NOVEMBER 5, 2001
Making the transition
© 2001

Saturday I experienced my first cross-country flight since the day the world changed. It has always been an "experience" traveling from California to New England with my son and wife. My son just turned four and this was his seventh cross-country flight. This trip was different.

In the wake of the 9-11 tragedy, some changes in travel experience are obvious and some are more subtle (and frankly encouraging).

The increased security checks are obvious. Most of it is frankly more form than substance. An obvious effort to do something demonstrative to make travelers "feel" safer.

Security changes I have noticed include:

Attitude variations: A common theme that was especially encouraging, articulated by both pilots and crew, was "in the unlikely event" someone "tried" to take over the aircraft to remember that "there are more of us than there are of them." It was also repeated that we were all now part of an extended "family" and that we shared a common responsibility for each other.

Unknowingly, the new common theme of air travel is "The Warrior Creed" of Dr. Robert Humphrey, "Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I'm there. Wherever I go, everyone in need has a friend. Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I'm there."

Six days after the epic tragedy, I wrote a column announcing Operation Restore Warrior Spirit. I observed that, "For a half-dozen knife-wielding terrorists to 'presume' they could overcome a planeload of passengers with threats and blades suggests they expected compliance. Obviously they had reason to believe passengers would assume 'resistance is futile,' as if they were facing the Borg." Well, those days are history.

Any would-be hijacker can and should expect at least a thorough collective gang butt-kicking and, at most, an early violent death at the hands of intended victims.

When I announced the intention to establish Operation Restore Warrior Spirit, I tried to make the point that we were "not starting a club, organization or association." I wanted (and want) this effort to be "just be a spark on the tinder -- a stimulant of a muscle that has been allowed to and encouraged to atrophy. We want to reawaken the warrior spirit, which has been dulled by political correctness."

The response from a wide variety of martial art organizations and very senior instructors has been overwhelming and encouraging. I am in the process of communicating with the various individuals and schools and will henceforth consolidate and coordinate our efforts through a link on my website.

The ORWS site feature will include:

Frankly part of that restoration has already happened by a combination of inertia and public outrage. Much of the "substance" of our intention has already been realized. Our modest efforts are to provide some measure of "form" to the developing sea change.

Part of the challenge has been struggling to recognize what Operation Restore Warrior Spirit is and is not.

Dale Seago is a very senior Bujinkan instructor (11th degree black belt). He is a very dear personal friend, teacher and warrior brother. His contributions to the form and technique portion of ORWS have been and are essential. When he returns from Japan and his ongoing training with Soke Dr. Hatsumi Sensei, he and I will produce a video for federation affiliates.

Dale is concerned that much of the "life values" principles may be lost as our message moves outside our control. I understand his concerns but also realize that it is impossible to control the fire we hope to fan. I have told Dale, "We are throwing gold dust in the air. We cannot control where the wind takes it."

There has been a wide spectrum of interest of an eclectic collection of professionals. I don't expect conformity of style, focus or approach. Notwithstanding the vast variety of styles and approaches, any and all efforts to instill the "spirit" of the warrior in as many people as possible is a net gain.