To Find the “Initiated Men of Power” – Seek Out the Martial Arts Masters
Leaders of the men’s movement today are addressing the question brought before them by young men:
“In a Bill Moyers interview with poet Robert Bly … a young man asked the question, ‘Where are the initiated men of power today?’ We have written this book in order to answer this question, which is on the minds of both men and women. In the beginning of the twenty-first century, we face a crisis in the masculine identity of vast proportions. Increasingly, observers of the contemporary scene – sociologists, anthropologists, and depth psychologists – are discovering the devastating dimensions of this phenomenon, which affects each of us personally as much as it affects our society as a whole.”
(See Robert Moore’s website page for this quote and also for an introduction to the excellent book by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, written to answer this question.
See also my review of Moore and Gillette’s book on today’s Unveiling webpage, Moore and Gillette; King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.
The question is a real one. In all of our mythic Heroic Quests, the young man is tutored by a sage, someone whom we’ll call a Hierophant – a “wise older man” who can guide the young man towards full adulthood. In his excellent book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman describes his teacher Socrates.
In the movie Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is tutored first by Obi-wan Kenobi, then by Yoda. In The Karate Kid (1984 version), Dan is tutored by a martial arts master, Mr. Miyagi.
What is consistent here? Young men are taught by martial arts masters. This is the classic initial stage of the Hero’s Journey.
Socrates, Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda, and Mr. Miyagi – together with numerous similar characters in fiction and film – are idealizations. But the “real versions” exist!
In Unveiling: The Inner Journey, I credit two martial arts masters with whom it has been a great privilege to study. Robert Fusaro Sensei, 7th Dan, Founder of Midwest Karate Association, and Peter Ralston, founder of both the Cheng Hsin school and the martial arts discipline of that name, are masters who are substantial and very authentic. Further, diligent search of the martial arts schools and systems in most cities will reveal others who are competent teachers; not only of martial arts, but also of life.
Even those who prefer something other than martial arts can benefit by the pathway to becoming a “Superior Man,” as described by author Davide Deida.
Deida states “The two ways to bring you right to your masculine edge of power are austerity and challenge.” (The Way of the Superior Man, p. 191)
Women are aware of whether or not men are willing to do this. As we observe men, we note whether they are creatures of comfort, or if they are afraid to disrupt their own “status quo.” In essence, we note their courage – their willingness to accept both discomfort (“austerity”) and their willingness to step beyond their safety zone (“challenge”).
So for all men who are looking for a pathway: Seek out austerity and challenge, as Deida suggests. Give up the TV and the video games, and spend time in a real dojo; study with a martial arts master. Push yourself into the wilderness and into your own wildness. Then see how your woman responds to you. (Or if you are not in a relationship, then observe what sorts of women begin to be attracted to you.)