Most people in the modern world no longer fear that monsters lurk in unknown islands. But their need for fearless heroes has never faded. These days, some of our champions are soldiers who've shown valor in war, astronauts who've risked their lives to explore space, people who make life-saving medical discoveries, dedicate their careers to helping the poor and underprivileged, or labor to right social injustices , even sportsman , especially fighters .But why do we need heroes ? There are several reasons for that.
- Carl Jung proposed that we are each born with a collective unconscious. This contains a set of shared memories and ideas, which we can all identify with, regardless of the culture that we were born into or the time period in which we live. We cannot communicate through the collective unconscious, but we recognize some of the same ideas innately, including archetypes. For example, many cultures have cultivated similar myths independently of one another, which feature similar characters and themes. Two such archetypes, according to Jung, are heroes and demons.
- Heroes educate us about right and wrong. They set up the correct moral and ethical foundation of the society and they are protector of it. Most fairytales and children’s stories serve this didactic purpose, showing kids the kinds of behaviors that are needed to succeed in life, to better society, and to overcome villainy. It is during our youth that we most need good, healthy adult role models who demonstrate exemplary behavior. But adults need heroic models as well. Heroes reveal to us the kinds of qualities we need to be in communion with others
- Heroes give hope when we are in trouble and they are there to protect people when they are in danger
- Heroes reveal our missing qualities, people often choose a hero who has exactly those attributes they do not .
These reasons are closely connected to human needs for survival, nurturance, growth, education, safety, security, healing, happiness, health, hope, wisdom, and justice. Basically “We need heroes because they define the limits of our aspirations “writes Santa Clara University ethics scholar Scott LaBarge. The hero embodies the virtues and attributes cherished by the particular society at the particular time and he provides a model for people to emulate. But where do Heroes come from ? While there are many true heroes in everyday life who risk their lives and sacrifice a lot to help others they usually go unnoticed or , today , they become an interesting story for the evening news and soon they are forgotten. Heroes are actually come from two sources , either they are pure product of imagination or they are real people idolized by society through time that they eventually became heroes . Mythical heroes who are usually product of imagination and they are archetypical figures who as it was sad before embody the most significant virtues and attributes cherished by the particular society and they usually , besides everything else have superhuman abilities like extraordinary strength like Samson form the old testament or extraordinary wisdom and intelligence , like Odyssey.
Of course, not all heroes are imaginary figures , most of them were real people who lived , worked and sometimes , in rare cases, did something heroic. One other thing is important to be noted , while mythical heroes of the past are universal , in every aspect of human life we have different heroes , like in science ,sports ,music, art ect, and the hero from , for example science , can be totally unknown or completely nonsignificant for people who are not interested in science , these heroes are not universal and can even be antiheroes for another different groups of people.
Martial arts are no different from other human activities, or more accurate, hero worshiping is in very core of traditional martial arts .Every style has its own heroes, hero worshiping and idolizing is expected and required. Many styles completely base their philosophy and heritage on hero worshiping. Warriors of the past with superhuman abilities and highest moral and ethical standards fought may battles for justice and to protect the oppressed. They were exemplary people who can be only describe as saints.
These is nothing new on the East, ancestor worshiping is important part of Chinese Japanese and Korean culture. Putting ancestor on pedestal of morality and unprecedented fighting skill has its educational purposes and as it said before fulfil some of the basic psychological needs of a person and social needs of the group.
Having a role model who is admired for his achievements and who is set up as a goal for practitioner is nothing bad, it is actually quite positive thing. Problems starts when hero worshiping become so strong and hero so idolized that martial practice becomes some sort of pseudo religion.
Some martial styles make a connection to the legendary heroes of the past , it is easy to believe that some hermit who lived in a cave on some God forsaken mountain practiced 20 hours a day and eventually invented ‘the best ‘ fighting style . Most of the styles have their heroes in a figures who lived just a generation or two before today. In a lack of real achievements many stories are invented to reinforce a place and a name of the hero figure. Although these stories are not so exaggerated like in the case of mythical heroes , they are still hard to believe and usually there is no shred of evidence to support them , often these stories are an insult for an one’s Intelligence and it is amazing how these stories are taken for granted and believed without any doubt. Like the story about famous karate master who trained in China. To put aside all other nonlogical things but one is particularly interesting , it is said that this master practiced only forms , nothing else ,and he learned three forms in 10 years , This kind of practice gave his such a speed and agility that he was unparalleled fighter , his senses were also so enhanced that in one occasion he sensed an attack from behind in the middle of the night and he defeated an attacker armed with a spear. Although common sense tells us that without sparring and actual fighting someone cannot become good fighter , follower of that karate style completely believe in this story . Another example is wing chun master wo broke a revolver with his fingers. Aside the fact that revolvers are made to fire bullets and can withstands much higher pressures that human body is able to produce no matter how good and strong a person may be , people still believe in this without reserve.
Not all heroes are from the past ,some of them are self made modern figures , more or less known in martial circles. One of them claimed he possess the only original wing chun style ,superior to all others, that he fought 12 people armed with knives and had numerous other fights and never lost ,but once confronted by a beginner from other style he simply lost .
So what is the reason behind inventing a heroes or turn some people into them. The reason is simple – money .Having a foundation in eastern tradition and the known fact that people listen to authority figures, not for the validity of what they are saying, but for the authority figures authority , martial arts salesman , because I cannot call them differently invent a hero who will people worship and they will profit from that worship. The scam , yes , the scam , is very deep. Person will invent fighting record , many stories about the strength of the character , deep sense of moral and perfect behavior. May things will be and were told about philosophy , strength ,personal qualities ect. And non of them cannot be proven nor have any foundation in reality. It is all a show , a marketing with only one goal , to gather as many followers as possible and make the best sale as possible . Once caught in hero worshiping web a person will attend seminars, buy DVD’s , equipment , logos, clothes , even work for free for the leading figure , or hero himself , invest a lot of time , money and energy to learn…what?
Basically they listen a great stories told by instructor and learn many (too many ) different moves, a different counter for another counter, million combination to defend against same attack ,every single day. This sort of thing can be overwhelming and awe-inspiring; the kind of thing that may make a martial artist think his teacher is the greatest fighter ever no matter he never even had a chance to see his coach in a fight and have no proof for that kind of believe . Furthermore, with the understanding of how people learn, the teaching of a different move every day is the easy way out. It is part of the hero worship con. It’s a con because people actually do not learn anything but they have a feeling they learn much more than they ever hoped for , and , of course money keeps on rolling-in. Hero worship is a poor state of mind for any fighter. The problem is the majority of martial arts coaches use it as a sales tool and it is so easy to fall into that scam , we have predisposition to admire or worship heroes.
As we can see , there are true heroes and fake ones , even more , same hero can be a true , inspiring , role model and also a part of the con which depends of many factors .
There is no conclusion to this article , only personal opinion of the author , adult, mature people do not need heroes . For those who do need them a word of advice , be careful who you choose to admire , do not idolize and keep your head straight .