Shared Sacrifice (For The Tribe)

“The easiest and most basic definition of community, of tribe, would be the group of people that you would both help feed and help defend.” —Sebastian Junger from ‘Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging’

In recent years, a lot of us have thrown around words like tribe and community rather loosely. The truth is that we all want, we all need, to feel as if we are a useful and necessary part of something bigger than ourselves. Being part of a tribe or a community is not always easy, however, because it comes with expectations, obligations, and sacrifices.

Community, by definition, is never a one-sided relationship. The relationship of the tribe and the community is one of sharing, of shared interest, shared investment, and shared experience. This means sharing in both the good times, the times of health, wealth, and celebration, and also the bad times, the times of loss, of difficulty, and mourning.

Some tribes, some communities, we are born into, but others we enter by choice. Regardless of the means by which we came to be a part of our community, the day will come when we will be asked to make a sacrifice for the sake of the group’s survival or progress. It is through these sacrifices that we truly earn our place and become members of the tribe.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh (artist unknown, unless otherwise noted).

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