What seems like a lifetime ago now, my Aikido teacher in Duluth, MN challenged me to read Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces. Sensei Brad Bergeron had the right idea. I have never read well and the book is a textbook, not a novel, so it took a while to get through it. The material within the book opened my thoughts to seeing more of how the world is connected. From the stories that we tell, to the way we interact with each other. We are all the Hero within our our story!
Recently I’ve found The Hero Round Table and the work they’re doing. The following is a talk from their Michigan event. It ties in the Joseph Campbell “Hero’s Journey” material.
Matthew Winkler: Mentoring Teenage Heroes
This is the full movie that Matthew Winkler showed a clip of during his talk. Note: the full movie is 90 minutes – The Timeless Tale of the Hero’s Journey: Full Film!
So, now that we’ve talked about becoming heroes and the steps that happen within the adventure, let’s look at our own life! You are the hero of your story. Everything is pretty “normal” in your world as you don’t know anything different (Status Quo). When you look back, how many things can you find that you thought everyone had or did until you met people from outside of your family? Is it “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck” or “Duck, Duck, Goose”? Soda or Pop?
These help to make your LIFE your call to adventure. Entering school begins your Hero’s Journey (Departure). Academics are often trials for many. The whole idea of cramming the knowledge into your brain for later use is a major challenge. Add into this personal struggles with dyslexia and others to have the first trials. This still hasn’t brought in the social aspects of putting so many heroes (younglings) in one place! Without getting into a whole tirade about bullying, the trials of youth are quite varied and dangerous.
This doesn’t really change once you’re past the completion of your education and have moved into the adult world. The same struggles repeat and repeat. It is truly the perspective of each hero to know where on the chart they are at any given time. Some meet trials and feel that they are actually the crisis. Sometimes the repetition is actually the completion of a cycle and coming back out of the status quo. Changing jobs can be a call to adventure as easily as a trial.
Your family (blood and other) plus your education start your assistance. This is where our martial arts school comes in. Too many schools have fallen into the commercialization and promote chasing the black belt prize. The goal has shifted away from creating heroes! One point that keeps getting repeated during training sessions with the U.S.A. Haidong Gumdo Association Senior Chief Master Marshall Parnell is that training should help us learn to become courageous. Developing courage is a key factor in permitting the student to take the steps outside of their comfort zone to learn more, develop further, and become more successful.
An extension of the assistance is the companion/comrade. The person(s) traveling with you during this adventure. They help fight the trials, help solve the crisis, and celebrate your success as if it was theirs. This person isn’t a sidekick. They are heroes themselves who are willing to be support because their ego doesn’t demand the spotlight. This is where you develop your “other” family. The ones who will grab a bag and head out with you immediately just because you’re going on an adventure.
This is what our school has to go beyond just earning a black belt. There is courage to test ourselves. The lessons learned through these tests are taken into every part of the student’s life. Relationships, careers and further personal development benefit from the support. I kinda picture our school as the way Batman prepared himself. He learned from many teachers. This made a very deep connection to them and made him part of their family.