There are 13 virtues in the Odin’s Warrior Tribe Tribal Code. The first virtue is Honor which remains both the foundation of the tribal character and the wellspring from which the other virtues flow. The second virtue is Courage, a trait tested, honed, and built throughout a tribe member’s life and military experience. The third virtue of the Odin’s Warrior Tribe Tribal Code is Truth. Truth is an obligation owed to all in the Tribe and none outside the Tribe. Truth’s sum is that “what is good for me is good for the Tribe and what is good for the Tribe is good for me.” The fourth virtue, Loyalty, is made up of the blood and oath bonds that tie members of the Tribe together in the ever-interconnected webs of Wyrd that shape destiny. The fifth virtue of the Odin’s Warrior Tribe Tribal Code is Fitness and it is a trait that grows the strength and value of all other virtues, for when the individual Tribe member is fit, then there is a wellspring of physical vigor and mental resilience that they may draw upon in order to apply the other virtues to their lives and actions.
23. The unwise man is awake all night, and ponders everything over; when morning comes, he is weary in mind, and all is a burden as ever.
58. He must rise betimes who fain of another or life or wealth would win; scarce falls the prey to sleeping wolves, or to slumberers victory in strife.
71. The lame can ride horse, the handless drive cattle, the deaf one can fight and prevail, 'tis happier for the blind than for him on the balefire, but no man hath care for a corpse.
These verses from the Havamal relate to us the value that our ancestors placed on Fitness. Verse 23 cautions the reader about the pitfalls related to a lack of sleep, something that modern physicians remind us of constantly. It also speaks to how the specter of anxieties, real or perceived can erode a person’s mental Fitness if it impacts sleep quality. While a rested body and mind reduces our daily burdens and stress, verse 58 also sees Odin’s words deride those that would spend their lives in bed, lazy and weak. For them, the lack of Fitness leads to little victory, a poor reputation, and no renown. Lastly, the idea of fitness, strength, and usefulness as a continuum, a progression of steps that individuals build can be interrupted from the 71st verse of the Havamal. Looking at these words can also show a reader that fitness is not solely in the domain of the elite athletes that flood media outlets and are held aloft by the weak minded. Fitness is an aspect all should practice at their current level, a skill that can be developed, and a trait that is grown through pushing and testing one’s physical limits despite any disability or infirmity. All that strive to destroy that which hampers their Fitness and grow those attributes of strength, endurance, durability, and mobility engage in an honorable endeavor. No matter the hinderance or any potential disability, the condition of life and the struggle for Fitness in order to better live that life, is better than being a corpse. Whatever condition they may have been in, I believe it is a reasonable assumption that many of our ancestors did not take the structured approach to physical fitness that we often see in the modern world, after all… their daily activities often saw to the fitness of mind and body. However, I do not doubt that specific skills for those who considered themselves warriors or part of a warrior caste/cult were trained in a structured manner. Training with weapons, hand-to-hand combat in the form of wrestling or Glima, foot races, and contests of strength all have references in lore, cultural traditions, and archeology and the value that a tribal people likely placed on being hale of both body and mind cannot be understated. The members of Odin’s Warrior Tribe acknowledge that, and we honor those ancestors that fought to bring us to today by being fit and sound minded members of today’s Tribe.
Like all the other Tribal Values of the Odin’s Warrior Tribe, Fitness is based not only on the impressions of our ancestors but also on the legacy of military service we safeguard. All branches of the military, despite their vastly different missions, skill sets, and cultures all exist to do one thing, destroy the enemy through the application of violence. To do this we must be fitter, stronger, faster, more agile, and more durable than the enemy. During our military service our Fitness was tested regularly, stagnation or regression of personal physical Fitness was considered a failure, it made the entire chain and the team weaker and more susceptible to the enemy. Members of Odin’s Warrior Tribe will always seek to practice Fitness to increase their prowess, health, and utility to themselves, their families, and the Tribe. Though our military and tactical backgrounds vary, the members of Odin’s Warrior Tribe all understand, likely much as the warrior cults of our ancestors did, that the enemy trains too… and to prevail against that enemy one cannot depend on luck. To prevail against their enemies, potential or real, physiological or physical, the members of Odin’s Warrior Tribe must be committed to the value of Fitness. The tribe acknowledges that to be faster, stronger, more agile, more durable, and more resilient; one must train physically and to do so means understanding their current level of Fitness and then constantly seeking ways to improve it.
Despite the physicality associated with the value of Fitness, it is a wholistic concept that cannot just be applied to training the body to be stronger, faster, more durable, and more agile. Fitness also relates to the Fitness of the mind. Though there are volumes of modern research supporting the connection between physical activity and positive effects on mental health, there must also be an individual and inward focus on the Fitness of a Tribe Member’s mind. In this time, long after our tribal ancestors struggled, were made strong by, or died in the effort to attain the peace and prosperity we enjoy, we often give in to physical sloth and mentally numbing habits that are anathema to both mental and physical fitness. Time must be made to still the mind, train the mind, and improve mental fitness in concert with physical fitness. The avenues to increase the Fitness of the mind and just as varied, scalable, and personal as the avenues to increase the Fitness of the body and are better left to a latter series of articles. It is succinct enough to say that without a fit mind, a fit body is nothing but an aimless tool, and a fit mind without a fit body is a terrible waste. To be aimless and wasteful was likely abhorrent to our Tribal ancestors. The Members of Odin’s Warrior Tribe value Fitness to combat this aimlessness and wastefulness. Without Fitness of both mind and body we are likely to be swept away by either the efforts of the enemy, the sinister subversion of these slothful times, or worse yet, our own apathy. To be aimless and wasteful is also unacceptable to the military culture that Odin’s Warrior Tribe upholds. By practicing the Virtue of Fitness, by increasing the prowess and skill of body and mind, Tribe Members perpetuate the strong histories of our respective military legacies, the health, reputation, and well-being of the Tribe, and the skill readiness and capabilities of the Tribes individuals. It was unlikely that our Heathen ancestors fared well if they ignored Fitness in their harsh surroundings. It is also just as unlikely that members of the military were anything but burdens and liabilities to their fellow service members if they ignored Fitness of mind and body. As it was with our ancestral ties and military service, it is also unlikely that any member of Odin’s Warrior Tribe is not actively seeking to improve the Virtue of Fitness in both their minds and bodies.
Bring this virtue into your own life, if you have not already done so. Odin's Warrior Tribe has plans for fitness related activities for both the Tribe and veterans.