Throughout the history of the world, warfare has been a near constant. During these thousands of years of organized warfare, some notable groups honed their craft to the point that their battlefield exploits became part of the tapestry of legend. The Assyrians, the Trojans and the Mongolian horde are but a few of these famed warfighters.
Reading through (translated) ancient texts and sagas, these heroes of the field of slaughter left behind many timeless tactics and training techniques that are still applicable to this day. Let's take a look at two of the most well-known (and most often misunderstood) warrior groups, the Samurai and the Vikings.
The Samurai are often remembered as solitary, stoic warriors with a dedication to perfection in all matters. One of the many lessons left to us now is their dedication to mental preparation. Countless hours were spent in meditation, where one could run through every possible scenario for the upcoming fight, whether an actual battle or simply sparring. A modern way to put this would be "Visualize, then achieve". While there aren't many feudal lords warring in modern American society, this mentality applies whether you're at the range practicing or carrying a concealed handgun for the defense of yourself and others.
While the Vikings are often mis-characterized as horned giants, intent on daily slaughter, they were actually groundbreaking explorers, traders and craftsmen. Their battlefield prowess was hard-earned, and they are one of the warrior groups to have faced off against the widest variety of foes from around the world. One of the reasons for their lethal prowess was their dedication to training, and competing, as a daily part of life. Many Scandinavian children grew up practicing Glima, something of a combat oriented wrestling style. This training is mentioned in written Eddas as early as 790 AD. As they hit the age of swordsmanship, routine sparring and local competition would have been a dominant part of their lives. Fighting was a necessity, a leisure activity and even a method of justice over disputes. No wonder the peaceful Irish monks thought them demons...
By mental preparation the Samurai entered each battle with an advantage borne of having fought that fight a thousand times before, if only in their minds. By raising their children in constant competition, the Vikings ensured their bodies and minds were ready for the rigors of combat. You can mentally prepare yourself in a similar fashion, and strive to compete whenever possible. Hone that edge!