The Hero’s Journey

IMG 8148 The Heros Journey

World Championships starts next week and Mrs. Rogers will be inducted as a Master Instructor.  This will culminate a journey that has taken her nearly 25 years to accomplish, and it is a true hero’s journey.

The Hero’s Journey is one of the archetypical stories told by humanity.  It is the most popular story form because it so closely resembles life.  The concept was introduced by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), who described the basic narrative pattern as follows:

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Taekwondo training very closely follows the hero’s journey.  There is a call to adventure, where the hero decides to begin training.  Sometimes the call is initially refused for various reasons, but the desire is still there.  Eventually, the student sets out on the journey and joins a school.  He then meets with people who assume various roles:  mentors, protectors, gatekeepers, etc.  They may play one or more roles.  His fellow students will be his protectors, encouraging him when he has difficulties.  The instructors and higher ranked students will be the mentors.

Along the way, the student faces a series of increasingly difficult challenges.  These challenges are learning the material for the current rank.  Eventually, the student encounters an obstacle, manned by the instructors functioning as gatekeepers: his promotional test to the next rank.  It may take more than one attempt, but the student eventually overcomes the obstacle, promotes to the next rank and encounters a new challenge.

Eventually, the student comes to the ultimate challenge:  testing for Black Belt.  This will be the hardest obstacle and when the student overcomes it, he will symbolically die to the world of the colored belt student and be reborn into the world of the Black Belt leader.  He then shares his knowledge by serving as a mentor and protector to new students just beginning their journeys.  At the same time, the student realizes that although the current journey has ended, a new one has begun as he moves on to the higher Black Belt ranks and eventually Mastership.

We would love to have you begin your hero’s journey here with us at West Houston ATA Martial Arts.  Let this be your call to adventure!


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