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Can Women Find Their Warrior Spirit?

Keys to Projecting a Survivor's Attitude!

Rodger Ruge

Will you become the victim of a violent crime?

Your predator will decide your fate in a matter of seconds. Your attacker will be able to tell if you command the spirit of a warrior. He will be able to tell if you have the attitude of a survivor or the attitude of a victim. He will study your posture, how you carry yourself, your mannerisms and speech. He will look at your physical condition and your emotional nature. He will observe your level of awareness to your surroundings. He will study how you project the character of your spirit. He will look into your eyes and sense the very essence of your inner strength. He will decide in a mater of moments whether he should choose you as a potential victim or seek another to prey upon.

I know how predators think based on my 18 years of experience as a police officer, my experience as a martial artist and my interaction with thousands of women who have been attacked. In virtually every victim interview I conducted as a police officer it was clear that the women who became victims were sized up by their attackers. Most of those women were chosen because they failed to display the inner strength of a survivor. Instead, these women projected their status as victims an they were totally unaware of their surroundings and the danger signals that were clearly present at the time. For most of these women their inner warrior spirit was hidden and their status as victims was laid bare for their predators to take full advantage. For most, the idea of finding the strength of a warrior was elusive, mysterious and foreign.

For many women, finding the warrior spirit within themselves seems to be an impossible task. When most people think of warriors, they think of chest thumping, testosterone filled men on a path to blood and glory. Most women do not want to embrace this violent aspect of life. Fighting and killing, in general terms, are left to the men. However, as our culture progresses we are starting to see an erosion of the differences between men and women in this regard. More women are joining the armed services, taking martial arts and playing "men's sports". Although things are changing, the vast majority of women still do not want to embrace violence. Simply put, it does not seem to be a part of their nature. Men are still seen as the dominate force in this regard, and this is exactly what your attacker is counting on. Your attacker hopes that you will never believe that you have a hidden strength within. Yet, there are countless examples of this "hidden" strength within all of us.

We have all heard stories about women who have, under extraordinary circumstances, risen to do what most of us would consider "the impossible." How does a small woman lift a burning car off of their baby with one arm to save the child? Absent this critical event this person could never pick up a car, let alone open a jar of pickles! Yet, somehow the circumstances of a life-threatening event triggered something residing within. A hidden treasure of strength and focus, an intensity that is indomitable. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could call upon this strength whenever we needed it? I believe it is possible to cultivate this strength and to be able to project it as an innate part of your personality.

The secret lies in not only training our bodies, but in also training our minds to cultivate this warrior spirit. It lies in the acceptance that in a sudden and violent attack, you will only be able to count on yourself for help. We must begin to rely exclusively on ourselves for survival. Women especially must begin by accepting that it is their responsibility to survive because the truth is the police, friends, family and good Samaritans will typically not be there when we are in need. We must empower ourselves and as a society move toward taking steps to develop our spirit.

The difference between whether you become a survivor or a victim boils down to your physical and mental conditioning, your level of awareness and most importantly your ability to project your warrior spirit. Let's take a look at these important aspects of finding your warrior spirit.

Physical conditioning is a simple formula. Fitness plays such an important role in our lives. It is one of the keys to a happy, healthy and vibrant life. However, there is another often overlooked benefit to exercise. If you are a conditioned athlete, it is highly likely you will have the physical strength put up a good fight. You can take a very positive step toward portraying the strength of a survivor by staying physically fit. Your potential attacker will take notice of your physical strength and this in and of itself may keep you from being targeted for assault. Remember, all predators are looking for a victim who will cause them the least potential for trouble. So, looking fit is a simple step toward setting yourself up to be a survivor. The more difficult challenge is developing your mind to survive.

Mental conditioning can be more challenging to develop because it is not something we are frequently, if ever, taught. When we were children many of us played sports or got exercise playing with our friends. As we moved into adulthood, many of us continue to exercise in one form or another. Our physical exercise experiences help us to understand and develop our bodies, but we seldom experience any kind of training in the vital aspect of mental conditioning. Mental conditioning, like positive affirmations and visualizations, is at least half the battle in preparing ourselves to face an aggressive and focused attacker. We must literally "see ourselves" defeating any threat and we must believe in our ability to do so with our very soul. We can not afford to let doubt creep into our consciousness.

When I teach self-defense courses to women they often attend thinking that for the next few hours I will be showing them all kinds of police based martial arts. Most of my students are initially surprised that the majority of my classes focus on awareness and developing the warrior spirit. I do this because my experience has shown that if you project the spirit of a warrior and you are vibrantly aware of the potential for danger in your surroundings, you can keep yourself from being attacked in the first place. It does not make sense to teach someone a perishable physical skill like blocking and striking when they will not practice it beyond the limited time we spend in class. It makes a lot more sense to improve a person's ability to survive by developing their ability to detect danger and project the attitude of a survivor.

I have developed a simple way to get started on developing your mental skills. It involves using the ancient technique of invoking the spirit through the use of a mantra. Let's take a look at how we can do this in less than five minutes a day!

To begin, sit or lie back comfortably. Do not cross your arms or legs. Begin by taking three deep breaths, pausing after you inhale, and then exhaling fully and completely. After these first three breaths, just breathe normally, and with each exhale let any tension you may be holding just melt away. Picture yourself facing an attacker. Try to see this person in as much detail as possible. Then visualize defending yourself. Everything you do flows with perfection as you easily defeat this enemy. Now, repeat to your self with the inner conviction of your soul for the next 60 seconds; "I will survive! I will survive! I will survive". You must do more than just simply parrot these words, you must deeply engrain their power into your being and above all you must believe. Do this upon waking in the morning, and again before sleep. Do this every day and know that on a subconscious level you will be building your inner strength and warrior spirit.

Rodger Ruge is a retired police officer, martial artist and author of The Warrior's Mantra, Barricade Books Inc., June 2005. Rodger can be contacted for questions and seminars through his website at

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