A Gentleman Must Be….

 Prowess:
To seek excellence in all endeavors is expected of a gentleman, martial and otherwise, seeking strength to be used in the service of justice, rather than in personal aggrandizement.

This portion of the code has a few facets and in this post I will talk about the; “martial and otherwise, seeking strength” portion of it. In the next post I will discuss the excellence and aggrandizement and justice portion.

You and your lady friend are out for the evening. As your walking back your car your accosted by a man coming out of a dark alley demands your wallet and your ladies jewelry. Do you know what to do next? Do you have the skills and training necessary to protect yourself and your lady  friend? Do you have the physical prowess to exert the necessary force?

It goes without saying that every gentleman should avoid violence because violence is uncivilized, but unfortunately in society now and in the past there are many who are vulgar and will use brutality as a ways to a means. This is why every gentleman is to do his utmost to seek excellence in a martial art and maintain a powerful physical condition. Does this mean you have to be a black belt in karate or a bodybuilder? Not really but you should be strong, physically fit and able to use self-defense to protect yourself and others around you. You may think, I will buy a gun instead, but can you always carry a gun? You cannot carry a gun into a ballet, the opera or theater. So you must be able protect yourself using your bare hands, your strength and your wit.

During victorian times, gentleman studied a Western European martial art invented in 1902 by a martial art enthusiast named Barton Wright. Barton called it Bartitsu. This martial art was similar to the mixed martial arts of today as it combined Japanese judo, Japanese jujitsu, boxing, wrestling, French Savate, fencing and the use of the stiletto knife. Some of the skills taught such as fencing and the use of the stiletto knife in  any cases would be illegal today to use. Another skill taught was the use of a walking stick as a defensive an offensive of weapon. In the present day unlike the 1900s you don’t see many people sporting a walking stick or cane. Think about it, a 30-year-old man of today walking around with a cane?

So nowadays, our hands are empty and even though in some states we can obtain permits that allows us to carry a pistol concealed nonetheless we cannot carry the weapon into many public facilities such as theaters, banks, airports, work or anywhere there’s a sign “No Firearms Allowed”. It is therefore unrealistic to assume having a gun is enough protection. Unfortunately, criminals do not follow law and often do have weapons such as guns and knives. As gentlemen we must be prepared to defend ourselves and those we care about if the need arises.

I searched for classes that teach Bartitsu but unfortunately, while there are some, there are very few and none where I live. However, I did discover a martial art that combines 99% of what Bartitsu combined with the exception of fencing. The martial art I am referring to is called Krav Maga, this is an Israeli martial art that combines Japanese judo, Korean karate, Brazilian jujitsu, Muay Thai kickboxing, stick fighting, Wrestling, Boxing and defense from firearms and knife attacks.

Krav Maga has a philosophy that focuses on neutralization of the threat and is used by many law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. Militaries train their soldiers in its use and clearly, the Israeli Defense force uses it. Although it is exceptionally violent, it does teach avoidance techniques and appropriate use of force to neutralize the situation and escape. Where many Eastern martial arts lean towards Confucianism or other spiritual aspects, Krav Maga does not. Krav Maga  as it focuses entirely on the skill and not the spirituality of the student. All of this is why I chose this martial art for myself and is why I recommend it to others. You can find out more and find a school near you at this link: http://www.kravmaga.com/

Now let’s go back to our earlier scenario. The assailant demands your wallet and your lady friend’s jewelry. What you do next is, give it to him, but because of your training, you do it in such a way as to best diffuse the situation and if it escalates, you know how to neutralize it or him. Nevertheless, don’t forget your priority is not protecting your ego or looking tough or “Macho”. Your objective it is to protect the woman to your left, even if you must put your own life in danger doing so, she must leave the situation unharmed… That is a Gentleman.

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The Code of Honor

Sir Walter Raleigh spreading his cloak across a mud puddle for Queen Elizabeth

During my research I have discovered the modern gentleman’s roots go as far back as (in some cases) Rome and the post Constantine era it
was the Nobleman or the Gentry these were men of good (traceable) breading one whose lineage are heralded with accounts of his ancestors bravery and good works a man of financial  means.

The gentlemen of today are gentlemen of conduct; they follow strict codes of honor and etiquette. However the latter of the two “etiquette” can be very complicated because it changes from culture to culture based primarily on the culture’s religious/ethos and history.  If a gentleman wishes to travel it requires extensive study and devotion.

An upright Gentleman takes the time to learn, ask questions and practices them as a sign of his respect for the people he values. In the coming months I will be blogging about these differences and sharing with you other tidbits of information.

First let’s focus on the ten basic rules of honor, or as I call it The Code of Honor these rules are based on the code of chivalry but are still relevant today. I will break each one down during future editions of this blog. Feel free to ask questions or comment….enjoy.

Prowess:

To seek excellence in all endeavors is expected of a gentleman, martial and otherwise, seeking strength to be used in the service of justice, rather than in personal aggrandizement.

Justice:

Seek always the path of ‘right’, unencumbered by bias or personal interest. Recognize that the sword of justice can be a terrible thing, so it must be tempered by humanity and mercy. If the ‘right’ you see rings agrees with others, and you seek it out without bending to the  temptation for expediency, then you will earn renown beyond measure

Loyalty:

Be known for unwavering commitment to the people and ideals you choose to live by. There are many places where compromise is expected; loyalty is not amongst them

Defense:

A Gentleman is required defend those who depend upon them. Seek always to defend you’re your faith, your family, your nation and those to whom you believe worthy of loyalty

Courage:

Being a Gentleman often means choosing the more difficult path, the personally expensive one. Be prepared to make personal sacrifices in service of the precepts and people you value. At the same time, seek wisdom to see that stupidity and courage are cousins. Courage also means taking the side of truth in all matters, rather than seeking the expedient lie. Seek the truth whenever possible, but remember to temper justice with mercy, or the pure truth can bring grief

 Faith:

A Gentleman must have faith in God and his word, for this faith creates roots and gives hope against the despair that human failings create.

Humility:

Value first the contributions of others; do not boast of your own accomplishments, let others do this for you. Tell the deeds of others before your own, according them the renown rightfully earned through virtuous deeds. In this way being a Gentleman is well done and glorified, helping not only the gentle spoken of but also all who show themselves as a true man

Largesse:

Be generous in so far as your resources allow; largesse (generosity) used in this way counters gluttony. It also makes the path of mercy easier to discern when a difficult decision of justice is required

Nobility:

Seek great stature of character by holding to the virtues and duties of honor, realizing that though all the ideals cannot be reached, the quality of striving towards them ennobles the spirit, growing the character from dust towards the heavens. A Gentleman’s nobility also has the tendency to influence others, offering a compelling example of what can be done in the service of rightness.

Franchise:

Seek to emulate everything I have spoken of as sincerely as possible, not for the reason of personal gain but because it is right. Do not restrict your exploration to a small world, but seek to infuse every aspect of your life with these qualities. Should you succeed in even a tiny measure then
you will be well remembered as a Gentleman filled with quality and virtue.

Novus Vita – being a Gentleman in the Urban Jungle

Sadly today being a gentleman has become a lost art. Many  men are confounded by the trappings of a dysfunctional hedonistic society. I  confess that I was one of them. I didn’t know a salad fork from a desert spoon.  When the waiter handed me a glass of wine to taste I didn’t have a clue on what
he did it for so I just pretended to know. I was like a Neanderthal, I felt strangled in a tie and wearing a suit was for my coffin.

I decided to make a change in my life and become a  gentleman. So I started my search about four years ago. I travel so I have  learned a lot from directly from the source and I have many experiences to share.

I have since discovered being a gentleman is one of the  hardest things that I have ever done. It’s not just please, thank you and holding  doors. It is a new way of living “Novus Vita”.  You have to be gentle and strong, humble and  proud, sensual but proper, truthful and tender, generous but not be taken  advantage of. Your cleanness must always be immaculate and you knowledge ever  growing. You have to be self-assured but not a braggart. You must be able to appear  like you belong where ever you are. You must be the most interesting man in the room.

When you talk to someone you make them feel important and they know you are listening to them because you make them feel appreciated. Your  complements must be sincere and carefully given you must have depth and mystery.

You may not always agree with me, it won’t take you long to figure out I am a Christian, but I don’t push my faith I live my faith and hope  others see the fruit of my faith. As a gentleman I respect others choices and keep my personal opinion regarding them to myself unless asked. I am conservative and a heterosexual, although it has been questioned before, once when I was getting a manicure. I will blog about dating, romance, sex, health, fitness, fashion, arts, entertainment, wine, sports, self-defense, travel and much more. I hope you enjoy it and “Welcome you to the jungle”

So if you’re like me ready for “Novus Vita” follow my blog, my Tweets and remember being a gentleman takes more than an eye for style it goes much deeper it is certainly not easy but it is a noble quest. Foloow my tweets @JungleGentleman . I hope my  tweets help you through your day. Keep a stiff upper lip, your shoulders square and be courteous to all, remember even the person who cleans your toilet deserves your respect and your acknowledgment.