity: Indeed almost every situation can be made into some kind of heroic situation. A would-be hero can seize teh opportunity to present himself, or worse: Create a base for himself to influence others (or make them dependant on him).

Courage: Complete neglect of commonsense has been mistaken for courage for ages! There's quite some people who are ready to take some risks not for the better of someone else but for a financial (or different) benefit for themselves.

Capability: Now this is something that's not necessarily true. It is true for "professional heroes", but I believe most "positive" horoes stumbled into their heroism by pure courage and self-neglect.

Caring: See courage.

Cognizant: See opportunity

Now I know that I'm presenting a very negative picture of heroism. I simply wanted to give the second side of the story.
This is not to make heroism a black/white-thing, but to show the two extremes that set the borders for reality, that is, as usual, oscillating somewhere in between.
There's never a proper drawer for anything!

I believe a great question is: What requirements does it take to make the public view an individual as an hero? Maybe an even better question is: Exactly what kind of situation does it take to be marked a hero?
I guess human or animal live at stake helps a lot. Another great situation is anything that is publicly viewed as threatening (rightfully or not).

More of your great input, please!


I think that, as we both alluded to heroes come in all shapes and sizes, (and as you pointed out , perhaps motivations too.) ...To the three yr old girl who has dropped her ice cream cone ( a near life ending incident when you are 3) her 6 yr old bother who gives her his ice cream cone is a hero. My def'n of hero - someone who freely sacrifices something for the good of another with no thought to glory or gain.

I would like to revisit capability from above, briefly. Perhaps my example for capability was ill-chosen. In my tragic ice cream cone example above if the big brother didn't have an ice cream cone he couldn't of given his sister any and, hence saved the day.

I guess my def'n of hero would be my answer to your question concerning what sociey should view as heroic.

I am enjoying this dialogue greatly , but am afraid if we continue we may have to start rent space from Tony.

As long pushing the envelope, and I hope forum members and Tony won't view me as an impolite guest in Tony's virtual living room, BUT,.... There was a train of thought goin in the David & Goliath thread that I was looking forward to your response to,.. here it is re-posted for your viewing & posting pleasure:

From: Lockz
Date: 06-Jun-00 | 04:23 AM
Some great words from Cr8.
Just one thing: Fights never have to go to the death. Even if there's the extremely unlikely situation of your opponent being completely oblivious to pain (and I never heard anything more than rumors about that), dislocated joints/broken bones just don't function properly enough to continue a fight.
Subject: Lockz?
From: Horatius
Date: 06-Jun-00 | 06:52 PM
Lockz, I'm troubled by your words, "Fights never have to go to the death". I wish that were so and I hope to never put my theory to test, but isn't that dis-empowering to frame your mindset in those words. I would agree a fight does not need to go to the death, certainly. But, some of that decision lies with the attacker or attackers. For the sake of argument let's consider a multiple attacker scenario where the attackers are large, viscious, and perhaps weapon wielding and my family is with me and also the subject of their attack. I believe , in this situation, I would feel no restriction on useing lethal force. (Obviousily, this would be based on my certainity of their attck/intent and no escape options remaining) The firt chance I get at a trachea shot I'm going to take! Your thoughts

Further thought has prompted me to write that ibelieve any fight we enter into we must be prepared for it to go to the death. If our life isn't threatened than other options should exist. If our life is threatened, even, if we far superior in ability to our attacker -accidents happens and weapons etc,.. can be brought into the fight scenario....

Sorry... must have missed your answer in that thread!

I like your definition of a hero. There's a tiny thing I view differently: He need not freely sacrifice something, but always be ready to freely sacrifice something. I'm just trying to get it from the situation-view to the personality (mindset)-view. But the thought is exactly mine!

As the other thread has disappeared from the recent threads I'll answer here:

The decision of what is done in self-defense lies completely with the attacker. Saying anything else will make you an attacker, too (of course one can fly into action before the adversary does, but the offense must clearly have come from the other guy). I'm going very much with the JiuJitsu mindset: The attacker defeats himself.

In the scenario you just described (we're talking unarmed defense, right?) I would go for speed, not for overkill. "Deadly" techniques (to my experience) usually are quite complex (as compared to less lethal means) and take some time (chokes, neck cranks, etc.). So much for the technical part...
Wouldn't killing those guys be taking the law into my own hands? I know there's a slim chance of one of them dying from my techniques (like breaking a neck on the concrete when falling), but I wouldn't aim at that happening. A downed, screaming opponent is worth much more in a self-defense situation than a silent one.

Most humans (to my experience, I worked as a paramedic for quite some time) tend to push the thought of someone dying away from them. They need time to realize that a soul has left the body. But pain and seeing others suffer gets to them real fast. The psychological advantage is tremendous.

I know what Bruce Lee said, to make your action one level tougher than your opponent's (if he shoves you, punch him; if he punches you, break his arm; if he breaks your arm, take his eye, etc.). I don't really go with that. Tony's saying is just the more fitting: If the situation arises I'll do what is necessary. For me that is stopping an attack in its tracks and using multiple attackers against each other. Be it by using them as shields against each other or be it by making one suffer for the others to take a second thought.

Of course we must be ready to face death in every fight situation but no human being has the right to judge about another human beings life (sorry, just my opinion, I know the world and politics speak a different language).

If there are weapons and accidents that kill people, it is a pity (or their own fault as it comes to weapons) if someone dies but death will not be dealt out by my hands...

If there truly is no other possible way to defend my family than to kick an opponents head off of his shoulders, then I might be in a position to do it, but I find that highly unlikely (which might stem from my training).

I wouldn't mind continuing this conversation via email, if you like and are concerned about taking up too much space over here, but I always hope for other forum members and especially Mr Blauer to drop thoughts to enrich the whole thing (further...you're doing a great job Horatius; didn't enjoy a discussion that much for quite some time (read: eon))!



Often I use these in my closing and they seem to be pertinent now.

If you are not aware (and to clarify) Shalom is a hebrew word meaning "Peace & Prosperity" often used as a greeting or parting comment indicative of well wishes betweeen friends. Hokahey is a Dakota Sioux (Native American) made famous during Crazy Horse's stand against the 'imperial' expansion of the US westward. (Its done now but that appears to be an honest assessment of what was going on. Anyway, I digress.) Hokahey, is commonly translated as – It's a Good Day to Die. This , however is anything but a fatalistic/ pessimistic mindset. The thought behind (from my readings and talks with Dakota Sioux aquaintances) is much broader. It means to live one's life in such a way that you are prepared to meet death whenever and wherever it may appear. No regrets. Living each day in a way that should your life end that very day you will have done what is right (fulfilled your obligations/duty to family ,fellow man (tribe), and your God to the best of your ability)! Similar to the samuri precept of (I paraphrase) that each day a samuri must wake and accept his own death. To be prepared to be heroic, I believe demands such a mindset. And to be a "good hero" or a "Good Man" for that matter (no gender bias intended) requires both of these.... :)

Am I making any sense?

On lethal force, you make some excellent points. I think we agree on the critical ones. All lifes are of value, however, when threatening my family the attacker puts himself at risk. I didn't ask, nor do I wish to be his judge, however I am obligated (my duty requires) to protect my self and my family. If these two come in conflict, my obligation to my family WILL take precedence. BUT, if I can resolve the confrontation by walking away all the better.
It's up to him (attacker).

(BTW: I noticed that my wording earlier indicated a TCMS flaw in my thought process- I'll be looking to do the worst move for my opponent, maximising the opportunities he provides (CWCT- sucker punch) Or that are made available thru my counter offensive/ active defense. Not looking/ waiting to do some "death touch".)

& Hokahey!!


I think the mindset is a little difficult to describe. To be ready to give your last, maybe even your life is imperative. But you need to be in a state of peacefulness. So you MUST not always think about death or other consequences your actions have. It all should come naturally.

It is more of being aware of the consequences and accepting them. In the beginning there's the assessment of the situation, but when action starts there needs to be a calm mind to have all the resources to control the body (I call it: Spirit, take over!). That is the stuff, that "superhuman" feats are made of.

But now this is starting to sound like my definition of a true warrior. Then again...maybe the "positive" heroes are a little closer than the rest to that state.

Living each day to its fullest has been the target of serious misinterpretation, too, as some people think that this means living it on another one's back!

Some people say that acquiring the proper mindset today is harder than it was before, since the social structure of the world keeps growing more complicated every day. I do not think that is true. To enter that state of mind requires not to understand the complexity of the world, but to realize and accept it.

To be proud of one's actions is another terminal issue. If you don't accept yourself, you'll never be able to do something genuinely for someone else.
This pride shouldn't be instilled by outsiders (read: Fishing for compliments) and should not be carried outside (Hey, that was great work by me, was it?). If one really feels it, it will radiate and that is sufficient.

Those two points you stated...is there really a need to decide? I think there is no "either/or" but just the feeling of what is right to fulfill both requirements.

As to our personal opinions, I agree that we seem to share some primal ethics (and I think this part of our shared foundation is one reason for this excellent discussion!).

One of my problems with the term heroism is a german proverb. It translates "Heroes die young". I believe this is true, at least concerning the self-made heroes...

Now whatcha thinkin'?

Peace and evolution!