11th Tenet – Only Fight Honorable Battles
The Code of Honor was created by the men of what was then known as the Sterling Men’s Divisions. It contains 15 different tenets. It was intended to reflect some basic core values that all the men could rally behind, support and use as a benchmark for the ways of being we could expect from one another.
In the late 1990s some men from the Western Region (the Bay area around San Francisco) created an ark which contained 15 different pieces of wood, one for each tenet. Each stick was made of a specific type of wood and bore a specific design that reflected the way in which the men of the Western Region related to the tenets of the Code of Honor. The ark has since made its way throughout North America and men throughout MDI have had the opportunity to connect with it. I had the opportunity to safe guard it for a while and was moved to write a little about my relationship to each tenet. What follows is the treatise that was created as a companion piece to the ark.
Fight Only Honorable Battles
The wood representing this tenet is Laurel Bay – The leaves of the laurel tree were used to make laurel wreaths that the Romans used to decorate their men of honor. Upon returning from great conquests warriors were sent off to rest on their laurels and to take in the gifts of gratitude bestowed upon them from a thankful community.
The symbol that reflects this tenet is s Spear and shield. These symbols of hand-to-hand combat reflect the purest form of combat. Hand to hand combat is considered the most honorable way to engage in battle because it requires combatants to come face to face and to depend on their individual skill and resolve rather than the quality or power of synthetic weapons. Often the victor in hand-to-hand combat is the man who wants it the most. The man who in his heart believes he has the most to fight for. Whose battle is the most honorable.
For many, the definition of battle is an armed engagement, a war. But a lesser definition defines battle as a conflict, a struggle. For example the conflicts and struggles we fight everyday with the demons and fears that lurk deep inside each of us.
Self-doubt, shame, anger. Taking on these emotions are the honorable battles we can fight each and every day. The honor lies in acknowledging these opponents, bringing them into the light and taking them on no matter how ugly it looks. The battle becomes honorable when you turn to other and ask for their help. Chances are that if you find yourself fighting a battle alone, it is because you are fighting to protect your ego or some personal agenda. By fighting an honorable battle together we strengthen our relationships and build a foundation for a stronger and healthier community.
In order to live one’s life fighting only honorable battles, one must:
· Understand what there is that’s worth fighting for
· Understand what is not worth fighting for
· Have enough mastery over one’s ego to never fight battles in defense of one’s ego.
Once you are able to place emotion aside, you will find it is much easier to discern whether it is a battle worth fighting.