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View Full Version : Warrior Rites of Passage--needing ideas



Manix
04-29-2009, 03:42 AM
I am looking for some ideas on Warrior Rites of Passage that I could use in my fantasy novel. So far, my research includes

US Marines "Crucible"
Ancient Spartan rituals and training
Hazing practices in military/college establishment
Native American rituals
Maasai warrior rituals
Etc.

What else have you read that you could suggest for rituals, practices and/or rites practiced for the development of true warriors? I need to toughen up my MC and run him through the gauntlet!:D

Thank you in advance

TheIT
04-29-2009, 03:46 AM
Questions 'R Us:

What enemy does your warrior expect to fight? Maybe something which proves his prowess against his people's enemy.

What sort of environment? A survival rite of passage?

How old is he when he expects to go through this ritual? How experienced?

Is it more important for this type of warrior to fight alone or in a group? For the latter, an all or nothing ritual - all members of the team pass, or none do?

What are the consequences if he fails? Death before dishonor? Can he try again?

Hope these help!

Cyia
04-29-2009, 04:00 AM
Don't know the tribal affiliation, but I remember reading an article about an African rite that involved making and using their own rope that was basically for a bungee jump. It was supposed to prove not only their thorough preparation and skill, but test their nerve - as the idea was to make the jump that brought one's head closest to the ground without impact.

Manix
04-29-2009, 06:14 AM
Don't know the tribal affiliation, but I remember reading an article about an African rite that involved making and using their own rope that was basically for a bungee jump. It was supposed to prove not only their thorough preparation and skill, but test their nerve - as the idea was to make the jump that brought one's head closest to the ground without impact.

See what them warriors started? Well, thanks for these ideas, Cyia and TheIT. Hopefully, I can find a few more rituals to define manhood (that don't involve sexual activities, I mean. That's probably a given...ahem...) Anybody else? Ideas?

AngelRoseDarke
04-29-2009, 06:39 AM
Have you checked into the Vikings? They were raised from birth to fight, and had warrior rites of passage.

C.bronco
04-29-2009, 06:47 AM
The warriors must eat a pound of cheese, a pound of oatmeal, and three Fiber Choice in one sitting. They must then stand in the express line at the grocery store with more than 13 items, be redirected to the regular line (which turns out to be a "Bag Your Own"), run twenty windsprints while carrying the groceries, walk the dog, fold laundry and put away the groceries. Then they must go to the post office, pay the cable bill, wash the dishes and clean the gutters before being allowed access to the bathroom.

HA!

Manix
04-29-2009, 06:47 AM
Have you checked into the Vikings? They were raised from birth to fight, and had warrior rites of passage.

Ohhh...thanks, I'll add them to my research:)

bettielee
04-29-2009, 06:53 AM
Have you checked into the Vikings? They were raised from birth to fight, and had warrior rites of passage.

Oh man. I was totally gonna get "cool" points and got beaten to the punch. My favorite warriors! Cool on ya, ARD!

Cyia
04-29-2009, 07:13 AM
Also check the histories of some of the horsemen from around the Black Sea (like the Cossacks) it's a different style of rites, but they had their own traditions.

Manix
04-29-2009, 07:22 AM
Also check the histories of some of the horsemen from around the Black Sea (like the Cossacks) it's a different style of rites, but they had their own traditions.
Thanks again Cyia!

dgiharris
04-29-2009, 07:33 AM
Questions 'R Us:

What enemy does your warrior expect to fight? Maybe something which proves his prowess against his people's enemy.

What sort of environment? A survival rite of passage?

How old is he when he expects to go through this ritual? How experienced?

Is it more important for this type of warrior to fight alone or in a group? For the latter, an all or nothing ritual - all members of the team pass, or none do?

What are the consequences if he fails? Death before dishonor? Can he try again?

Hope these help!

It is all well and go to make a cool list of warrior rights of passage and all that.

But unless you answer the above questions, your world building is going to be 'off'.

The reader won't know exactly why your world will feel wrong, but it will. Everything must serve a logical purpose. Rights of passage just for the sake of passage are pretty much pointless.

For instance, the Air Force has some pretty interesting traditions and rights of passage that involve teaching you to be a cocky narcissistic prick (BTW not saying all pilots are cocky pricks, just making a point).

But there is a 'history' behind it, namely the survival rates in WWI and WWII for pilots were horrendous. Parachute technology was nonexistant (WWI) and not that reliable (WWII).

So what this meant is that you needed to be a cocky narcissistic prick to step into the cockpit and face down death on a daily basis and hence some of the traditions that have become part of the initiations in our modern day Air Force.

Basically, you need to have a firm grasp of your world, its history, and the environmental factors your warriors will face, and then back track from there. The answers should start to jump out at you.

Mel...

Manix
04-29-2009, 05:59 PM
It is all well and go to make a cool list of warrior rights of passage and all that.

But unless you answer the above questions, your world building is going to be 'off'.

The reader won't know exactly why your world will feel wrong, but it will. Everything must serve a logical purpose. Rights of passage just for the sake of passage are pretty much pointless.

For instance, the Air Force has some pretty interesting traditions and rights of passage that involve teaching you to be a cocky narcissistic prick (BTW not saying all pilots are cocky pricks, just making a point).

But there is a 'history' behind it, namely the survival rates in WWI and WWII for pilots were horrendous. Parachute technology was nonexistant (WWI) and not that reliable (WWII).

So what this meant is that you needed to be a cocky narcissistic prick to step into the cockpit and face down death on a daily basis and hence some of the traditions that have become part of the initiations in our modern day Air Force.

Basically, you need to have a firm grasp of your world, its history, and the environmental factors your warriors will face, and then back track from there. The answers should start to jump out at you.

Mel...
That's it exactly. There has to be a point to the training he undergoes. (I know what it is, but that would spoil the ending for ya...:D) I quote WriteKnight here I believe, in one of his previous posts:

" Look any young man in a 'warrior society' is going to want to take his share of lumps to prove his toughness. These guys would wrestle, 'box' and otherwise manhandle each other and get bloody noses as an everyday occurence. As I said - I don't KNOW that the Mycaneans had a 'first blood' ritual for training - but human nature being what it is, I can see that it wouldn't be too far out of line to suggest it.

Plenty of friends are ready to step up and slug it out in a 'ring' for first blood - no hard feelings afterwards.

The student masters I mentioned were completely comfortable with the notion that blood would be drawn. So I don't see it as anything to be concerned about - giving your friend a scar, broken nose, or moderate injury. Because you're willing to TAKE ONE from him - it's a bonding practice. Part of building trust. Today - whole seminars are built around 'team building' by putting your safety in the other guys hands. This 'limited combat' to first blood - is an extension of that. 'Show me your expertise, trust me with your safety - and I'll trust you with mine.'"


Cool, eh? But he won't tell me where he got this info!:rant: Kinda reminds me of Fight Club just a bit, too.

Mike Martyn
04-29-2009, 07:26 PM
Some martial arts disiplines have rites of passage. In the one I practice, the black belt candidate attends the gym the night before, works out all night long with only one break for a lengthy meditation then come 10 the next morning comes the actual testing, fighting etc.

Whether it's appropriate for your story or even in the same league I leave to you. Consider whether your mc is an army/tribal grunt or one of the warrior elites.

After all, in medieval times, the peasant infantry had very different training that the knight on horseback.

Manix
04-30-2009, 12:08 AM
I just read about some serious "mat training" used in football that's pretty intense, and all of the ideas are on the right track, but I'm just gonna have to distill out the ideas I need for my training scene. My MC is basically a wuss when he starts out, has no idea what's coming, and transforms along the way through the ordeal.


Thanks for all these suggestions--much appreciated!

sunandshadow
04-30-2009, 08:07 AM
You could try to group the rituals into categories by what they test/teach, then put your MC through one from each category. Acting brave to conquer fear, Using self-discipline to ignore pain or privation, Relying on faith in authority to be obedient despite the disadvantages of doing so, Rote memorization and recitation of dogma to have some cultural attitude engraved in one's mind, an absurd number of repetitions of a physical movement to raise the overall speed or strength of the body, meditation or concentration exercises for magic or mental tricks, allowing oneself to be blindfolded, bound, etc for a team trust building exercise, temporarily cutting off a sense to improve acuity of another sense...