Superheroes and Gung Fu

***selected quotes from Joseph Campbell

“The role of the artist I now understood as that of revealing through the world-surfaces the implicit forms of the soul, and the great agent to assist the artist was the myth.” 

Superhero myths have played a big part in my transformation into a Gung Fu fighter. As a youth, there was something primal, appealing and unifying that I found about characters who flew, leapt, crawled and burst their way out of comics. They are the archetypal myths for our generation. Not only do the stories of Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk attack the senses with their vivid colours and ultra-violence, but they also provide a narrative on questions facing humanity such as social responsibility, crime, punishment, personal identity and the meaning of life.

“Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence — for he has the perfected eye to see.
There is no separateness.
Thus, just as the way of social participation may lead in the end to a realization of the All in the individual, so that of exile brings the hero to the Self in all.”

Additionally, comics appear to be about overcoming the human condition by means which appear to be not only fantastical but also outside the realm of possibility. There was no way I would inherit wealth like Bruce Wayne that would enable me to use cutting edge gadgetry and provide me time to hone my detective skills. And I have no inclination to test Gamma radiation on myself like Bruce Banner or worse, to douse myself in toxic waste like the young Matt Murdock.

I therefore felt martial arts, particularly Gung Fu, would the most accessible route to physical and psychological improvement. Even now, well into my 30’s, I am still fascinated by superhero myths and continue to find them a source of inspiration while punching and kicking.

Martial arts and the blind – LINK to BBC article

“We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us — the labyrinth is thoroughly known.
We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”


3 Responses to “Superheroes and Gung Fu”

  1. I think my 3 year old is following in your footsteps. He all ready has a unhealthy level of super-hero worship, a six pack and the skills and agility of someone destined for greatness. Not to mention an awesome flying drop kick.

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