Protector

I have always been a protector. I have not done a perfect job of walking in this identity, but it is still my main vocation, and where being a husband and father springs from.This particular language in using protector (as opposed to the more politically-charged “sheepdog”) results from a writer’s forum about chivalry, and it just clicked. The protection of others has shaped my life, and I’ve only become conscious of it now.

When I was younger, I was afraid of confrontation, but I have always had the idea that one should intervene against injustice. I’ve never really lived a life of violence, and did not come from an abusive family.  I’ve seen both of my parents jump in and stop some foul stuff from going down.  My mom once tackled a purse snatcher, and I’ve seen my dad beat up a (much larger) neighbor who was sexually inappropriate with neighborhood ladies. Now that I have the skills and confidence to intervene, I will, and I have. Every time. I will speak up and make a scene. Every time.

I’ve been fascinated with heroes since I was a wee lad, particularly Batman and stories of the Samurai. Warrior cultures are of interest to me, whether that be the Filipinos that fought Magellan, Hawaiians defending their land partitions from warring tribes, the military prowess of Hannibal and Scipio displayed in the Punic Wars (ok, so you’ve heard about how Hannibal crossed the Alps on an Elephant caravan. Think about that from a Roman perspective- you’ve never seen a black person or an elephant before. Here come thousands of them, and they are very upset with you. It must have seemed like battling aliens mounted on monsters) to the knights and vikings of Europe.

I’ve been drawn to the martial arts my whole life. My father is a martial artist.  I earned a brown belt in McDojo karate, did 6 months of kung fu, did some tang soo do, and trained in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) when deployed. Nothing really fit until Brazilian jiu jitsu.  I’d like to pursue Filipino Martial Arts (it’s kind of a family legacy)and continue to work striking, but BJJ is a good fit for me. Protecting people isn’t just about fighting, but I now have confidence in my abilities to do so and a game plan should the need arise. I can back up my shouting. Protecting someone or something doesn’t require violence, or the threat of violence, but courage and commitment.

As a result of fascination with tropes and myths, and participating in warrior culture, I’ve grown into a very principled (and probably too serious) man. I’ve been a pain in the tail to my bosses when I was unwilling to “be cool” and let slide violations to policy or inappropriate behavior. I can sometimes see things very black and white, and I’m trying to break myself of that.

Protect: the National Association to Protect Children was founded to provide legal assistance to child abuse cases and fight child pornography by writer/lawyer Andrew Vachss, who I instantly became a fan of after seeing his photo on the back cover of a Batman novel.  The project includes many lawmakers and authors, many of them coming from crime, pulp, and genre fiction backgrounds.  While such books (and indeed, their readers and writers) are often deemed “lowbrow”, I can see no more noble, elevated use of celebrity.

Is that an adopted pit bull and a needed eyepatch? Yes. How badass is this? 1000% badass.

I hope to one day be involved in such meaningful work.  Until that time, I will continue to protect the sacredness of all beings, advocating for safety and justice (legal and social) and raising my family in as safe, enriching, and empowering an environment as I can provide.

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