Whoosh! Issue Nine - June 1997

IAXS Research Project #124
Moderated by Richard LaFleur
Copyright © 1997 held by author
6275 words


  • Natural Physical Ability
  • Training
  • Experience
  • The Desire to Succeed



    [01] This dialogue is based upon discussions posted to the Chakram mailing list in December 1996. The scene is a gathering of Xenites discussing their favorite topic.

    I think I am going to like it in your body,

    Xena in Callisto's body and Callisto in Xena's body
    doing what comes naturally for both of them


    [02] ANGELA: We have been talking a lot about Xena as a warrior. My question is this: Was Xena born a warrior or made into a warrior ?

    [03] TERRY: Personally, I do not think there is a difference. But then I believe in astrology with a little Jung and Schopenhauer thrown in. I think everyone is born with certain innate qualities and that their goal in life is to develop them -- get in tune with them you might say. So that being a warrior born is to be born with those qualities, but to be a warrior made is to realize what they are and to develop them. You could conceivably be born with many skills and not do anything to bring them out. If you do not, that is if you are not in tune with them and do not develop them, you cause disharmony in the universe.

    [04] ROMBUS: My understanding of what you said is that a warrior born is someone who is born with all the inner potentiality for warrior-hood. That is, warrior-hood is wrapped right up in the newborn's DNA. Okay, that seems to be a sound interpretation of the nature part of the various nature vs. nurture debates that rage over the roots of human behavior. It seems that Xena has probably got her DNA potential in place. After all, her father, Atrius, was a said to be a warrior, and her brothers (however many there are) seem to exhibit (more or less successfully) these same soldiering characteristics -- at least, at a basic level. I cannot tell what genes Xena may have inherited from her mother in this area, though. There are a lot of theories about this that we can save for another time.

    [05] Then you said, "but to be a warrior made is to realize what they are and to develop them." If this means limiting warriors only to those who have the DNA potentiality for warrior-hood and, after some realization, develop that potential, then I have to disagree. That is because I believe that warriors can be made -- that is, a person can (in fact must) be taught to be a Warrior.

    [06] I think we can all agree that physical strength, endurance, and good hand-eye coordination have a basis in the person's DNA. Building on these (and a number of others things) can make a person a good soldier. I would also contend that a one could be lacking some of these soldier-genes, and still end up as a true Warrior, though probably not at the top of his/her field.

    Let me get this straight, you are the eggmen, so I am the

    Xena fights the Green Egg Men
    in PROMETHEUS (#08)


    [07] TERRY: What do you mean by a true Warrior?

    [08] ROMBUS: I will borrow a definition from our military. They say that a Warrior is someone who is supremely successful in conflict and respected by allies and adversaries alike. That description of a Warrior says quite a bit more than that one is a good -- or even a great -- soldier. There is a mnemonic the military uses that might be useful here. Believe it or not, it is WARRIORS. This mnemonic recalls specific traits every Warrior possesses. Xena regularly demonstrates these traits. So does Gabrielle, for that matter (though to a lesser degree).


    [09] JENNY: What about Joxer?

    [10] ROMBUS: Let's go over the traits first, then maybe you can tell us whether you think Joxer is a Warrior.

    [11] Here are the Warrior Traits:

    W Willing to change Warriors recognize that if you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have always gotten.
    A Assertive/aggressive Clear enough
    R Resolved Focused on victory
    R Resourceful Whatever is required is used. Whatever is needed is found. A Warrior's ideas are radically acceptable (interesting phrase): different enough to gain notice but definitely within the realm of possible solutions.
    I Interdependent This trait leads Warriors to rely on each other's integrity
    O Optimistic Also clear enough
    R Responsible The Warrior seeks and accepts responsibility rather than wait for or blame others
    S Successful Warriors do not look just for instant or one-time success. Warriors understand that success is a journey, not a destination.

    [12] Xena certainly possesses all of these characteristics. The most basic foundation of all of these is no doubt found in her genes, or whatever they wore in those days.

    [13] TERRY: Are not these so called traits really "values?"

    [14] ROMBUS: You are right. They are values, and one *learns* values. Xena would have learned these from her parents (probably her mother; it does not seem that her father was around much), other relatives, friends -- maybe it took a village. But these values had to be learned and internalized just the same.

    [15] What I am saying is that there is no such thing as a born Warrior. All Warriors need to be made. One can be born with certain requisite genes, but it takes more to become a Warrior. Xena seems to have been born with all the right soldier-genes, which is probably why she keeps getting cited for defying the law of gravity! But more was needed. She still needed to be *taught* those values to become a true Warrior. Without having been taught those values, she would merely have been a good (maybe even a great) soldier -- but not a Warrior. I agree with you that after being taught those values, it was up to her to put it all together and be all that she could be!

    [16] So this is what we have:

    Skills/Traits Natural/Innate Training
    Warrior Leadership Traits + +

    The "+" signs here mean that a full expression of the Warrior Leadership Traits needs both natural/innate ability *and* involve some sort of training.


    Amazing that his nose is still attached

    He laughs in the face of certain doom

    [17] JENNY: Okay. I'm taking the challenge on the part of Joxer.

    W Willing to change Joxer is willing to change -- he has been much less the buffoon lately, and less afraid of letting his bravado drop every now and then. He is trying to be less of an outright warrior, and he only does kamikaze type fighting for a good cause. He has been ducking/dodging a lot more, and this strategy seems to work for him.
    A Assertive/aggressive As Gabrielle said, "There's always room for improvement." Joxer's main problem is that he is REALLY Joxer the Warm, so I would not say aggressive, but he is assertive -- I mean, he stood up to someone he thought was Callisto for ARGO!
    R Resolved Focused on victory. Yes.
    R Resourceful Joxer wanted to follow Xena and collect the gold fillings from the teeth of the warlords she killed. (Just for the record, remember he wanted to share profits with Xena 50-50?). He is resourceful. He wears a pasta strainer on his head, for goodness sake!
    I Interdependent Yes. Gabrielle and Xena and Joxer interaction. Enough said.
    O Optimistic He is willing to grab Xena's posterior. Optimist, if not suicidal.
    R Responsible Joxer is still working on this one, but he is developing it. For example, he could not hurt Gabrielle, and he would sacrifice his life for hers. He is willing to help his warrior chums at any price. He has a good heart and feels responsible for his friends.
    S Successful Ok, so Joxer is still improving in this department. But it is so much fun watching him try, and develop as a character!

    [18] As he continues to grow in these values he will be, even if not physically competent, at least in possession of the mental values needed to be a Warrior. He was fed a distorted image of what a warrior meant by the long line of warlords he came from, and he is learning. These values have to do with the mental qualities needed to be a warrior, not just in the physical sense of that word.

    [19] ROMBUS: That was a good characterization of where Joxer is on the Warrior scale. However, I think that even you would admit that he is not quite there yet. Maybe we can think of Joxer as a WIT -- a Warrior-In-Training. (I will leave the half-WIT jokes to someone else!)

    [20] But now, Jenny, I have to draw a line in the sand. As I said, our military regards a Warrior (capital W) as someone who is supremely successful in conflict and respected by allies and adversaries alike. Can Joxer cross that line? Will he *ever* be able to cross that line (at least without tripping over it)?

    [21] JENNY: I am not sure he will want to. I think of Joxer as having the potential to be a pre-Mycenaean pacifist, and I think Joxer may want to be a warrior in a different sense, not in a physical warrior way. I think these guidelines are for warriors in any field, whether they are politicians, doctors, et alia. I think Joxer may need to become proficient at evading battle, or at defense, but I do not think that he will ever be a warrior in the Xena sense of the word (i.e., mercenary or fighter).

    [22] ROMBUS: Good point, Jenny. I think you are right about how universal the Warrior Traits really are. These traits are not significant only for battlefield warriors. They are for Warriors in any field. Also, these core values might start out as inborn, but they gain fruition through training, though not necessarily training in a traditional classroom setting.


    We were going to do one on the marital arts, but this is a
family mag

    Woodblock print from a Japanese manuscript on the martial arts with a rendition of Miyamoto Musashi by the famous artist Kuniyoshi

    [23] CIMON: On the other hand, I understand that the most respected of all eastern warriors, Miyamoto Musashi, never had any training. He won an incredible number of personal duels as well as being a survivor on the losing side of several wars where, in the typical Japanese tradition, the losers were hunted down and slaughtered lest they rise again.

    [24] The Japanese value how one must have lengthy training to be good with a sword; and yet their Ken Sai or Sword Saint is a man who, by his own report, never had any training, and who never trained at all, throughout his life as a warrior.

    [25] Ultimately, at some level, Musashi is saying that the essence of it all, Spirit, is a thing that cannot be taught -- that it flows from one's own innermost self.

    [26] ROMBUS: The Spirit you mention is the internalization of the Warrior traits. Once they are internalized, as you suggest, they flow from one's own innermost self.

    [27] Regarding Musashi's not having had any training, my reference states something a little different. In Musashi's Introduction in my copy of A Book of Five Rings (Overlook Press, 1974, page 35) Musashi writes, "Thus with the virtue of strategy I practise [sic] many arts and abilities -- all things with no teacher." Apparently, Musashi, like Xena, had many skills -- as he should as an adherent to kendo. The footnote to Musashi's statement reads, "Musashi studied various arts in various schools, but when after his enlightenment he pursued his studies, he had become separate from traditional guidance."

    [28] This tells me that Musashi, like great geniuses of any craft, started out by learning his basic skills from others. He then built upon what he had learned and pushed the envelope of the craft to personally reach new heights. Luckily, he also recorded his ideas for the generations in Five Rings. What we have here, like Xena, is a person with immense potential, who learned all he could from the masters of the time, and then went on to build on that base.


    [29] ROBERT: I think there is something missing from the analysis. Xena's martial abilities are being treated as if they are monolithic. Suppose instead we consider them as the four corner-posts of a house: natural physical ability, training, experience, and desire to succeed.

    Natural Physical Ability

    [30] ROMBUS: You are certainly on to something, but I think that a bit of tweaking is in order. To start, I agree with you completely about the need for natural physical ability -- the soldier-genes mentioned earlier. Back in Xena's time (whenever that is!), the battlefield was probably a good Darwinian field laboratory -- a *lot* of natural selection going on. Soldiers (Xena included) with greater natural physical ability had the best chance for survival.


    [31] Your second corner post, training, is right on too but needs some expansion. Xena's training needs to have four separate dimensions. The first dimension is individual weapons training. You know, training with sword, whip, staff, chakram, breast dagger (is it me or is it getting warm in here?), and hand-to-hand combat. The second dimension is general field training. Along with things like running up walls, leaping up through holes in tent roofs, Xena would have needed more traditional field skills when working with units of soldiers.

    [32] These field skills include:

    Security Using cover and concealment Establishing local security and conducting reconnaissance
    Movement Gaining and maintaining the initiative Moving fast, striking hard, and finishing rapidly
    Shooting Establishing a base of fire from her archers and artillery (ballistae, catapults) to kill or suppress the enemy Maintaining mutual support among the various units under her command (infantry, cavalry, archers, etc.).
    Communicating Keeping everybody informed Ensuring that her soldiers know what is expected
    Sustaining Keeping the fight going Taking care of the soldiers

    [33] Without a base in these skills, Xena would hardly have made it through her first battle with Cortese alive.


    Come and get it, boys!

    Xena letting her creative juices flow
    in A DAY IN THE LIFE (#39)

    [34] TERRY: And the third dimension?

    [35] ROMBUS: The third dimension of training is in the area that we can call war skills. War skills include strategy, operations and tactics. The nine principles of war in their current form (objective, offensive, mass, economy of force, maneuver, unity of command, security, surprise, and simplicity) would have been substantially the same in Xena's time. By the way, the nine principles of war might seem to overlap with some of the field skills. It is just a matter of emphasis and scale in their application.

    [36] These nine principles apply equally to strategy, operations and tactics. Xena would have needed to learn their different applications for each level of war if she was to be a successful commander/warlord.

    [37] TERRY: Wait a minute. What is the difference between strategy, operations and tactics?

    [38] ROMBUS: Strategy, operations and tactics define the scale of the action. They tend to overlap a bit, but basically what we have is this. Strategy focuses on the broadest objectives for winning a war. It is concerned with the logistics of moving entire armies across a broad geographical area in order to seize high-level objectives like cities, passes, or major road crossings. Strategy must consider the economic and political objectives of war as well.

    [39] Let us use an example from Caesar in Gaul. Suppose his army was comprised of six legions along with all of its supporting artillery, baggage train, animal handlers, and the like. In his role as strategist, Caesar would look at the long-term objectives of conquering Gaul. He would have been focused on achieving key political and economic, as well as military, objectives -- establishing treaties with key tribes to provide his army food or soldiers, for example. That is strategy.

    [40] Operations has a smaller scale than strategy, and is not directly concerned with its larger political and economic objectives. Operations would be more concerned with what some part of the army needs to do in order to win in a fairly well defined (although probably quite large) geographical area.

    [41] Tactical-level commanders, on the other hand, must implement this scheme of maneuver (based on the operational plan) to seek and destroy an enemy unit, conduct reconnaissance, seize an objective, or defend a position. This has to be applied all the way down to individual units, sub-units and squads (and yes, they had the equivalent of squads in the Roman legions). These commanders must figure out how to accomplish their mission given their available resources. This includes planning for the optimum route of travel, marching order, formations for individual units, and so forth.

    [42] TERRY: That sounds pretty complicated.

    [43] ROMBUS: Well, it is complex. If was easy, anyone could do it! That is why I would contend that this is another area to consider that a warrior must be made and cannot be born.

    [44] The fourth training dimension is that of Warrior Leadership. This is what we discussed earlier using the mnemonic WARRIORS. All of those Warrior Leadership traits are certainly effected by one's genes, and Xena certainly got more than her share in this area! Even so, these traits needed to expand and grow up from the basic set Xena was born with for her to achieve her role as Warrior leader. Most of these traits are learned as values. That is why I would include them here under training, although they were probably not learned in a traditional training environment.

    [45] This is what we have so far:

    Skills/Traits Natural/Innate Training
    Individual Weapons Skills + +
    Field Skills 0 +
    War Skills 0 +
    Warrior Leadership Traits + +

    [46] TERRY: What do the zeroes mean?

    [47] ROMBUS: The zeroes represent the fact that those particular skills are neither natural nor innate. For example, there is no security gene. Nobody's born with it.

    [48] ROBERT: Innate ability and training would certainly have been important for Xena, but experience has got to figure into this somewhere.

    [49] ROMBUS: I agree with you that experience must have been essential to Xena's growth (for better or worse) as a Warrior Princess. Experience gave her the opportunity to hone her weapon, field, and war skills against a variety of opponents. As a Warrior leader she would have made it a priority to learn not only from her successes, but her failures as well. ("After that beating we took we've got to figure out how to make better use of infantry in support of cavalry the next time we meet up with an army of Centaurs....Come on, guys, let's get out on the practice field and try this new maneuver. We'll use B troop to play the Centaur Opposing Force.")

    [50] Let's grow the model to include experience:

    Skills/Traits Natural/Innate Training Experience
    Individual Weapons Skills + + ++
    Field Skills 0 + ++
    War Skills 0 + ++
    Warrior Leadership Traits + + ++

    [51] The "++" mean that Experience is a BIG additive to whatever base has been built by Natural/Innate ability and Training.

    The Desire to Succeed

    Now let me see, after I free Prometheus I have to pick up
some cheese for Gabrielle...

    Xena being waylaid from freeing Prometheus
    in PROMETHEUS (#08)

    [52] ROBERT: What about my fourth post: desire to succeed?

    [53] ROMBUS: Sorry, I do not think this by itself is a corner post -- more of a brace. I think that desire to succeed is buried in among a few the Warrior traits listed earlier. Desire to succeed is in there with resolved, probably with successful and maybe one or two others as well. I do not see it standing alone.

    [54] ROBERT: What if we think of desire to succeed as, to borrow an overworked but appropriate cliche, the Refuse to lose! attitude. In other words, refuse to give up, even when things look grim.

    [55] ROMBUS: Refuse to lose. Well, if it rhymes then it must be right. Just kidding. However, I feel that, taken out of today's sports/sound-bite environment, refuse to lose does not mean much. The reason it does not mean much is simply that it tries to say *too much*. It is a great emotion-building phrase, but how can Xena (or any warlord) apply it? Say, refuse to lose to Alexander, Odysseus or Julius Caesar, and they would say, "Fine, but how does that help me win? I want to do better than just not lose."

    [56] The same is true with refusing to give up. Being assertive/aggressive and resourceful can mean finding ways to drive past what seems like overwhelming odds to find a way to win. On the other hand, operations and tactics, properly applied against overwhelming odds, sometimes call for taking the better part of valor and getting the heck out of there. You cannot win if you are dead!

    [57] What a phrase like refuse to lose is probably intended to mean is something like use everything you have got in you to win. What are the things Alexander, Odysseus, Caesar (and Xena) need to have in them to win? Right, they need: Natural/Innate ability, Training, and Experience all applied across Individual Weapons Skills, Field Skills, War Skills, and the Warrior Leadership Traits.


    [58] ROBERT: Where, then, does Xena get her advantage in each? Given that Xena has natural ability, training and experience, which one contributes most to her dominance?

    [59] ROMBUS: The way I see it is this. I'll use Individual Weapons Skills as the example. Let's say we've trained someone (call him Delius) who is lacking a base of natural ability -- he is a bit clumsy. Delius' individual fighting skills will certainly increase. But training will only bring him along so far. If you were to pit him in a dual against someone who has been similarly trained, but who has better natural balance or a stronger inborn sense of aggression, Delius will tend to be at a very real disadvantage. Delius might beat this opponent every now and then. On average, though, the opponent will have the advantage over Delius. On the battlefield, this will spell trouble unless Delius finds some other way to make up for this disadvantage, like teaming up with someone to watch each other's backs.

    [60] Now if we add Experience to the mix, it is easy to imagine what will happen next. Let us now say that Delius has a full set of warrior genes (Natural Ability), has received good training, but has little or no experience in actual battlefield conditions. The emotional shock and confusion of battle is, to say the least, unsettling! Delius will need to gain a lot of experience to help him survive -- to help him win. This is why U.S. ground forces have a very direct and simple training philosophy: Train as you Fight. The idea is to simulate real battlefield conditions as part of the training. This is as true for leaders at all levels as it is for individual soldiers.

    [61] The three areas, Natural/Innate Ability, Training and Experience, are like a tripod supporting the individual. A weakness in any leg of the tripod, can cause the whole thing to come crashing down. In a lot of ways this is what happened to Xena. Xena changed her operational objectives but failed to bring her commanders (like Darphus or Dagnine) along with her.

    [62] Early on in her career, conquest by terror was part of the way she did business -- it was, basically, part of Xena's strategy. When she unexpectedly balked at the killing of women and children, Darphus and the others were unprepared to make that change themselves. They mutinied, and Xena found herself out of a job -- and nearly beaten to death! She had ignored one of her Field Skills: communication. Xena failed to keep her commanders informed (and in line) of a change in their fundamental strategic doctrine, and she paid a heavy price. (THE GAUNTLET, #H12).

    [63] One could also argue that the Interdependence Warrior Trait was also out of whack. However, that might be unfair to Xena. There does not seem to have been a lot of integrity among her most of her senior commanders for her to rely upon in the first place!


    You what? You want me to take off my shirt?

    Draco about to get a strong dose of the warrior princess
    in SINS OF THE PAST (#01)

    [64] ROBERT: Why have only Draco and Callisto among mortals emerged as capable of providing a substantive challenge? What was it that prevented them from reaching the same level as Xena?

    [65] ROMBUS: Your question about Draco and Callisto, I think, comes down to this. Draco was indeed a warlord. He used the same model that Xena did and the one we are discussing here. He may not have been conscious of the model, but he was in the box. Also, he was good at what he did. (This is *not* a value judgment, just a statement of fact.) That made him good enough to succeed as long as he was not up against Xena. (SINS OF THE PAST #01)

    [66] Callisto is something else altogether. Callisto was not a warlord. She was not out for territorial conquest. She led a band of raiders against poorly defended villages to discredit and bait Xena. Callisto did not need to take the full course, so to speak. As far as the villagers go, she and her crew were a bunch of very dangerous bullies. (CALLISTO #22)

    [67] Xena and Callisto never faced each other army to army. If they had, I am confident that Xena would have won easily. By the time Xena and Callisto met, things were reduced to Individual Weapons and Field skills. I think the reason Callisto proved such a challenge to Xena in these two areas is because of Callisto's direct imitation of Xena. Their individual fighting styles are almost identical. I would not be surprised to find that Callisto had originally ferreted her way into Xena's army camp. She might have hidden herself among the camp followers, was a cook, or whatever. She then took every opportunity to watch and study Xena during Xena's individual combat practice sessions. Callisto then went off to practice and perfect these skills for herself. She would probably have learned to imitate a number of Xena's other characteristics too.

    [68] I doubt that Callisto would have asked for training help from any of Xena's troops. That would have raised too many eyebrows and would have drawn unwanted attention to her. Besides, Xena's fighting skills were head and shoulders above those of any of her troops. The only real role model Callisto would have even wanted to imitate would have been Xena herself. Did not Callisto tell Xena, "You made me." Maybe Xena made Callisto not only by destroying her village and killing her family, but by ending up as her teacher without even knowing it. (CALLISTO #22)

    [69] Eventually Callisto branched out on her own, perfected her own individual combat skills, assembled her gang, and the rest, as they say, is history. They also say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Ha!


    [70] ROBERT: I agree there are several dimensions to training and skills, but I have doubts as to how the third and fourth apply to Xena.

    [71] ROMBUS: The third area of training (War Skills) applies to Xena as army commander back in the early days. As a successful commander of an army, Xena would have needed to know how to employ her army at all levels: strategic, operational, and tactical. I am not saying that she was another Alexander the Great, but she was successful. Any field commander has to think in these terms to be successful.

    [72] I too was uncomfortable with the fourth area of training, Warrior Leadership. I included that under training *only* because most of these leadership traits are learned values, but they are generally not learned in a traditional training environment. However, some form of training/learning enhances their innate characteristics.


    I don't care if you are Inspector Clouseau! Get out of my
episode! Now!

    Janice Covington, Melindas Pappas, and Lt. Jacques S'er at an archeological dig in Macedonia sometime in the 1940's
    in THE XENA SCROLLS (#34)

    [73] ROBERT: This model feels very 20th century.

    [74] ROMBUS: You are right. It is a modern model. We do not want to introduce Yet Another Xena Inconsistency here. Nevertheless, I feel that this model would be as valid in Xena-time BC as it is today.

    [75] ROBERT: To me, it still seems that very little applies to what we know of Xena's earliest days.

    [76] ROMBUS: I do not see why it would not. Maybe there is a tendency to concentrate only on Xena's individual combat and field skills. After all, that is what Gabrielle's Xena Scrolls tend to focus on. In that case, things like strategy, with its broad goals and objectives, would have little or no relevance in a situation that stresses individual combat. From the first XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS episode we never see her leading an army. [Note: This, of course, has changed with THE PRICE (#44)] My scope, however, has always meant to include Xena from the time she helped defend Amphipolis, through her warlord days and on to the present. I would say that for a warlord to be successful, he/she would need a foundation in all four areas. The stronger the foundation, assuming decent resources (soldiers, weapons, supplies...) the greater the success potential the warlord has.

    [77] ROBERT: What I see is that Xena suddenly took command of the town militia and defeats (at least drives off) Cortese - who managed to survive for another 10 years in the very Darwinian warlord business. (DEATH MASK #23)

    [78] ROMBUS: Right. Xena and her Amphipolis militia had what it takes to drive Cortese off. She did not need a full blossoming of *all* of the skills and traits she would need later to become a successful warlord. For now, she only needed to survive the battle.

    [79] She and her brother(s) were able to organize the Amphipolis militia into an effective defense. Cortese would have had to assault what apparently was a strong defensive position -- if it were not strong, Amphipolis would not have survived given the resources at Xena's disposal. Since there is a great advantage in fighting a prepared defense, the force balance between the Xena's militia and Cortese's army might have tended to even out. Result: Advantage Xena; Cortese withdraws.

    [80] ROBERT: I do not think that Xena's universe really selects for the Warrior leadership traits. How many times have we seen successful warlords violate most, and sometimes all of these in less than 30 seconds?

    [81] ROMBUS: Your argument is that we have seen successful warlords violate these traits, so the traits must not be important. Is it not the other way around? It is that the extent to which the warlords are able to internalize and apply these traits that *increase* their chances for success? A warlord could be quite successful and yet still be sloppy about a lot of basic battlefield requirements so long as his/her only goal is tormenting poorly defended villages. I would say that is what allowed Callisto and her army to be successful, for example. (CALLISTO #22)

    [82] A warlord with serious territorial goals, however, would sooner or later, come against another army with the same goals. The Darwinian selection of the winner here will depend on *many* factors. Among these factors is how well the Leader has internalized the entire model (including the Warrior traits) and has made them a part of how they deal with their own field commanders and on down through the ranks.


    Oh, if I only were in Xena's body...hey! What an idea! I'll
have to try that next season.

    Callisto pleased with herself at the end of a good slaughter
    in CALLISTO (#22)

    [83] Also, many of those self-proclaimed Warlords were really just bandit chiefs -- like Callisto. The model still applies to them, although it might be scaled down a bit. For example, Callisto's strategy was not to seize key trading and manufacturing centers in order to gain territory. It was much simpler than that. Callisto's strategy was to terrorize unprotected villages in order to discredit and bait Xena. So you see, Callisto's strategy was not the same as Alexander's or Caesar's; she had one just the same. (CALLISTO #22)

    [84] As far as the Warrior Leadership traits go for Callisto, I think that you would find that she possessed a fair share of them herself. Let us see how she does:

    W Willing to change Not a good start for Callisto. Her obsessive focus on Xena's destruction at any cost eventually cost Callisto her life. (RETURN OF CALLISTO #29)
    A Assertive/aggressive Callisto certainly was that!
    R Resolved. Focused on victory. Ditto, to the point of obsession.
    R Resourceful Callisto used a variety of tactics to get at Xena. She started out simply enough: shooting Xena with a poison dart (THE GREATER GOOD #21). She has also tried individual combat (CALLISTO #22). She has tried killing Gabrielle but had to be satisfied with Perdicus (RETURN OF CALLISTO #29). She injured Argo bad enough, she thought, to force Xena to have to put down Argo (INTIMATE STRANGER #31). She rounded up the good citizens of Amphipolis to take her revenge by killing Xena's own mother, as Xena's troops had killed Callisto's.
    I Interdependent No! Callisto's psychotic nature makes this hopeless. Murdering her own field commander (Theodorus) makes it impossible to use Callisto and integrity in the same sentence! (INTIMATE STRANGER #31)
    O Optimistic Callisto was nothing if not optimistic in her drive against Xena
    R Responsible Another major Callisto failure. It is one thing to be driven to revenge against Xena. It is quite another to use the killing of women and children as a means of flushing Xena out. That is to say nothing of the fact that Callisto regularly tried to blame Xena for her own murderous actions!
    S Successful Warriors do not look just for instant or one-time success. Warriors understand that success is a journey, not a destination. I feel that this is another Callisto weakness. Her objective, Xena's destruction, was certainly clear enough. But I also think it was only a destination. If Callisto were ever to be successful in destroying Xena, she would have nothing else to live for. Now that Callisto is immortal, that could be a real problem for her! (A NECESSARY EVIL #38)

    [85] So even Callisto possesses four of the Warrior Leadership traits to some degree. If she possessed more of them, she would be an even greater threat to Xena.

    [86] ROBERT: But these traits are not properties Xena would have seen emphasized, or even encountered, on a regular basis.

    [87] ROMBUS: True enough. I feel that Xena personally exhibits the Warrior leadership traits. However, I am sorry to say that she may not have been able to (or did not know how to) incorporate these traits through the rest of her army. If she had, I contend that she would have had even greater success as a warlord, perhaps even extending her power beyond the Aegean region.


    Can't beat this job. Great hours, great pay, and all these
warrior boy toys

    Xena with her army
    in THE GAUNTLET (#H12)

    [88] ROBERT: Certainly the army we see in THE GAUNTLET (#H12) does not reflect that kind of leadership.

    [89] ROMBUS: Excellent point! It seems that Xena's army, by the time it is depicted in THE GAUNTLET (#H12), seems to be little more than an organized, well-armed mob. While Xena herself may be willing to change, is assertive/aggressive, and resolved, et cetera, these traits do not seem to be a part of the way her army did business. It is probably just as well that they were like that. If Xena *had* done a better job of building up those eight Warrior Leadership traits among her own commanders and troops she and her army would probably *still* be carving up Greece (and beyond).

    [90] ROBERT: How did Xena get so much more intense than everyone else did? Hercules has a reason -- he's (sort of) on a mission from Zeus.

    [91] ROMBUS: There are a lot of possibilities here. One that I like is that nothing succeeds like success (great, yet another sound bite!). I would say that Xena, from the Amphipolis defense on, started out with small victories. (After all, Athens was not built in a day!) Then, her assertive/aggressive and resolved; focused on victory, then ever-larger success Warrior traits kicked in. More experience, added to more training (maybe), which added to more successes, and, voila: the Warrior Princess!


    [92] You have helped change my mind about a number of points by placing them in the proper detailed context. The most important change is that Xena's skills with her army seem to have been weakest in her ability to push these skills and traits down through the ranks -- hey, her army seems to have been little more than men behaving badly anyway, right?

    [93] This is what we have come up with as our final model:

    Skills/Traits Natural/Innate Training Experience
    Individual Weapons Skills + + ++
    Field Skills 0 + ++
    War Skills 0 + ++
    Warrior Leadership Traits + + ++

    [94] For Xena to be supremely successful as a Warrior, she would have needed all these skills and traits. Much as it was for Musashi, the skills and traits she was born with had to have been augmented by training across a broad area, and then internalized and expanded upon through experience and practice. Xena might have started out as a warrior born but, to be successful, she had to become a warrior made.

    [95] Thanks for a great time and a lot to think about.


    [96] I would like to thank the following Xenites who supplied material for this article through their participation in the original discussions on Chakram in December 1996:

    Terry Miller who started us out on this journey.

    Jennifer Y.E. Gogarten for her unflagging loyalty to Joxer.

    [97] And special thanks to Robert Huff whose questions and comments drove me to examine and create the overall Warrior-Born/Made model in the first place.

    Episode Guide FAQ Air Dates Encyclopedia Xenaica Membership Submission Back Issues