19 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Nineteen: “Women The Equal Of Men”

We’ve all seen “Wonder Woman” and thought it was cool.

But was there really a race of warrior women?

Did they really sear off the right breast so the arm would grow strong to draw the bow and sling the double-bladed axe?

Were the Amazons really the greatest force on horseback ever?

Did they actually attack Athens … and nearly win?

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here


  1. Morgan on October 19, 2020 at 7:06 am

    A life where male domination is not the central tenant of the family-religion-socio-economic situation would probably look like the social dynamics at a long standing, successful crossfit box.

    The women would take more pride in their physical prowess, skills, heart and capacity vs the color of their eyeliner.

    Childcare would be shared between parents, or the village, similar to the baby/kid room at a box where each parent takes a break from the workout to attend to the kid who needs attention.

    The “end numbers” (weight on the bar teaches this) wont matter so much to define success, but the incremental gains people make based upon their own performance improvements.

    People would be less butthurt about other’s peoples fashion/cultural choices, because they learn through grueling physical events that function is often more important than form to get the job done without chafing.

    Men and women and trans can bond closer through the “contrived” yet shared misery of a hard, regularly occuring workout. While not tragic like war, it shares many of the same neurotransmitters as stressful events that have bonded warfighters and the connection is quick.

    • Brian Nelson on October 19, 2020 at 7:38 am

      I cannot agree with you enough. I love the intimacy of CrossFit. As a Soldier, my team building formula was simple: collective suffering + breaking bread. It is the rucksack flop after an 18 mile ruckmarch, when we are all sitting around exchanging MRE parts (peanut butter for cheese) that the true bonding occurs. We cannot have that open-hearted sharing without sharing the sweat and suffering first.

      Kelly and I built a race on this concept: http://www.unleashedatstadiumbowl.org

      It started as Officer PT when I was a battalion commander to build my team, and get to know my officers. We’ve held the race for 9 years (August would have been 10…but the tyranny of fear has outlawed outdoor activities).

      Our ‘sub-title’ for the race is ‘GRIT CITY EFFORT + SHARED STRUGGLE = KINDRED CONNECTION. Kelly correctly told me ‘collective suffering’ probably wouldn’t go over very well. Our animal rescue is Kindred Souls Foundation, so this fits better.

      When I started this race, I was a full-on CrossFit nut. Was introduced to it in Afghanistan in 2006. What? We keep score working out? I’m in! The race is ‘CrossFit-ish’ in that it is decidedly anaerobic and intimate. Everyone sees everyone the entire race.

      There is something so meaningful about witnessing people go ‘all-in’. The most direct route to this degree of vulnerability is very difficult physical exercise.

      Something just occurred to me as I read your post–women do not put on makeup nor do their hair in a CrossFit box…but walk into a LA Fitness–and both the men and women look like they prepped for 30 minutes to come to the gym.

      Great insight.

  2. Brian Nelson on October 19, 2020 at 7:28 am

    I loved your comment about how an exclusive group of women behaves differently. There were a couple of times when I was in an all male unit in the Army–and it is different without women. In some ways it was more effective, but I’m sure there were ways in which it was not as effective.

    I do not think the idea of hyper powerful women is romanticized at all, how women demonstrate their power – within a patriarchy – manifests itself differently.

    When I was at the Defense Language Institute all of our instructors were native Russians. The classes were small, no more than 10 students per instructor. My main instructor was a woman named Gaspashja (Mrs..hard to transliterate) Lublina. I absolutely loved her. One of my classmates was an Air Force woman, very left of center, and constantly talking about women’s issues.

    Oh–the adjective for ‘married’ is different for men and women in Russian. For men, it is literally ‘with wife’, shjenitsa or simply shenat (again, hard to spell), while for women it is ‘zamuxshum’ which means ‘behind husband’.

    My classmate nearly had an aneurysm when we learned this. “How do the Russian women handle this kind of subjugation? How is it that you are content to allow only the men to vote?”

    Mrs Lublina, smiled kindly at her and answered, “Who do you think tell the men how to vote?”

    That, it occurred to me then, was insight and wisdom that is never written down.

  3. Morgan on October 19, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    So many great Insights Brian. I hope to experience your race some day – sport —-social sport especially connect people and reduce the churn of high stress and low trust environments. Tell me more about your rescue? Are you working with security cooperation?

    I have a suspicion that this lack of active female physical engagement contributes to the societal and economic problems many communities that require their women to dress a certain way that prohibits movement or cultural norms that discourage “sweat”.

    My French girlfriends, American gay queens, Filipino money makers, and middle eastern educated princesses all have some story about Botox in the armpits, an inability to sweat, or other cultural bullshit that prevents them from collective physical suffering. I’ll go there. It definitely works. Sometimes it has to be contrived like CrossFit – – sometimes there is a big bad to fight against. Like resistance. Or an actual war.

    Over the years however I’ve noticed that women are women but there’s this breakthrough in attitude that comes with physical culture- maybe not necessarily CrossFit but my friends that start some functional exercise with les mills, nature walking (maybe with mushrooms but nevertheless outdoors and walking), or even going to these awful corporate gyms with a new boyfriend- there’s some power they now possess that is new.

    Physical culture is empowering but breaking through the culture to encourage something like amazon warrior archetype is too much for most women now, but it’s changing.

    As big a narcissist and poor business for box owners as Glassman provided- I’m so grateful that women now have this incredible option to invest a bit of money in to get returns that for my generation typically required military service, NCAA sports, or crunchy adventure sports addiction to get. It’s fining so much traction and so fast.

    It’s almost like the American middle class world has changed and now women are allowed to be strong and pursue an achievable Amazonian experience and that is status increasing vs being butch.

    This movement of women lifting heavy things and going all in on shared misery, is incredibly empowering. It is different physiologically than jogging or the like. I’d love a scientist to figure out why the group pseudo weight lifting thing works so much better to bond than running, for example.

    And the idea of who in the gym lifts the most weight or is the cutest is irrelevant. Yeah it’s fun to compete, and that’s what keeps the engagement but it’s not the point and everyone knows it

    Like you said so eloquently, very difficult exercise is a direct route to vulnerability. Beautiful.

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    Set some time aside to speak with her openly and honestly about anything. It could be small talk about how your day went, or it can be deeper and more meaningful conversations about what makes you both happy.

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