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  • Writer's pictureZebulon McCain

Grit

  The first Ethos of Men book addresses the positive effects of practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  In this article, we are exploring the toughness, perseverance, and fighting spirit that is embodied in BJJ and how that mindset spills into and affects the everyday life of its practitioners.  Even outside the gym, these guys have an added element of discipline, resilience, and increased calm under pressure.  Regardless of the terminology used or if one practices the martial art, this philosophy of male being is still vital to thrive as a man.  

The Art of Manliness podcast similarly promotes “the strenuous life” through host Brett McKay’s philosophy of well...manliness. The episode from April 2021 has a fascinating guest. Vic Verdier served in the French navy, is versed in scuba, and long-range shooting. He is a martial artist, a gym owner and life coach promoting a minimalist lifestyle. He says that men need (from an evolutionary standpoint) a sense of achievement, historically this would have accompanied “his role in the tribe.” In his late fifties himself, Verdier cautions men that as we age there is the danger of moving less, losing our drive, and falling into a “state of resignation.” Instead, he recommends that men stay active and healthy including training in “combatives” such as hand to hand martial arts, as well as weapons including firearms. Vic’s theory is that this provides a man with a sense of confidence and personal safety; his stress levels will be lower as a result, giving him even better health, both physically and psychologically.

This subject may be difficult for most females to connect with. Cultural conditioning primarily driven by females tends towards not only nonviolence, but the affirmation of self-acceptance. The feminine message of “you are perfect the way you are” is probably rooted in the female psyche where self-doubt, body image, and other insecurities reside. Rather than reach the logical conclusion that in fact nobody is perfect and accept that we can become so much better through disciplined action, females normally take the emotionally reassuring shortcut of telling themselves that everything about them is fabulous just like it is. This is no doubt biologically driven human behavior and women are not necessarily wrong to do it. Historically and to this day, females are valued for what they “are” (beautiful, intelligent, etc.), and men are valued on what they can provide (be it superior genetics, resources, status, or protection). Just to be clear, men would do well to have self-acceptance as well, and then use it as a foundation to progress and grow from.

International bestseller The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida mentions that “the masculine wants to feel the bliss of a life lived on the edge, and if he doesn’t have the balls to do it himself, he’ll watch it on TV, in sporting events and cop shows.”  Practicing these avoidance behaviors (excessively) leads to more avoidance behaviors.  Instead, we need to challenge ourselves and work through tough circumstances by becoming tougher ourselves.  

This brings us to the topic of discipline.  We are aware how delicious fatty, salty, and sugary foods are.  Primitive man found them to be desirable for the same reasons, the difference is that primitive man found them to be extremely scarce in his world.  Since the advent of agriculture, sex was possibly a scarce pleasure as well, particularly for less than Alpha status males.  The man of today in a first world country will find that chasing that “high” of sex and food is eclipsed only by drugs, alcohol, and porn. Primitive man did not require discipline to manage his appetites because scarcity in the environment was the limiting factor.  The issue is that the men of today are very much those same primitive men, and if we hope to survive the excesses of today, conscious discipline is needed.  Our hardwired base instincts still exist and are exploited by corporations, governments, and females.  

More specifically, females utilize our male yearnings for sex to help facilitate relationships, marriage, and children. From there provisions, vehicles, and homes need to be purchased, keep in mind car dealerships now offer seven-year financing and mortgage companies offer the tried-and-true thirty-year mortgage. Boom, the mission of extracting thirty years of contractual male value is complete with females as the intermediary party and banks and corporations as the primary beneficiaries. Obviously, a man needs a vehicle and a home too, so I cannot entirely blame women for their role in this scenario, but I do question if all the excess is necessary. Back to the discipline. What if we could (in a disciplined manner) manage our life’s affairs more wisely thus mitigating some of that exploitation? Perhaps more freedom would be the natural result.

After a time, routines of physical, mental, and other forms of development become something that better one’s life to such an extent that rather than forcing ourselves to do them, we will instead strive diligently to continue them.  When we begin to see results the only tragedy would be to stop progressing.  Masculinity in practice will require some form of grit in our daily lives, we must not avoid it.  In fact, let us embrace it and even revel in it.  

When it comes to a more disciplined lifestyle, guys usually say, “I don’t have time.”  Motherfucker, we all get the same twenty-four hours each day.  How can you better utilize those twenty-four hours?  Men also reach out to me and ask questions like “How do I maintain discipline and motivation?”  The question is in fact the wrong one to ask.  I can only reply: Consider the alternative…that is motivation enough. 

Z.

Many thanks to all you longtime subscribers and you new guys as well. Be sure to check out my site www.ethosofmen.com   for easy access to the Ethos of Men Podcast, the two books, and a new line of Ethos of Men apparel.

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