- the ritual is not just about being
capable of enduring the pain, but also proving you are not
afraid to face it!
Picking up a
and standing one's ground isn't all there is to becoming a true Klingon
warrior. Klingon youths also have to undergo
Rites of Ascension
, in which they must prove their courage and strength.
As with countless human and non-human cultures the
Practice a coming of age ceremony designed to eliminate the weak and
perpetuate the status quo.
The Klingons call the first major test of a young male's combat
skills and spiritual devotion the First Rite of
Because the outcome of the First Rite of Ascension ceremony sets the
course of a Klingon's entire life, training for the event begins as
early as possible. By the time a warrior-to-be is
approximately eight years of age, he should already have mastered
the basics and is ready to light the
candle. This act officially announces the child's commitment
to achieve warrior status. The flame of the kor'tova candle
symbolizes the fire in a warriors heart.
If by the age of 13, a child has not completed
the ritual he can never become a true klingon warrior. And in
a society where cowardice is equal to blasphemy, a non-warrior is
definitely a second class citizen.
As Worf enters the trench, he faces the
warriors with something more akin to arrogance than
A true Klingon is always ready for battle.
The second ceremony puts the now-tempered warrior's spiritual
strength on trial. The unique Klingon method for measuring
this inner quality involves torturing the warrior with
- unpleasant devices capable of blowing the head off a two-ton
- as he proclaims his most profound feelings, Enduring massive
pain is a sign of spiritual stamina.
Inside the Ascension Chamber, a metal pathway
bisects the room. On either side of the pathway, standing on
raised steel platforms, eight fierce Klingon warriors, each holding
painstiks, form a gauntlet. Off to the side, the warrior's
family witness this hopefully proud moment.
To begin the process, the warrior steps inside
the Ascension Chamber and announces in Klingon "Today I am a
warrior. I must show you my heart. I travel the river of
The warrior walks, at a leisurely pace, down the chamber path,
stopping only after reaching the first pair of waiting Klingon
warriors. He utters the ceremonial phrase
This is the cue for the two Klingons to viciously dig their
painstiks into him. Blue sparks fly off the painstik and the
warriors body. After many long seconds of off-the-scale agony,
the Klingons withdraw their painstiks. The warrior gasps for
air, pretending not to be affected by the pain, and says, "The
battle is mine. I crave only the blood of the enemy."
The warrior bravely continues his stroll, approaches the next pair
of waiting Klingons, and then stops to tell them, "HlHlvqa' " The
painstik torture is repeated. Often fighting to remain
conscious, a warrior is nonetheless expected to declare. "The bile
of the vanquished flows over my hands."
Moving down to the final painstik stop, the warrior tells the
waiting klingons, "may'pequ'
moH," and, again, the body-twisting torture is applied.
At last, when the final pair of painstiks are
taken away, and assuming the honouree has survived, the Second Rite
of Ascension ceremony is completed.
Worf reels under the pain, but does not
falter. He must continue to the end of the line.
Collapsing in agony carries almost as much
of a stigma as giving up - if you cannot take the pain, you are
no more use in battle than a coward who does not want to face
" DaHjaj Svw'l'e'jiH,
Today I am a
" tigwij Sa'angNIS. "
I must show you
" Iw blOtlqDaq jljaH.
I travel the
river of blood.