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Graham Butcher

Graham Butcher – Stav Teacher

What Does it Mean to be a Warrior in the Norse Tradition?

The content of this article was originally delivered by Graham Butcher as a talk at the 2016 Mercian Gathering

What is a warrior? The first image that comes to mind is usually of a fierce man with a bloodstained sword. It might be updated to a muscular man in combats, camouflage paint and a machine gun, al la Rambo. Popular media may have subverted that image even further with the shapely woman equipped with guns and supernatural agility. The traditional view of the warrior is more nuanced than that.

The warrior understands violence and weapons. A great many western people are insulated from violence on a day to day basis. This is an achievement of Western civilisation which is to be applauded on one level. Law and order and comfortable living standards mean that violence in every day life is rare and its use is strongly discouraged for many modern people. In fact direct experience of violence seems to be so rare that no one thinks it is worth even learning basic self-defence let alone any real expertise in martial arts. Hence, for people in the modern West the warrior is a comic book character and violence is not a reality in their lives. This is an illusion and the veneer of civilisation is thin and can break down with alarming suddenness. We only have to look at the way previously stable societies degenerate into chaos when their governments and infrastructure are destabilised. Until relatively recently people understood that security and protection of self, family and wider community was there own responsibility. Everybody had to be a warrior to some extent and the higher your status in society the more that was expected of you as a warrior in terms of protecting the community, showing leadership to others in active defence and maintaining peace and harmony within the community.

There is a dual role for the warrior, being able to actively engage with violence against threats to the community while maintaining peace and harmony within society through leadership and judgement. Read More

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Of course there is no substitute for face to face and hands on training. So, for those willing to get stuck in there will be three seminars this Autumn, two in the Crewkerne which will be devoted to training with the staff and another in Salisbury, which will focus on training with the axe. For my full programme see the calendar page.

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