The Four Types of Men: Introduction

Four Types of Men

In this 5-part series, Josh Bowman outlines his view on masculinity, and details a harrowing workshop experience.


Note:I recently attended a relationship intensive weekend with my wonderful girlfriend. It was during this process that I discovered something profound about myself, and about masculinity in general. I have also come away from this experience with a deeper sense of self and from this place, a more profound love of my partner than ever before. It was an experience that I found revelatory, terrible, and shocking…and I would like to share it over the next week through a series of posts.


I have always been a skeptical person. Even in my activist hippie days, living in Vancouver, I was sarcastic and cynical. And I had only become more snarky over time.

I love my girlfriend. She is smart, funny, beautiful, and we fit together perfectly. As a skeptical, sarcastic person, however, I have often made fun of her for her belief in energy healing, healing stones, and anything else I saw as unscientific. I saw these things as placebos; pseudo-scientific bunk.

I was equally skeptical about attending a relationship workshop. We had attended a short introduction to the workshop earlier on, and I had to admit that the breathing exercises worked for me. For all I thought about Chakras and energy healing (not much), the exercises seemed to help. We signed up for a weekend introduction, saving up our pennies. We were excited and nervous about what we were getting into.

The first day and a half of the workshop were excellent. We spent time learning exercises to raise our energy level, and they were effective. After one exercise, our hands felt like magnets. After another, we felt deeply connected to  one another in the group (where before we were mostly strangers). We discussed the events in our past that have held us back, and the lies we tell ourselves. We took time to really appreciate the world around us, using all of our senses.

On the evening of the second day, the men and women were separated. The men were taken outside, and the women were left inside, to complete different rituals. They were meant to be secret, and upon completion we would meet back together, with renewed energy.

I went with the men, and immediately noticed a change in atmosphere. From being in a safe space where we could all share and discuss together, we were immediately lined up, and told to shut up and walk. Along with one of the other guys, I was smirking and laughing. I was confused, but I figured I would go along with this for the sake of the work we were doing. I had found it useful so far, after all…

We were made to jog, and taken to a park near a school. We were asked questions which, I imagine, were to get us in the mood for what was to come. Who would come to your funeral? Who would you die for? Who would you kill for? If a man was holding a knife to your mother’s throat, what would you f***ing do?

It was very aggressive, and it was a total departure from the rest of the workshop.

In the park, we were asked to line up and perform what is called the Haka. The Haka is what the All Blacks rugby team does before a match. It is a dance of aggression and intimidation. It is loosely derived from Maori tradition. Again, I followed along, skeptical as always.

We performed this over and over, with our volunteer leader shouting at us to feel the energy more, to feel the aggression. It was what the women truly wanted. Their reactions would surprise us, we were told. This was just between us. None of the women knew what we were doing. This was just for the men, the brothers, the warriors.

When someone spoke up and objected, they were shouted down until they conformed. In my case, I said nothing, and did my best to dance around, shout the words, and slap my knees. It was clear, however, that I thought the whole thing was hilarious.

When it was my turn to be singled out, it was particularly intense. I was called out for having the biggest vagina in the group. For being a pussy. I was told I needed this. Then I was physically attacked by one of the volunteers, who began trying to push me into the street, hitting and pushing at me while I backed away. I was told to hit him, to push him into the road. Once I realized he wasn’t going to stop, I moved to the side and got this volunteer into a chokehold until he calmed down. I say this not to tout my own fighting prowess, but just that I acted out of necessity. I had no desire to be violent…I was just confused at this point. A second volunteer moved to attack me before the volunteer leader called it off and asked me to lead the Haka.

I acted my best, led the Haka to their relative satisfaction, and then we walked back to the space. We did this dance once more, shirts off, before we entered. We were told to remove our shoes but otherwise rush straight in. No bathroom breaks, just bring in this aggressive, powerful masculine warrior energy.

The men formed an inside circle, the women formed an outside circle. We danced together, thrusting and moving our hips to Congolese music. It was, to say the least, disturbing and bizarre. What was most disturbing was my inability to speak up about this strange secret ritual.

Through this experience, I felt deeply, deeply upset. It is one thing to be aggressive on a sports field. It is something very different when it is in the midst of a workshop where we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. And it was even more disturbing when I thought about the context. Violence. Intimidation. Murder. Never backing down. All of this aggressive energy in the context of a relationship workshop. All of this violent energy in the context of our lovers, our wives, our sisters.

I participated until the dinner break, all the while feeling shocked. All the while feeling disgusted and confused. I listened to the women and men talk about their feelings. The people who spoke up loved the powerful energy. They felt attraction. They felt empowered, safe, aroused. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I get off on this energy?

I was in shock. As soon as I had the chance, I bolted. No jacket. No wallet. No phone. Boots undone, I bolted out the back door and never returned. I let nobody know, not even my girlfriend. I never spoke out. I just ran. I couldn’t be in that space for a second longer.

I wandered for hours in the dark, Toronto cold. I sat in a parking lot. I shuffled along the street, I cried and nearly fell. I was incoherent and deeply upset. I was angry at myself for not speaking up, and disgusted that I took part in something I saw as a terrible charade.

I wandered until I came to my senses. I ran into a friend, who loaned me some money to get home and let me use his phone to text my girlfriend. It was hours after I had left. She also had no idea what I had gone through, and no idea why I had left. Up until then, the workshop had been terrific. Not even the woman who coordinated the workshop had any idea what went on when the men left (I told her later, and she is changing the workshop and has refunded my money. She was shocked and disturbed. I bear her no ill will).

I went to bed. I was shaking, crying, freezing (even after a hot bath). I barely slept. The next morning, I spoke to my girlfriend. I told her some of the things that had happened. I drove to her place, and we spent the day together. I spent the morning crying, shaking, sleeping, and staring off into space. I was in shock. I was angry, sad, miserable. I don’t know that I have ever felt that way before in my life. Not that intensely.


I began to think about what I had experienced. At the workshop, we were told that there is masculine energy and feminine energy. We were told that men are warriors, and women are goddesses. We were told that men have forgotten what it means to be men, and women have forgotten what it means to be women. We were told that men have forgotten how to defend, fight, and protect. The women were told that they were controlling, or crazy, or emasculating.

Remarkably, these exercises WORKED. They were effective. They led to the group (well, most of the group) becoming closer, more excited, more connected. Yet, how we got to this place was through a path that I found destructive, manipulative, and dishonest.

Imagine, as a man, you have a girlfriend who wants you to be more assertive and confident. Frustrated, one night you go to a bar and end up cheating on her with someone you meet that night. The next day, your confidence is soaring. You have the swagger of someone who can pick up, damn the consequences. You meet up with your girlfriend and she is impressed with your newfound confidence. She admires your swagger, and is attracted to you all over again. She doesn’t know what happened the night before, but she is turned on by the energy you now radiate. What you did ‘worked’, yet the means to arrive at this place were despicable.

Imagine that you are single. You have had no luck with women. You meet a pick up artist, who shows you how to trick women into dating you. You meet someone, and you neg her, grab her hand at the right time, and buy her enough drinks to convince her to give you a try. It’s not really you, but being yourself wasn’t working. You get a date. Maybe you get laid. Again, do the means justify the end? I believe that they do not.

I think back on our secret male ritual. I wonder…would the women still be aroused and feel safe if they witnessed what had happened? If they saw the aggression and violence? If they saw me being called out and physically attacked? If they saw another man being shouted down for raising an objection?

At the same time…I also had to analyze my own reaction. Why did this work so well for some men, and so poorly for me? Why did I react so incredibly badly? Why could I not tap into that warrior aggression? Why didn’t it turn me on to unleash my deep, primal self? What kind of man am I?


As a man today, I have found negotiating gender roles confusing. I am not the only one. Some men believe that the rise of feminism has been emasculating for men. The empowerment of women has confused traditional gender binaries…and, they say, this is for the worse. Some men believe that the alpha male is a relic. The notion of men watching sports, drinking beer, wearing Tap Out t-shirts is antiquated. Other men believe it doesn’t matter anymore. We are all just people, dressing and acting as we please. Some men are feminists, some have male guilt.

We can blame women, or the outside world, or the media, or politicians all we like. I believe that the crisis of masculinity today is not the result of any outside forces as much as it is a true confusion about our nature as individuals and as men.

This is a revelation for me. A revelation is that I am not a warrior.

I am something else. It is not in my nature to be a warrior, and much of my frustration in life has been from not matching up to my perception of masculinity, framed in the language of aggression, strength, and violence. This likely comes as no surprise at all to those who know me (I’m a pretty non-threatening person), but it is much more powerful for me to fully embrace this realization, and take solace in it.

My revelation is that I can find strength, leadership, discipline, and control by tapping into my true nature. The energy I participate in is, and always has been, playful. Peaceful. Childlike. Humorous. There is tremendous strength in peace, just as there is in war. It is not weakness to avoid violence…it takes just as much strength and presence of mind. Maybe, I would argue, even more.

I can let go of my anger at not being tough enough on the basketball court. My frustration with not asserting my strength at work. My disappointment in not confronting men harassing women on a bus or on the street.

I can release my overall frustration in trying to win a game that other men have trained their whole lives to play.

My ability to do any of these things has to come from an honest place. I have to stand up for someone who is being harassed or intimidated, but not as a warrior. I have to stand up because I know what’s right. I have to stand up because of my love for them, and for myself. That is where I will find my strength and my confidence.

Now I realize that all this time, I have been training to play another game. I have instinctual skills and strength that come from my heart, my morality, my peace, and my discipline. I am an expert at this game, yet I have so rarely truly embraced it.


To extrapolate from my own revelations, I wonder….how many other men out there would find peace and strength once they stop chasing a construct of who they imagine they should be? How many men could find strength in embracing their own power?

I now truly know that there is not one masculine energy. What we understand as masculinity is varied and diverse. At the same time, I believe I have discovered a series of helpful models of four distinct forms of masculinity. I believe there are four types of men: The Warrior, The Philosopher, The Monk, and The Bard. Very few men are only one of these, and it may be that these archetypes could be transposed for women as well. Given that I cannot speak from that experience, I am writing about these archetypes as a man.

Over the next few days, please read these as they are intended: as theoretical models to help you on your journey. The language I will use implicitly asks you to accept that there is energy in the world, and that we participate in this energy. I am also asking you to agree (for the sake of the series) that there are indeed four key archetypes of masculinity, with an infinite number of combinations. Think of the primary colours: red, yellow, and blue. You can combine these colours in an incredible variety of ways, yet the results are still derived from three colours (and two shades, of course). If the colours were called something else (blorp, ning, chundle), the results would be the same. If you prefer the word “priest” to “monk”, so be it.

Ultimately, if you think there are five, six, or seven archetypes, it doesn’t matter. What is important is to begin finding individual strength, comfort, and solace in the energy and nature that you were born and raised with. I know that for me, much of my anxiety and frustration has dissipated in the strength and comfort I have found in embracing my own energy. Maybe you will take away some level of comfort as well as you continue on your journey.

Edit: corrected primary colours. Thanks Kevin.

Tomorrow: The Warrior.

—Photo Collin Key/Flickr 

For Further Reading Check out:

Four Types of Men Part I: The Warrior

Four Types of Men Part II: The Philosopher

About Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre, and also blogs for the Huffington Post. You can email Josh here.. If you want to know more about Josh, check this post and this post out first.


  1. Paul Norberg says:

    Thank you for relating your real responses and experience. I identify with what you have to say and am looking forward to your next installment. If there is s way for me to contribute I would like to. I for one, have been thinking of myself as a peaceful warrior for many years. The definition of that is somewhat nebulous, but it goes something like this; To give all of my intention to making the world a better place. I cannot change the entire world, but I can change my little corner of it. By extension I hope to have it bleed out beyond my reach and sphere of influence and join with the other people who are working to make a better place to leave to our progeny.
    Again, thank you Josh!! Keep up the good work.
    Paul Norberg

  2. Personally I think the warrior mindset is a joke. I prefer the mindset of being a lover and not a fighter. The fact is warriors do not get anything but lip service in our society — from men or women — and anybody who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. Veterans get substandard medical care and are just shipped out for one tour of duty after another without regard for the consequences to them or their families.

    The fact is that soldiers are not defending us, they are invading other countries and fighting vastly outgunned civilians and armies. What is brave about that? People who volunteer to become soldiers and warriors to get their heads blown off in some country that 99% of america cares nothing about are out of their minds. I don’t know of any women that find the warrior mind set attractive. What women like are men who desire them and are not afraid to act on that desire.

    All the warriors can go overseas to fight their inconsequential wars and guys like me will be making love to their wives and girlfriends back here in the good old USA.

    • I´ve been reading a lot about the Warrior archetype, as defined by Jung (the three other archetypes: King, Magician, Lover). What the writer describes in the initiation doesn´t sound like Warrior to me, it sounds like immature, wounded, cornered frustrated rage, a symtom of the wounded masculinity that we all need less of. Getting the aggressor in a head lock until he calms down : that´s Warrior, governed by a noble code, seeking to act only when necessary and not being provoked. The Warrior is a noble soul, with purpose and focus, governed by a calm and benign King, as defined by Robert Moore. He´s not a soldier with a trigger happy finger, who acts first, thinks later. You could have flattened the dude, it´s what he was calling you out on: his perception that you were a pussy. His insecurity felt threatened by your refinement. But you didn´t take the bait. This version of the Warrior is what I suscribe to. I´ve been looking at what popular culture offers up as a version of this type of Warrior. Aragorn from LOTR springs to mind. Presented with the same situation, he would have done exactly the same thing. He has the martial skills to settle anything with anyone, but he doesn´t bully, he doesn´t provoke, he´s always seeking the higher ground, but he can rumble if he has to, only if he has to.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    The haka part of the exercise interested me, so I went back to youtube. They have all kinds of women’s groups doing the haka. Might make the male warrior energy get a little….weak, to see women doing it, trying like mad to drop down to a high tenor and make terrible faces. I mean, good for them. But hell on the male warrior energy thing.

  4. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    Pretty cool article!

  5. Two kinds of women (madonna/whore): sexist.

    Four kinds of men: wise.

    Two kinds of readers, I guess, and I’m the sort who is far from convinced.

    Also: did the writer really think that all this unscientific stuff was just placebo? An awful lot of it is prejudice.

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    KKZ. Presumably there are other ways of ramping up masculine energy that would work–which is to say, attract or arouse women. Point is, this did, and IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO. Not outside the doctrine of whomever runs the program, anyway.

    • I’d agree it’s an uncomfortable truth. We don’t want these methods to work, we don’t want to believe the Warrior is inherently attractive (exception being, unless he’s a warrior crusading for what we deem a good cause – no one gets upset about women being attracted to soldiers, for instance). As you, or someone else upthread, said, it’s heresy to the New Manhood. Which could be one reason Josh ran from it. Could also be he didn’t identify with it and didn’t like feeling threatened by the workshop leaders and possibly his peers.

  7. Did you ever go back for your baggage?

  8. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

    I wonder if the Warrior archetype is not so much about physicality as it is about winning – the relentless, aggressive pursuit of victory, at all costs. Isn’t that the point of war and battle? Not the bloodshed itself, but in what/who’s name the blood is spilled?

    I can only guess what Josh Bowman’s other archetypes will look like, but based on my guess, I would say an insatiable desire to win would set a Warrior apart from the other types. Like I said, I look forward to reading more!

    (Oh, and for the record, I was pretty appalled at the Warrior experience that was part of the workshop. No doubt that it got some of the men all riled up and swagger-y, no doubt that some of the women responded to that, but there have to be other ways to achieve that radiating masculine energy that don’t involve borrowing rituals from other cultures or being physically and verbally aggressive/abusive. I’d tend to agree with Josh that the ends do not justify the means.)

    • KKZ, If you liked this article, this reminds me of something posted on another page, sometime ago. It is an article that details Archetypes of mature masculinity and made for a very interesting read. I’ll leave the link here if you’re interested in reading a bit about it.

      On another note, I don’t about Incas, but Mayans and Aztecs, technologically advanced as they were, the were also extremely violent civilizations. Aztecs in particular had subjugated nations that paid tributes in food and material and were objects of raids to obtain slaves and human sacrifices. The

      Aztec empire was eventually brought down by 200 Spanish men that organized the many nations that had been previously subjected to Aztec dominion and brutality and by extreme outbreaks of small pox that destroyed large parts of the population.

      • Not sure if anyone’s still around 3 days later what with the Net’s short attention span but you’re right – the native mesoamerican peoples I referred to were indeed violent. As well as intellectual. The city of Alexandria I referenced, if I remember correctly, was the result of Alexander the Great’s military conquest. As Josh said, these archetypes do cross over and blend.

        I think it’s really interesting when the Warrior and Monk types overlap to create the Paladin archetype, the holy warrior, the crusader, the righteous assassin. I see that in the mesoamerican peoples too – human sacrifice had a deeply spiritual significance to it. There was no division of church and state, so to speak, at that time. Also, being pantheistic, they often also worshipped violent gods along with benevolent ones. (Greeks, Romans, Mesopotamian peoples would qualify here too.)

        Not endorsing or condemning anything here, just intensely curious. i didn’t want to flood this thread with “these archetypes can describe women too!” but I’ll just go so far as to say I identify very much with the Philosopher type, so I find this all very intellectually stimulating at the very least. Doesn’t mean I have to buy into it 100%. I have an insatiable hunger for brainfood.

  9. “The Warrior, The Philosopher, The Monk, and The Bard.” Intriguing. Sounds like roleplaying game character types (like D&D classes). You’re just missing one: the Rogue.

    Without reading the follow-ups I’m not sure how they are specifically male. Though I can see how they can have a masculine tint and the female versions would have a different tint (and dropping them into a specific society or setting would further colour their descriptions).

  10. I think the author wraps it up pretty well at the end – we’re all various shades of brown or purple or whatever – not exclusively primary color. A guy who is day in and day out 100% “warrior” in our world would likely also be known as an “asshole” or a “bully”. If he were transported back in time to some steppe or jungle where presumably warrior values reigned supreme, even he would find that “warrior” values or energy would need to be mixed with complementary, socially-redeeming skills like diplomacy, organization, and concern for the welfare of the entire group.

    I would not describe myself as a “warrior”, but I like to run for fitness and the general stress-relief it gives me. It gives me a general boost in the “warrior” department by embracing what’s good about that archetype: pushing myself, enduring some pain for the sake of a goal, increasing my skill/conditioning level, and so on. I feel healthier and more attractive – and no need to wade through the blood of my enemies, listening to their lamentations of their women.

  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    Mike Herzig,
    What SB was standing in front of scared him so much he ran his ass off and disappeared, almost as if returning to the womb. His reaction is extraordinary. The fact is that, as atavistic as the end of the exercise seemed, that modern women are not supposed to be attracted to and aroused by warrior energy, it actually happened and, modern man movements notwithstanding, we see it every day and either look the other way or insist that the patriarchy hurts us all, or some other mindless anodyne statement, or we accept it as normal. IOW, it’s not that rare, not so rare that we don’t encounter it even if some reject the impact.
    No. This guy is so far from what he found [which, as I say in the preceding graf is hardly exceptional] that he went looking for a different space-time continuum to escape. He’s the one with the issue. You may be right in that his warrior energy has been stifled, made fun of, labeled as evil, repressed, made him fearful. Suddenly, he finds two things. He’s got it, which is so astounding that he freaks. And the women like it, which invalidates all his hopes for evolution. That’s not so cool, either.
    Now, as I said regarding the hypo of soldiers or veterans dragged through this nonsense, you have to be kind of non-self-aware–despite the fact that self-aware is probably in the top five of the qualities you are most humble about being proud of– to be impressed or affected by this. So it’s probably a kind of odd group of guys. And, likely, of women.
    Which means lessons should be salted liberally.

    • Mike Herzig,
      What SB was standing in front of scared him so much he ran his ass off and disappeared, almost as if returning to the womb. His reaction is extraordinary.

      Richard, that turn of phrase made me laugh so hard

  12. mike herzig says:

    I believe that Bowman is standing right in front of what it is to be a man. It isn’t the aggressive warrior acting out some ancient tribal ritual; that was important to the tribe and necessary to survive. And it isn’t picking up women in order to use them for sex in order to gain fleeting self esteem. It is understanding that the strength in men comes from a sense of what is right and wrong and standing up for it in the way that makes sense for them. It is in self acceptance of the way in which you as a man are put together.

    It’s been my belief that men don’t understand who they are because our fathers didn’t and their fathers, too. It is the disconnection from ourselves that causes our anxiety over who we aren’t and who we think we should be. You can’t look outside yourself to define yourself but you need roll models to emulate in order to understand who you are. Your father was that guy and if he didn’t understand who he was then he couldn’t pass any wisdom down to you.

  13. Richard Aubrey says:


    You’re not the only one annoyed with this article. Bowman strongly implies that the warrior energy was extremely interesting to the women. In other words, had you been there, it might have been interesting to you. Maybe not, but the result seemed to be that the women were energized by the men’s warrior energy. Attracted to it. Aroused.
    This is heresy to the modern man movement. It’s an anachronism. A throwback. It rewards the warrior energy with femine interest. Sheesh.
    Now, I’m not saying this is correct, or that the people involved weren’t self-selected to be easily influenced. Nevertheless…wow.
    Should say, I’ve been a soldier. The exercise they put the men through would be mildly annoying to a soldier, since he’d be more likely interested in sitting in a warm building–been plenty cold and tired, thankyouverymuch–and jumped around in the dark, and wrestled and gotten yelled at and what not. Take my shoes off? Are you freaking kidding me? Get stuffed, buddy.
    Soldiers, even veterans forty years out, would be either laughing at the thing or mildly brassed off. If women were interested in the other guys’ masculine energy–which we would not be manifesting, the situation having been so lame–I suppose we’d either laugh or try to figure out how to fake it. Somebody would be calling an ambulance for one of the instructors who got carried away with himself, but he’s only himself to blame. Hate when that happens.

    • I have spent my entire life around sensitive men. My father is the nerdy academic type, and I have a very strong relationship with him. And my brother became a vegetarian when he heard our chickens getting killed by a fox one night, so needless to say, he is the same way. I know that it is impossible to know how someone my subconsciously react to something, but I highly doubt I would be one of the women to do so. As a teenager, perhaps, but as I’ve grown I’ve lost pretty much all interest in that type of person. I write, so through my characters I am able to explore my subconscious “turn on”s, as you will. I have a reoccurring theme of gentle understanding men and somewhat dominant women (not exactly sexually dominant, just kind of loud and mean at times). It’s not really something I do on purpose. They just kind of show up again and again.

  14. This article pissed me off in that I hate the whole “I am man, here me roar” stuff probably just as much as you, the author, do. It makes me kind of sick, actually. I believe that men can be as manly or as effeminate as they like and that is just great, but to try to shove the less stereotypically “warrior” types into the warrior category sounds as awful to me as if someone came up to me and told me that I should never voice my opinion or be passionate in my hobbies because passion and opinions are “unladylike”. I wonder what they did for the women. Probably something awful as well.

    I have always been drawn to men who are sensitive. Not that I have anything against the stoic strong type, because they are allowed to be that way with perhaps another women, but men who are sensitive to the feelings of others, who expend energy thinking a little too much, who are often vulnerable . . . I don’t know. I guess I’d want someone like me, and while I grew up on a farm and rarely wear make-up and feel comfortable in a T-shirt and jeans, my mind is pretty damn girly. And I don’t even know how I’d relate to someone with a very masculine brain.

    I think the other thing that made me kind of angry is that throughout a girl’s life, we are told that men are scary. That they want to have sex with you, that your opinions don’t matter, that your strength is as insignificant as your opinions, that you can get raped at any second, that groups of men on the street are just waiting to make catcalls and make you feel small. And obviously this is NOT TRUE, but sometimes you can’t help but feel this way as a woman (encouraged by the occasional group of men who make catcalls), and when men are ENCOURAGED to fulfill this stereotype, and that women are TURNED ON by it . . . it really upsets me. It really is screwed up, and it scares me. It’s what makes me want to stay inside and just get a dog. :/

  15. Richard Aubrey says:

    Sounds like Bowman got his warrior mojo working and didn’t like it.
    It would be strange if, after a milion years of pre-human and human evolution, we didn’t have, in all men, about the same capacities. After all, it wasn’t until very recently, a couple of hundred years and that in great civilizations, not on the borders, not in the lands of the barbarians, that a man could get away with only being one or two types instead of having to have every type available at one time or another–like twice a day, maybe.
    The single-purpose tool is only useful as long as the other purposes are dealt with by others. Men, in their way, and women in theirs, are more likely to be the Swiss Army Knife. Not likely Bowman missed that inheritance. He may have been raised to dislike some of it, which could be a problem when a capacity he actively dislikes turns out to be just the ticket.
    As for doing the haka when things look bad: At the Plate, the Brits had an eight-inch cruiser and two six-inch cruisers. The Achilles, the NZ cruiser, was one of the latter. The Graf Spee had eleven-inch guns, which meant the cruisers were going to be under the fire of heavier guns for some time before they could get close enough to hit. If doing the haka gave the Kiwis a bit of courage–as if Kiwis actually need any help in that regard–then go for it, says I. And let others, those not actually there, sneer. Nobody needs to pay attention to them, anyway.

    • Well, I for one see a difference between going into battle against a superiourly armed enemy, and attending a workshop supposedly shaped to enhance trust and love between people that are close to each other…

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        Kal. You do, do you?
        In the battle, the guys were doing the usual to get a bit of courage out of an ancient ritual. In the encounter group, the instructors were using it and some other games to gin up masculine, warrior energy.
        Somewhat different goals, but they seem to have worked in both cases.
        What causes me to laugh uproariously–I actually don’t, but I smile from time to time when there are no children around to be traumatized–is how the women reacted.
        Lord. Decades of modern man/feminism/evolution work down the tubes. It is too funny.

        • Well, I guess that you, as a society, can push all the “pencil-necked geeks” out in the streets to get run over by a bus, and consider they’ve just got what was coming for them.

          But then again, who are gonna develop the fighter jets and night-vision goggles for the warriors of your society?

        • But seriously. I don’t know all that much about haka routines. But it sounds to me as it’s something that is used to bring a group of fighters/soldiers together, as a unit, before a battle against an (possibly superior) enemy. Right?

          Then it sounds really strange and counterproductive to me to use this routine to turn it inwards, as to establish a pecking order within a group, in order to bully and “eliminate” the one(s) ending up at the bottom.

  16. Anybody who thinks men can be categorised into four or any number of “types” hasn’t the foggiest clue what men actually are.

  17. Josh, a great piece and another example of men’s confusion between “warrior” and “war,” “warrior” and “aggressive behavior,” as compared to “assertive.” You were ASSERTIVE when you put your AGGRESSIVE attacker in a choke-hold to stop him. Check out for a different take on the important work of becoming a warrior in the world.

    and, one small point:

    Josh B writes: “The Haka is what the All Blacks rugby team does before a match. It is a dance of aggression and intimidation. It is loosely derived from Maori tradition.”

    The Haka is not “loosely derived,” but is a traditional dance among the Maori; neither limited to war, aggression or intimidation, it can be celebratory, welcoming, funereal, or for happy occasions. Although the war Haka is traditionally danced by men, a Haka can be danced by women or children.

    The NZ All Blacks perform the “Ka Mate” — “tis death,” which ironically refers to successful escape of a Maori war chief from men who would kill him, the victory of life over death.

    For more info, see

  18. Bay Area Guy says:

    Imagine that you are single. You have had no luck with women. You meet a pick up artist, who shows you how to trick women into dating you. You meet someone, and you neg her, grab her hand at the right time, and buy her enough drinks to convince her to give you a try. It’s not really you, but being yourself wasn’t working. You get a date. Maybe you get laid. Again, do the means justify the end? I believe that they do not.


    You’re telling me you’d rather the poor guy remain lonely and involuntarily celibate?!

    The way I see it, PUA is a necessary evil. Sure, it has some objectionable and misogynistic elements to it, but there’s a reason why the industry has exploded over the past couple of decades.

    Contrary to popular myth, the primary consumers of PUA aren’t users of women who want to enhance their abilities to trick women into bed. The primary consumers of PUA are average guys (ie. beta males) who are being left out due to female pickiness.

    Until women either start initiating more, or stop being so picky, PUA will only continue to grow.

    Personally, I think PUA helps level the playing field. An emotional jiu-jitsu for men, if you will.

  19. Thank you, Bill. I, too, find there to be a huge difference between bullies and fierce, courageous men and women. Bullies are also cowards, and cowards are essentially conformists, never challenging the mentality of the pack. And as Scott Peck put it, what is courageous about having a gun pointed at your front and another pointed at your back?

    This is a wonderful essay and I look forward to Josh’s future posts. To me, he is exploring not just what it means for him to be a man but what it means to be a human being.

  20. Many of the most courageous men in history have NOT been warriors! Were Andrei Sakharov and Martin Luther King Jr. warriors? I’m sick and tired of this macho “alpha male” [expletive deleted]!

    • It depends on how the word ‘warrior’ is defined. For me, those men were certainly warriors, as I consider moral courage to be no different to physical courage. To have the moral courage those men did in the face of torture, severe disability or agonising death is a warrior mentality.

      • I’ve always had the impression that many of those who put a premium on physical courage don’t have much appreciation for moral courage. At least that’s been my own experience. (Let me make myself clear: I am not bashing the warrior type. I have always honored our soldiers because they serve to protect the rest of us. However, I’ve always held in contempt the arrogant, self-centered bullies of the “alpha male” variety. The key is to serve others.)

        I have trouble calling Sakharov and King warriors. They were nonviolent men who were subjected to violence themselves. Men of this sort have been driven by compassion, which so many wrongfully categorize as a “feminine” trait. Raoul Wallenberg, one of the greatest heroes of World War II, was a noncombatant who saved the lives of more than 10,000 Jews. He never resorted to violence, but was willing to put his own life on the line for others who could not defend themselves (and did so frequently). With his slight build and average appearance, he didn’t fit the glamorous image. He even disliked participating in competitive team sports, which attitude more than a few people would designate as “feminized.” Of course, I should also point out the obvious fact that women have also shown great moral courage.

        What tires me about discussions of this sort is that eventually some begin to say that one kind of man is superior to all the others. Specifically I see this sort of attitude among those who are inclined to defend bullying in the schools and dismiss scientists as “pencil-necked geeks” and those who claim that American society is suffering a “wimpification.” Interestingly enough, these same people have no appreciation for the examples of men such as Sakharov, King, and Wallenberg.

        I’m not speaking from a “politically correct” mentality here. I’m simply saying that one half of the human race is bound to have a great deal of variety. I’m of the opinion that each guy has to find his own masculinity, which will quite likely not conform completely to any particular stereotype. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses.

        The fact is that the four types of men (or however many you care to delineate) are all needed for a society to function and survive. So, those who are inclined to say one type is better than the other should just learn to view other guys as individuals.

  21. “Imagine that you are single. You have had no luck with women. You meet a pick up artist, who shows you how to trick women into dating you. You meet someone, and you neg her, grab her hand at the right time, and buy her enough drinks to convince her to give you a try. It’s not really you, but being yourself wasn’t working. You get a date. Maybe you get laid. Again, do the means justify the end? I believe that they do not.”

    Why not? What on earth are the negative side-effects? You both have a good time together and you learn a small part of what works with women, how to turn them on. Maybe you decide that’s worth pursuing, maybe you decide it isn’t. Either way the means here seems entirely innocuous, and even in much more borderline cases – if the ends don’t justify the means, I’d like to know what the hell does – as a wise man once said.

    This workshop does sound rather phony and nonsensical, but I can see why such things arise. The Warrior in many men has been repressed by society, and that urge to dominate, overpower, control, kill, etc is something they are told has no place in their hearts. That is harmful and it is wrong.

    • Yeah, I guess non-Warriors are wimps. Better to be a bully than a defender, I suppose.

    • Another thought occurs to me: Beginning in colonial times, exclusively intellectual men in this country have been denigrated and stereotyped as effete (“pencil-necked geeks”); but no one objects to that.

      Incidentally, I appreciate true warriors; i.e., soldiers who serve our country. Sports. on the other hand, are not a war; they are a form of entertainment. A society needs different types of men in order to function and survive. We need all types. But, no, what we’re going to do is say that one type of man is superior to all the other types, who are inferior and are not “real men.” Yeah, that makes a lot of sense! 🙂

      • Bill, your comment reminded me of a documentary I watched a few weeks ago about ancient Alexandria, Egypt, where the entire culture revolved around intellectualism and scientific thought. The more I learned of Alexandria, it struck me as a utopia for pacifist, nerdy-minded people like me. The leaders there believed Knowledge is Power (and that applied to men AND women), and the city had perhaps the most extensive, impressive library ever to exist since the dawn of civilization.

        I say *perhaps,* because we’ll never know. It was torn to the ground and burned… by Warriors. Barely anything survived. And not the only time in history this has happened; the Inca, the Aztec and the Mayan peoples were also intellectually and technologically advanced for their time, and were crushed by Warriors with half their brainpower.

        The Warriors, too, knew knowledge was power – but refused to let anyone have it. The pen is mightier than the sword in all ways but one.

  22. Richard Aubrey says:

    Haka is interesting. Some football teams–see BYU–and even high school teams do it before a game.
    You’ll find dozens on Youtube.
    There is also a haka done by a New Zealand Infantry company at the funeral of a dead soldier. Seeing these guys in their Class A uniforms doing this is also compelling and the comments are enlightening.

    First time I heard of the haka was in a book including a letter from a gunnery officer on a NZ cruiser after the battle of the River Plate. His guys had done “their hakas” prior to coming on the range. Had no clue what it was for many years.

    That said, the fact that women are aroused by the warrior spirit isn’t quite quite these days. Nope. How much ink and how many pixels have been expended in debunking this? A lot, to answer my own question. Now we find it works. Whatever shall we do? Hey. Is it possible to get some of the women involved to tell us how they felt when this nasty, patriarchal, neanderthal warrior thingy got them interested? Were they surprised? Pleased? Ashamed? You mean women might actually go for jerks?
    Talk about subversive.


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