The Sword represents, freedom, survivability, and character. None of these characteristics are endemic in our present society, and they seem to be on the decline. Part of the joy of the Hero’s Journey is developing these attributes within yourself. Once you commit to regarding your life as an adventurer, these characteristics will develop within you. As Aristotle said so long ago,  “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” But why the Sword? There have been many tales wherein the hero, at the beginning of his journey gains discipline, courage, and the means of defending himself by learning the way of the sword. Luke Skywalker in Star Wars comes to mind. Another aspect is that in our imaginations, when we envision a hero walking amongst the chaos, we feel confident in his sword. This is as bone deep in us as is the desire to survive. The weapon of the hero ranges from David’s sling, that he used against Goliath, to the gun of the modern hero, but you know that just owning a weapon isn’t enough. As Aristotle said, it takes practice. I m old enough to remember when fencing was taught in most universities, and the more upscale men’s clubs had racks of foils for practice. Not only was fencing a common practice, but so was boxing. Then in the; ’60s karate began, and now mixed martial arts have become a passion, they all take practice. And it is this practice that forms the hero to be’s character. There is the saying, “Many are called, few are chosen.” Many begin to practice a martial art, or some order of combat training, but then they are weeded out. Because while the practice forms character, it also takes it. This is especially true in our contemporary society. There are video games so much easier to play and win at then choosing adversity. Even easier is watching TV, or a movie, wherein you can identify with someone portraying a lean, mean, fighting machine, while you drool beer over your weak gut. This will work for most, but every so often a group of such is challenged by a disaster and then the numbers drop. If it gets down to one, then he is most often the one who has practiced hard and developed excellence. He is the hero, and for my purposes, I am calling him Ronin. And he is the opposite of the modern Sheeple. Our society is for the most part, “other-directed.” They are conformist, status seeking, and taking cues for behavior from magazines and TV. They have little or no inner-core, and their values are derived from bumper stickers and stand-up comedians. This is an incredible weakness. I have to believe that such people if suddenly placed in a test of survival would fail. If such a person who takes his cues from others, gets his clothes ideas from magazines, is suddenly dropped into the wilderness alone, what then? They would panic. Waste their energy in floundering around, they lay down and wait for the end. Using the types from David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd we would think that the type most likely to survive would be the Autonomous, with the Inner-Directed coming in second. I call such Ronin. The inner-directed has their own internal gyroscope, set by their families, and it will guide them anywhere in any crowd. The autonomous set their own gyroscope. They can rise above the vulgar crowd, make their own decisions and be a single voice speaking truth to power. This is a difficult position to obtain and requires strength and work on an almost daily basis. Amongst those who can, it is common knowledge, a shared value, that adversity breeds strength. There are the many who judge “winning,” by the score, and the others for the strength and mental ability generated by the game. These are Ronin and these talents and abilities they lead to survival I call ‘Sword’. “So it should come as no surprise that, in many cases, basic survival mechanisms, which have been hardwired into us and sculpted by experience, turn out to be not only the most powerful motivators of behavior but to operate at their peak efficiency out of reach of the conscious decision-making powers, which makes it easy for reason to be overwhelmed. Once an emotional reaction is underway, we can be swept away by an irresistible impulse to act. But there are many ways of revising the script and adapting in hazardous situations. Training is one of them. Neil Armstrong would not have been able to land Eagle on the moon if it hadn’t been for years of rigorous training, not only in the technical stuff, which had to be second nature, but in emotional control. All elite performers train hard, and when you follow in their path, you’d better train hard, too, or be exceptionally alert. That’s the main difficulty with neophytes who go into the wilderness: We face the same challenges the experts face. Nature doesn’t adjust to our level of skill. In Musha Shugyō I will refer you to other sources for your basic physical training. With regards to the martial arts, I will only mention what is common from them to your living your daily life as an adventurer. Many who step into the dojo or onto the mat do not continue with their practice. They get some little degree of exposure, and then it is back to the couch until they try the next fad. Those who stick with it eventually learn that their greatest payback is when they take their dojo mentality out into their daily life, rather than the other way. And that is what we will practice. Once you take the giant step of living your life as an adventurer, rather than a sentence, you will have taken the first steps toward awareness. And we will present numerous exercises that will train you in the way.