Some of the warriors were actually more powerful than the nobles they served. The leaders of the warriors in each city might work with the city priests to determine if captives were needed for sacrifice.
Warriors spent their life training to be better warriors. It was important to be a good warrior because the Maya cities were often at war with each other. Some scholars think they were always at war.
The Maya did not use metal weapons. They had stone weapons and weapons made of wood and shells. They used bows and arrows.
They also carried shields. Itís important for everyone to feel good about himself or herself. The Maya knew that. They encouraged the use of a confidence-building shield before heading into battle or facing a difficult challenge. Shields were made of wood and feathers. Some had animal skins or stones attached. Some were painted. Shields were extremely important. After warriors created their shields, or dug out an old one and dressed it back up again with new feathers or designs, they would dance around, and shake rattles and shells and make all kinds of noise. They were supported in this by their fellow warriors and family.
Warriors fought battles only during the day. A temporary peace was called each night. A battle continued, day after day, until the leader of one army was hurt or killed. Once that happened, the battle was over. The army without a leader went home leaving captives and their dead behind.
The losers had to pay a tribute to the winners. This was negotiated and could be just about anything, including goods, people, textiles, gold, silver, copper, and salt.