“What compelled you to get out of bed this morning? What brought you here today? The fancy title? The free breakfast maybe? Do you belong here?”
These opening questions are often asked at our LouKa Tactical training events as we prepare to train women in physical skills, leadership, teamwork, warrior mindset and professional courage. As Dayton City Police Chief Richard Biehl stated at the recent event hosted by his agency: "We live in a nation where we need warrior energy. It is crucial to our survival."
So, how do you “build” warrior women? Training in the "hard to kill skills" areas are a given, including weapons, functional fitness for females, combatives and power development/delivery, officer down self-help and buddy rescue techniques.
In addition to working on developing physical skills, attendees should leave a training event inspired and empowered with a greater knowledge base of leadership, teamwork and individual super-vision! Warrior women should be encouraged to take ownership and responsibility in developing not only their own skills but also in inspiring and encouraging others to lead and excel - in other words, train and prepare to leave the law enforcement profession better than they found it one performer, one course, one academy class and one organization at a time. This is key in the philosophy and mission of Building Warrior Women.
Function over fantasy
This training philosophy is centered on one concept: Function, which means functionally-centered training rather than fashion or fantasy-centered training. What type of training and environments do women really need to enhance their warrior mindset, body and spirit, thus making them a harder target for their adversaries? Quality, functional training pays dividends and engineers future performance. Every law enforcement trainer should decide what type of functional leadership women can benefit from in order to enhance their future.
Networking is essential for women in this profession. In addition to the national and international organizations such as NAWLE, IAWP, WIFLE, and others, many regional and local associations provide opportunities and the ability to build relationships that may not be available to an officer within her own agency. This type of “no strings attached” mentoring and role modeling can make all the difference in the career path of a female in any law enforcement, probation/parole or correctional role. The importance of creating these types of opportunities cannot be ignored or taken for granted. You don’t realize how important a mentor is until you lose one or become one.
It takes a very strong male figure to mentor a very strong female. As a female in law enforcement, don’t overlook the opportunity to learn from our big brothers in this profession. Meeting men like John Meyer of Team One Network, Academy Director (ret.) Ralph Galvin of the Washtenaw Community College Police Academy (MI), and Dave “JD Buck Savage” Smith of Calibre Press changed my life and my career path. All of these men have great vision, effective leadership styles and take great pride in watching others succeed through them. All of these men support the notion that it is perfectly acceptable for women to not only be warriors but to build warriors.
If you expect that a public safety-related organization transforms individuals into warriors, here is a reality check: this profession does not convert you - YOU bring it to the profession. Some people were born to be the police and some people were born to call the police, and warriors understand this. So where do warrior women come from? Social conditioning? Genetics? Are warrior women trainable?
Culture of honor
My own warrior women legacy is personified by my mother. My mother is of Native American descent on her mother’s side. She is a child of the Great Depression. Her father was physically disabled. She is a retired wife of a crop farmer and mother of eight. She is a survivor of three heart attacks and several life threatening surgeries. She has lost her husband and a son, but she continues to find a smile every day, especially for her children of who she will fight to the end should someone cross any of them. My mother, my grandmother and great grandmother shared the same philosophies, virtues, pride, values, courage and discipline. These women all possessed an inner strength that cannot be defined with words.
As Malcolm Gladwell theorizes in his book “The Outliers,” “The ‘culture of honor’ hypothesis says that it matters where you’re from, not just in terms of where you grew up or where your parents grew up, but in terms of where your great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents grew up. There is something in the air that we pick up from our parents and from the communities in which we’re raised. And that’s a powerful and persistent thing.”
Knowing one’s family history can provide a deeper understanding of one’s self. It represents a person’s cultural foundation. Personal choice also plays a role in creating positive futures and building a stronger inner self. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Training Facility proudly displays words: “The pain of discipline or the pain of defeat… you choose.”
Remember this: Training for an event oftentimes provides an opportunity to explore a person’s character and discipline. The event itself provides an opportunity to display character and discipline. Running a marathon is a perfect example. For those who have finished a marathon understand the value of training for a marathon.
Take control of your performance and future by writing an individual mission statement and posting it everywhere. Commit to writing your professional goals today. Find training that supports your goals even if it means investing your own time and money. Consider leadership training irrespective of your rank or position. Encourage your daughters to do the same in all of the aforementioned areas. Remember, they are watching.
Build warrior women.
See you out there!