By Brendan Heard and Iásonas Lupus.
To think of violence as an art sounds quite alien to modern ears, yet it is, and has always been thought of as such. It is important to do so, because (like it or not) violence is inherent and necessary. You cannot make war vanish from existence, it is a consequence of life, predating even human sentience; you might as well say you wish to abolish ‘conflict’ or even ‘disagreement’. It is not possible.
The teachings of Herodutus and Machiavelli indicate that when war and struggle are thought about and studied as a craft, the result is a refined science of power. Thus struggling well is a science, an art who’s muse is Mars himself.
By stepping outside our emotions to enter the machinations of a vocation in war, or to put it better, the artful management of hostilities (in both action and prediction) we find ourselves rewarded with an enlightened knowledge regarding parlay and opinion. Opinion which varies relatively, yet predictably, and is the variance for which so often conflict (putting the matter before God) can be the only answer. Parlay indicating the game of nuanced opinion-war, the subtleties of both peaceful victory-by-influence, or by treachery, or by power. Such enlightenment (along with war-experience itself) brings to one a newfound respect for peace, which is the necessary flipside to war. Both must be in balance as to not fully negate the other, back and forth between the two as is the desired final harmony of all ying-yang motion in the universe.
But beyond the complexities of power struggle there is the personal discipline of violence, requiring wise guidance to ensure it is kept in defense of the sacred, and at times in promotion of peace. The respect for martial virtue is not to encourage savagery, but to realistically (and thereby virtuously) face and master an intrinsic law of nature, which must be met.
The true wisdom of martial virtue is firstly in using it only when absolutely necessary, and that it is committed within the sporting and chivalrous limits of rules. When the inherited tradition of esoteric and lawful heroic rules are applied to anything, and especially so combat, outcomes resolve difference so that original ideas can move forward. These are resolved within the framework of honour, mutual respect, and the assured realties of power struggle and the necessities of resolution. Men will then raise a sword to Mars, to uphold the sacred order as the military defenders of sacred temples and kingdoms. War, when conducted with these honour-laws of old, does not descend into the more abject realms of treachery, genocide, torture, etc.
Unfortunately, modern irreverence, nihilism, and disrespect for historic heroism have broken understanding of the sacred (and necessary) tradition of power-science, disregarding it out of a naive, temporary, technological luxuriance which claims to worship of godless pacifism (cowardice). It is primarily an illusion of the worship of materialism, and the only remaining practitioners of power-play-arts are the fey and feckless governments and elites, who perform them (poorly at that) against their own populace, in defence of corporate money interests and other shadowy conglomerations.
Only the restoration of piety can restore the sons of Mars, being devotees of the holy, who are awe-struck by the sacred chess game of power-play, and the cosmic order found in the complications of prediction, motivation, strategy and necessity.
“ Ares, exceeding in strength, chariot-rider, golden-helmed, doughty in heart, shield-bearer, Saviour of cities, harnessed in bronze, strong of arm, unwearying, mighty with the spear, O defence of Olympus, father of warlike Victory, ally of Themis,  stern governor of the rebellious, leader of righteous men, sceptred King of manliness, who whirl your fiery sphere among the planets in their sevenfold courses through the aether wherein your blazing steeds ever bear you above the third firmament of heaven; hear me, helper of men, giver of dauntless youth!  Shed down a kindly ray from above upon my life, and strength of war, that I may be able to drive away bitter cowardice from my head and crush down the deceitful impulses of my soul. Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread  the ways of blood-curdling strife. Rather, O blessed one, give you me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death.”