Tsuwamono no michi: Warriorship with an Ethical Motive

In the linked essay below Hunter B. Armstrong explores what it can mean to be a warrior in modern society when one’s motivations privelege the components of ethics and social service. It is part of an intriguing new project that he is involved in called Exemplar which I will be following with some interest.


As a security professional, community policing volunteer and future law enforcement officer I prioritize the ongoing development of personal and organizational ethics, sense of service and duty, and continual self-betterment. In Armstrong’s essay he introduces us to the Tsuwamono, a class of Japanese warriors which pre-dated and differed from what later came to be known as the samurai class. The Way of the Tsuwamono included a powerful commitment to morality, service to community and constant self-cultivation. The Tsuwamono did not have the same intense orientation towards service to a Lord as the samurai would later on embody. They were instead grounded in serving more broadly.

Armstrong’s essay has presented another case study of an ethically-driven form of warriorship for modern warriors/guardians/soldiers/first-responders to examine, embrace and/or reject. I feel that every example that we can unearth can be of great value in developing our own individual and shared self-conceptions. As I write this, in early 2015, there is a cultural and often violent movement afoot against law enforcement officers in North America. There is no more important time for those of us involved in public safety to reflect deeply on our personal and organizational drives, motivations, ethical underpinnings and all related inquiries. Not only is it important to understand these things for ourselves and for our organizations but it is then equally important that we are able to communicate these insights with clarity to the communities within which we serve.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s