The Warrior And The Healer (We Need Both)

Some of us were born for fighting and others for healing, but all of us are necessary.

Within any given tribe, there are warriors and there are healers and neither is intrinsically more or less valuable than the other.* Each has a necessary role to play for the good of the tribe. Within every cultural group, we need both fighters and healers.

Some people are aggressive by nature and only feel useful or fulfilled when in active conflict with some other group or individual. They see the potential for conflict in every encounter and define success or failure in wins and losses. These people both protect us and move us forward by any means necessary, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.

Other people are more passive by nature and feel most useful or fulfilled when resolving conflict, when solving problems, and when healing relationships. They see the potential for mutually beneficial solutions that bring individuals or groups together instead of dividing them apart. These people heal us and keep us healthy by any means necessary, sometimes even at the cost of their own health.

We need both the warriors and the healers, but we also need to know, in our relationships, which role we play. Our role may change from relationship to relationship, but we each tend lean more toward one role or the other. The key is to know which one we are, whether the warrior or the healer, to embrace this truth about ourselves, and to focus our time and energy on becoming more effective and more useful to our tribe in our natural role.

*Obviously, this is an oversimplification. There are many more roles in any given social group than this and each role has some overlap with the other. In reality, these roles are actually quite fluid as the needs of the group changes from day-to-day, especially in an emergency.


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 unless otherwise noted.

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