Wednesday, August 12, 2009

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We need our heroes …


We need our heroes – we always have! Over the years, I have certainly had my share of own martial arts heroes – people like Rigan Machado, Richard Norton, Benny Urquidez, John Smith, Roy Jones Junior, Miyamoto Musashi and others. Such people have mastered skill sets that I myself aspired to master … but it’s also important to remember that our heroes are only human after all, just like the rest of us, and it’s a seeming impossibility to find a role model that excels in every aspect of life. It’s also important to remember that our martial arts aspirations represent only one aspect of our lives. There are many faces of success and happiness – and many areas in each of our lives that we should want to do well in.
It’s very much more useful to construct a ‘composite hero’ in our mind’s eye … an imaginary figure that embodies all of the traits that we admire and try to emulate. After all, even the great Achilles, had his short-comings … he was just in it just for the glory; nothing else mattered and in the end , that weakness brought him down. Quite often our heroes are people who are exceedingly good at one specific thing – but when we take a closer look at the whole package – they are left wanting. As indeed we all are!
Quite obviously, different people excel at different aspects of their lives. It’s just like it is on the mat; some people are good at some things and others are good at other things. In life I know some people who are great at financial stuff, but bad at health and fitness – others are great at martial arts but not so good with their finances, others great at relationships but don’t know how to find joy in their own company … and so on. In our quest to ‘tick all the boxes’, and have success and happiness in all aspects of our lives, it can be useful to look to our ‘composite hero’ for focus and direction.
Our history is steeped in the mythology of our heroes (and heroins). Do a google search on the topic of the modern monomyth – THE HERO’S JOURNEY – it makes for interesting reading.
When hero’s fall, and they often do, we need to remind ourselves that we are, all of us, only human. Hero’s, in the more traditional sense of the word, usually live extraordinary lives. The fact that the way they live their lives is ‘other’ than ordinary, often leaves them open to criticism – but keep in mind, without such figures to hold in our hearts, how much less beautiful would each of our own lives be. We need our hero’s … and they need us.
JBW

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