Friday, August 19, 2005

Sif and Tyche

Sif, wife of Thor, is the Norse goddess of battle skill.

Tyche is the Greek goddess of luck, twin sister to Nike, the goddess of victory.

A very few of my friends have heard me whisper those names under my breath just before doing something either incredibly fun or incredibly necessary. It's not a prayer so much as a reminder. No matter how well prepared you are there comes the moment of action where luck can play a deciding role. You can slip in unseen sweat or blood. You can go into a situation thinking it is one thing and find a trap.

On the other hand: the harder you train, the luckier you get.

It's not a prayer because the prayer to Sif is practice. Every drop of sweat in training, every ragged breath, every new manual, every hour spent with a new instructor is a prayer to the Goddess of Skill.

The prayer to Tyche is just as all consuming and simple- her prayer is to open your eyes to the randomness all around and seize it when it breaks your way, endure it or turn it around when it doesn't. With constant practice it becomes a habit and you find yourself seeking chaos where others reach for the comfort of the known and predictable.

The best fighters/officers/medics have an awareness of variables that is difficult to teach. They may start with a plan but they understand the fluidity of the situation and step off the plan the minute it becomes counter-productive. They let go without hesitation.

You can only prepare so far. Some things you will never be completely ready for no matter how hard you train. When the call comes you go in with the training you have. That's the job. There are some who fear the chaos of life so much that they train and train and train and never test it, never play in the muddy waters of life, never risk the chaos... and that's a waste.

Skill and luck to you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I whisper "Crom" under my breath - the god of Conan. Basically - support me or stay the hell out of my way. Ooo - how sacreligious - no offense meant to any of you religious folks out there.