Warrior, soldier and fighter — what is the difference?

Regarding the art of war, we find a certain cultural contradiction in trying to explain how a warrior differs from a soldier or a fighter, as outwardly they are engaged in the same thing – fighting. However, these roles have fundamental internal differences and different patterns of behaviour on the battlefield.

How is a warrior different from a soldier?

A warrior is a person who has several distinctive features in the structure of his psyche:

  • he has been brought up in a warrior culture
  • He has an innate warrior character
  • he has been trained to fight since childhood
  • principles, honour, valour are important to him
  • has certain personal qualities: fearlessness, bravery, heroism, etc
  • he remains a warrior even in peacetime

Warrior is not a role a man occupies in wartime, but his character, in accordance with which he acts, communicates and lives. Principles and honour remain important for him, even in times of peace, whereas a soldier in times of peace stops being a soldier and becomes what he was before. A soldier sees war as an opportunity for fulfilment, he feels comfortable there, and he often volunteers for it. For them war is a dangerous and unnecessary burden, whereas for a soldier it is a practically natural environment. We can’t say that they feel themselves under ideal conditions there, but we can say that it’s warriors who have the most favorable psychological background in war.

In combat, a warrior differs from a soldier in that he does not retreat under the influence of panic, fear or a sense of danger. A warrior may retreat to regroup or occupy a more comfortable position, but panicked retreat is uncommon among such men. Soldiers, on the other hand, may indeed scatter in the event of a dangerous situation.

Бесстрашие, warrior vs soldiers

Warrior is an individual and relies on his skills, qualities, abilities and ability to interact with his peers. That is to say, they are pronounced individualists who perform individually best. These are, for example, ace pilots or members of elite special forces units. A soldier acts in formation, unconditionally following the orders of officers, he relies on the entire formation and the interaction of the entire troop, rather than the closest comrade, as warriors do.

Regarding effectiveness, it should be understood that one-on-one soldier versus warrior, for the most part, doesn’t stand a chance. A warrior is a born warrior, his skills and psychological abilities are far superior to those of a soldier. A warrior is trained from birth, and sincerely invested, whereas a soldier is trained directly in the army, or during a war if things are really bad.

However, war is not fought in isolated one-on-one battles, but in entire battles, preceded by long manoeuvres, preparation, planning, tactics, strategy, supply, etc. On the scale of war, the influence of a fighter’s individual skills on the outcome of a battle drops dramatically. The larger the scale, the more noticeable it becomes that a trained formation of soldiers is more effective on a strategic scale than a crowd of individualists.

A warrior achieves maximum effectiveness as an individual, while a soldier achieves maximum effectiveness in formation. Therefore, wars are usually won by a formation dominated by trained soldiers rather than by soldiers, and it is the soldier culture that is rapidly supplanting the soldier culture in the development of the scale of warfare.

It makes no difference how well prepared a man is physically and psychologically when he comes under heavy cavalry attack or artillery fire. However, the role of warriors remains quite significant in the form of all the same elite military formations. Elite units and special forces are made up of warriors, but using them in the meat grinder of war is like using a microscope to chop nuts. It is simply a waste of effort, resources and manpower.

развитие воли, warrior

For this reason, warriors are used as strike units capable of carrying out specific tasks as part of strategic planning. Sabotage, espionage, risky operations, holding key points – this is where they will be used, understanding that the course of an entire war depends on the successful completion of these tasks. The soldier, on the other hand, performs the role of a foot soldier: participating in combat and combined arms operations.

Two Mamelukes coped with three French, for they had better arms, better horses and better skills, they had two pairs of pistols, a trombone, a carbine, a helmet with a visor (a variant of a visor), chainmail, some horses and a few men of foot-servants. But a hundred French cavalrymen were not afraid of a hundred Mamluks; three hundred Frenchmen would prevail over the same number of Mamluks, and a thousand would defeat 1500: so strong was the influence of tactics, order and evolution!

Napoleon Bonaparte

The qualities of warriors in battle are honour, courage, heroism and fearlessness, which often manifest themselves in unnecessary self-sacrifice on the large-scale battlefield or by refusing to retreat when the course of battle is unfavourable. Soldiers are therefore unwise to use them as units in large-scale combat – they show little potential there. A soldier, on the other hand, does not display any personal qualities on the battlefield, but he remains disciplined and respects the chain of command, as he is not always psychologically capable of thinking with anything other than his commander’s head in a critical situation. And this, on the scale of war, is a considerable plus for soldiers. The Roman legions created one of the largest empires precisely through discipline and rank and file combat. The harsh discipline of the Mongols made it possible to rally pastoralist tribes into a formidable army. And the heyday of the Russian army was always at a time when soldierly culture prevailed over military culture.

A warrior differs from a soldier in that:

  • a warrior remains a warrior always, and a soldier is a profession
  • The warrior is an individual, and the soldier is part of the group
  • A warrior is about personal qualities on the battlefield, while a soldier is about subordination to a commander
  • Warrior is the culture – soldiers are the rules
  • The warrior is effective when standing alone, but the soldier is effective when in formation
  • Victory, honour and glory are important for a warrior, while survival is important for a soldier
  • A warrior fights voluntarily, while a soldier is often enforced
  • A warrior is a character while a soldier is a profession

How is a soldier different from a fighter?

A fighter is someone who fights with a certain selfish motive.

A fighter is not just a word for someone who fights, but someone who practises martial arts, for example. In other words, a warrior fights for the sake of glory, honour and dignity, and because it is a natural thing and a matter of self respect, but a soldier often goes to war not out of his own free will, a warrior goes to war for profit. He may be a mercenary, a hired gun for money, a volunteer with a promise of a paycheck and some loot, or a fighter in a martial arts fight.

That is to say, a fighter is a professional who sees in war or combat an opportunity to get rich. The same applies to sports. A warrior sees duels as an opportunity to test their skills, prove they are the best and gain glory. For a fighter, the ring is about money and popularity. Fame is different from popularity in that fame is earned for specific achievements, while popularity is the concept of recognition and the ability to use that recognition for any purpose. For example, someone who saves a person gets fame and a famous actor gets popularity. Fame is important to a warrior, but popularity is important to a fighter. A warrior values fame because it is an indicator of his achievements and inner dignity, and for a fighter, popularity is to become even richer and more successful.

There are both warriors and fighters in martial arts. They are often extravagant in their behavior and at the height of their fame they lose interest in training hard and just drift into enjoyment mode. This is why they go into oblivion until they become old – when possibilities of their physical body limit their possibilities to win. Warriors, on the contrary, stay on the Olympus of glory even after they become champions and stay there for a long time. A fighter, when he gets what he wants, leaves it, and comes back to it when he needs it again. And a warrior does not leave the cause, as he believes it is not just an occupation, but his life. The best sportsmen often come from warriors, though there are exceptions.

Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Karelin – greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time

Warrior, fighter and soldier – who are they and what is the difference?

Soldier is an occupation connected either with military time or military duty.

Sighter is a means of earning and living, where skills in martial arts or warfare are used for enrichment.

Warrior is an innate character that cannot be imitated. It manifests itself in a set of qualities that manifests in both wartime and peacetime. The warrior is a person himself, not his profession or occupation.