Here's a question: Can heart be trained?
Some of the answers are sure and glib, but leave me unconvinced. Heart can be faked...
What do I mean by heart?
We always watch rookies, because until the first big fight there is no way to know who will run to it, who will run away and who will freeze. Size and gender don't seem to matter. Military training and a wall full of martial arts trophies don't seem to matter. Most freeze and the good ones force themselves to engage in their first fight. A few scatter. A very, very few jump in.
It's not the same as the ability to hold the line. The military trains and we know very well that the fear of being seen as a coward, the herd instinct, the need to belong is what keeps people in the fight under fire. They will hold together... but when they break and run, they will all run together too. The real heart is shown in those very few who stood when the rest of the herd ran. The few great leaders that rallied a broken unit who had lost and were running. Whether he was a good general or not, George Washington did this when the colonial army was lost. Maybe not a good general- but a great leader.
It's also not the ability to return violence with violence. If you are raised in a dangerous environment you can be conditioned to respond hard and fast to scary things. These are the street fighters or combat vets who hear a noise and attack immediately and all-out. A handful do it with an amazing ferocity, but for most it is a fear reflex often uncontrolled or even blind. How many can face incoming fire and stand and aim, precisely, efficiently?
And this is not the same, either: spraying automatic weapons fire into the general area of a threat is a fear reaction and not at all the same as looking in the eyes as you close in, knowing only one will walk away.
Can it be trained? (Should it, for that matter?)
From the comic book ads of yesteryear to modern seminars, the promise really hasn't changed that much, "Fear No Man!"
I've seen heart grow. The rookie who freezes and forces himself to act and does it again and again, starts to act as the default, stays calm with experience and can become a hell of an operator. But I've never seen a training that can make someone brave or dedicated. I have seen training that can get them to panic in a more useful direction, running through the threat rather than away... but only the people selling it pretend it's not panic.
Getting Smaller - About three weeks ago, I did a post regarding the insidiousness of diet-creep; how, when you aren't looking, White Death and his best old buddy Lardo, sn...
6 hours ago