Ah-ah, ah! One of the lines of a famous song by the mythical rock band, Led Zeppelin. The song is playfully titled, “The Immigrant Song” and is basically a message from Viking Marauders to their victims when they invade the coastline of the European Isle. The song starts with Robert Plant, the lead singer, yelling this battle cry – Ah-ah, ah!
The battle cry. This has been used in every culture where there has been a requirement for men (and sometimes women) to go to war and fight battles. From the many nation tribes of North America to the Roman Legion every wartime group has come up with their own battle cry that invokes from the depths of the natural instinct extra strength and bravery when needed. Many, will think this a brutish and elementary practice that is symptomatic of a raving and simpleminded lust for conquest. However, you probably were not ever on the enemy sidelines facing down 1000 roman centurions all yelling, “Barritus” in perfect unison as their spears thudded the ground in time followed quickly by a planting of their shields.
The rebel yell would invoke fear into the hearts of union soldiers during the civil war. Allied troops would cower in their fox holes when they would hear hundreds of fearless Japanese soldiers yelling, bonsai as they assaulted their locations. The last thing that Custer probably heard was the thundering hooves and the deafening war cry of various tribes of Indians circling about him and seeking this destruction. The war cry has served us in the most desperate times of need and has been the source of boosting morale and discouraging enemies for a long time. This is not a lost practice. Just show up at a Marine Corp training camp and you will hear the frequent unified calls of, “oorah!” repeated frequently.
There is science behind this as well. Some research has indicated that a person can increase their strength and stamina by as much as 10% by first invoking some sort of guttural yell. In a sense the body builder is sending a signal to his primal self that he is invoking the age old primal instincts and seeking the aid from the natural self to rise up and provide that extra adrenaline needed for the task at hand. You should be glad that this part of you exists. There are times when you really need it. Quickly getting away from danger, for example. Our bodies are wired for it. You can move really fast when you want to, that is for sure!
So where am I going with this? You are going to think that I am crazy. Well, I sort of am, so now that is out of the bag I will tell you what I am thinking. Sometimes I just get in these funk type moods. Not sure what it is. I have learned to ignore them, it is cyclical and probably tied to diet or lack of sunshine. I have learned that this happens to everyone. Some people have real struggles with this, perhaps a chemical imbalance or something. I am normal, at least I think. I go through the same thing that everyone else does. So I am constantly looking for ways to shock myself out of the doldrums whenever they come around. So here is my latest.
I like to go for runs out in the wilderness. Climb a high peak, or run a long trail. Get into a remote location during my run where I break away from the normal course of my existence. I am not going to try something new. I am going to create my own battle cry! That is right. I am going to figure out some new yell, that I can scream at the top of my lungs and see if invoking the primal instinct lying dormant within my being will cause me to surge up and over my current challenges. Like a toddler who suddenly has a complete fit and breaks down in hysteria, perhaps I need to have my own moment of sheer irrationality! I need to figure out what that is going to be. What do I want to invoke!? Uukhai!, Chlann Aoidh!, Deus Vult!, Urrah!, or Alala! I do not know. I think rather, when I get to the top of the mountain tomorrow I will yell the first thing that comes to my mind and that will be it from now on!
Alright, listen very carefully tomorrow morning. I will probably start running pretty early in the morning. The trail is several hours long, so sometime early in the morning, perhaps around 7am listen carefully. Perhaps off in the distance, toward the southwestern part of the United States you will hear the distant echoes of my very own battle cry. Ah-ah, Ah! Let slip the dogs of war, tomorrow morning, I light my soul on fire!