Date: August 20, 2006 04:45AM
I went to a MPK Warrior Training weekend, I was made to go by my boss who went and returned exclaiming "for once, I'm making decisions with my heart, not my head!" (Sound familiar Twillia?...) After crying to me that I had to go, I relented... this was my boss after all, and I felt that to not go would seriously jeopardize my job. He demanded that several of us from the office attend. One of the fellow attendees was a good friend/co-worker of mine and thank goodness for both of us that we had each other to rely upon during this BIZARRE weekend.
It started on Friday night, we were told to show up between 6 and 7 pm. As we arrived at the ranch it was being held, a man was guarding the road, when we pulled up he stared at us for a few seconds as if he was going to kick our ass (puh-leeze..) then asked in gruff yelling voice, "Who are you? What are you here for?!" We had to answer him one at a time as he repeated his yelling question to each of us... "okay", we thought- "getting weird already..."
We drove up the road to the lodge where we were instructed to get in line and wait until called into the main building. One at a time we were called towards the building. Once there, two of the 'elders' greeted me at the door, they were pleasant, asking if I was willing to "push my boundaries this weekend" and "experience new things, etc..." I told them, "yeah, sure..." "Great" they replied, "And do we have permission to remind you of your agreement to push your boundaries, etc...?" "Sure" I replied... whatever. "Welcome to MPK and see the man inside the door" They then instructed me.
I walked through the door, and was greeted by a guy dressed from head to toe in black, with black face paint and black bandanna, as I glanced around the room, all of the guys were wearing similar 'commando' type attire.... He glared at me not saying a word. Obviously trying to intimidate me - I was anticipating some sort of "breaking down" technique, but COME ON! These guys looked SILLY! Anyway, he just stared at me for around a minute- I jokingly tried to make small talk with him, but obviously to no avail- he wanted to INTIMIDATE me! Of Note: I'm a pretty big guy, in excellent athletic shape, and I'm not easily intimidated... especially by some goof trying to act tough... so I just started chuckling to myself... Like I said, Silliness!
After the silent period he finally yelled at me to "SEE THE NEXT MAN!'
The next man was only 2 feet away so I side-stepped to in front of him and asked him how he was doing etc.. once again to no avail- he gave me the silent treatment too..... until he finally told me to, "SEE THE NEXT MAN"
The next man then asked for my personal effects, watch, phone, car-keys, rings, etc--- He put these in a bag for safe keeping during the weekend and then I was instructed to "SEE THE NEXT MAN"
The next man was actually men, in the next room- the room was dark and empty except for a couple of tables with a spotlight over each one- at each table were the guys who where in front of me in the original line. The commando goof-balls were busy pouring out and searching everything in everyone's overnight bags.. After each of us was searched, frisked, etc we were screamed at (all communication at this point was screaming- as I said, this was the beginning of the breaking down process...) to go down this hall...
At the end of the hall, was one of the 'elders' again- he was calm and peaceful again, asked a few questions and then instructed me to go to the next room...
The next room was full of the other guys who were in line before me, this was the 'holding-pen' for everyone until everyone showed up. We had to sit on the floor while another 'elder', a fat old guy wearing only a loin-cloth was beating a drum and doing these rhythmic breathing exercises... once again, puh-leeze.....
After 45 min or so, when everyone was there, we were summoned up to the main hall. All the instructors and elders were there, all still in commando garb.... (you think that between 15 guys, one of them would realize that they looked silly.... oh well...) We were welcomed and then warned that this would be a weekend that will be difficult, but one we'll never forget... boy, was he right!! He then broke into this shpeal about, "how you could resist, but that's not why you came.... yes... you could resist, but that's not while you came." repeating over and over, all dramatic like.... extreme silliness!
After the initial speech/orientation we were instructed to divide into groups for our instruction/training. The first one was an attempt to make us recognize that we are men. So we had to go around the group and finish the sentence, “I am a man because _________.” Some of the instructors when first to demonstrate.. the first one: “I am a man because I can pee standing up!” WHAT! Did I just somehow revert to 2nd grade again?? The next instructor to demonstrate announced, “I am a man because I’ve GOT A COCK!” I did somehow revert to 2nd grade…. “Geez, could these guys please be a little more infantile??” I thought to myself. My buddy who was there and I were rolling our eyes at each other from across the room at this point…. It was going to be a loooooong weekend.
Next exercise: “Repeat after me, “I wimp out with women by _________.” The instructors demonstrated to begin. The first, “I wimp out with women by putting the seat back down after peeing!” The next, “I wimp out with women by letting HER choose the movie!”. “Holy Shit! These guys are ridiculous!” I was thinking!!
We went through a few more exercises like this, all equally silly, until they called us all together again. I’m guessing it was probably around 1:00 to 1:30 am at this point- they took our watches away so nobody really knew. They announced that the night was over and we were to retire to the cabins to sleep. They told us that we would be woken in the morning and that when we were awoken, we would each have to get naked and take a one-minute cold shower. And to make sure that nobody cheated, each man would go one at time while the rest of the cabin watched and counted to 60…… “WHAT! Who does that sort of thing? This is going from silly to WEIRD,” I thought to myself. But to be honest, the real weirdness hadn’t even started- just the homoeroticism.
We were woken up at who knows what time…. But everyone was still very tired- here again, my buddy and I had read up before the weekend and so we were expecting a degree of sleep deprivation. We took our showers… and watched and counted for each other… It’s amazing what the group dynamic can make a person do, huh?
Then we were escorted to the main hall for breakfast, which consisted of dry cereal and cold water. This took place during the middle of winter in upstate NY where it was COLD, so suffice to say, this meal was less than fulfilling…. All morning we went through more silly “educational” sessions like the previous night. And did a few meditation exercises as well, and of course, what warrior training would be complete without choosing your spirit animal? So we each did that…. Lunch was the same, handfuls of dry cereal and cold water. But after lunch, it started….
“It” started with all the instructors/elders yelling and beating drums and making a huge ruckus- during which they brought in two sections of carpet- This was going to be the “hero’s journey” part of our warrior training. We were split into two groups, one on each carpet.
These carpets, we were told, represented our universes. An important part of any Warrior myth, is the “hero’s journey.” This is where the hero has to go and face his demons, then harness those powers and come away stronger because of it- pretty common theme— see Luke Skywalker, Beowulf, Neo of the Matrix, et al…. But I digress…
So we were told that these carpets were our universes where our ‘hero’s journey’ would play out. We were then warned that we might not survive due to the difficulty of the journey, it would be perilous, we would need all of our strength, etc… They asked who would go first-- I volunteered. I figured I’d get it over with… One of the elders walked up to me on the carpet, again asking if I was ready, it would be dangerous, etc etc— “yeah, yeah, I’m fine” I replied.
Then about 5 instructors walked out onto the carpet and began drilling me with questions. Sidenote: When we first showed up we had to fill out a questionnaire, asking if we’d ever been molested, raped, were gay, bisexual, if we’d had any traumatic experiences, problems growing up…etc- Luckily for me, I haven’t been molested, I haven’t been raped, and I haven’t had any traumatic experiences that still plague me--- Believe it or not, I had a good childhood and I’m well adjusted now (thanks mom and dad!) Well, they didn’t believe it, so they started really attacking me verbally, trying to get me to break down. But I was kind of laughing at their attempts.
Somehow a bunch of old, out of shape men playing Indian warrior doesn’t really intimidate me. As this is playing out, I’m watching what’s going on the other carpet across the room from the corner of my eye—the guy over there you stepped up first, all of a sudden got tackled by several of the instructors----- “WHOA!” I thought to myself, “if any of these guys try to pull some physical bulls$%t on me I will f#%k them up!….” Let’s just say I wasn’t in the mood to tolerate anything like that… They then instructed me to “close my eyes!”
I figured it was to blindside me… a few of them had circled around to behind me… I was halfway expecting one of them to clock me in the back of the head or something. So I told them to essentially go to hell and that I wasn’t not going to close my eyes for them. They didn’t like that answer. So a few more instructors joined in with the others and amount of screaming at me doubled…. Finally once they realized that they weren’t going to be able to “break” me they started chiding me for “not being ready!” etc, and to “GET THE F%&K OFF THE CARPET!!!!”… Whatever guys…
The next guy in our group stepped up, and they began drilling him with questions. Remember that they had info from each man about his personal traumas and the instructors were reading off of index cards as each man stepped forward. So anyway the next guy steps up, they start drilling him and all of a sudden he breaks down, crying, falling to his knees…. “WHEN I WAS 9 I GOT RAPED IN MY ASS BY AN OLD MAN!!!!”
“BROTHERS!’ the elders screamed, “this man has been abused, anyone who has been abused like this, step forward and place a hand on this brother to show your support!” All of a sudden EVERYONE there stepped forward except for me! I was freaked! What kind of group was this? How could there be such a large percentage of abused people in one group?? All sorts of questions were running through my head… This was getting weirder and weirder…
So to “cure” this man, they set up a scenario: He was on one side of the carpet, in front of him were two instructors, one represented the man’s “shame” the other represented his “loneliness” or something like that—Behind them was a third man, he represented the old man that caused the trauma. So the guy then had to connect with his inner-rage, referred to as his “shadow” by the MKP and break through his “shame” and “loneliness” and push the old man off the carpet and hence out of his universe… sound kind of strange? It was!
This went on all day long, with these guys, using each man’s questionnaire to break him down- at one point one guy COMPLETELY broke down. I mean this guy was BROKEN! Screaming hysterically, shaking uncontrollably.. I figured they were going to have to sedate him and take him away in a padded van. AND I’M NOT TRYING TO BE FUNNY OR KID AROUND HERE!! This guy was broken! They tried to calm him down for about 30 minutes but couldn’t.. so they took him outside, away from the groups to try to calm him down.
From my spot on the carpet, I could see them trying to console him out on the porch, but to no avail—this guy was broken! (I’ve read a few mentions on this website of people committing suicide after MPK weekends... I don’t know if any of that’s true, but this guy clearly needed to be put under some kind of suicide watch at this point!! Once again, I’m not kidding.) Finally after about an hour and half of him being 100% hysterical, they instructors finally ‘cured’ him... How you ask? THEY WALKED AROUND HIM 3 TIMES WITH BURNING SAGE!!!!!
At this point I was over it! This couldn’t be legal, or ethical! F$%CKING NEW AGE jerk-offs! Who the f%$k do they think they are!!!?
I’m getting so mad reliving this as I write this…. Relax… mellow…. Okay….
This went on all day until dinner. After dinner (cereal and water) we did a few more exercises and then were told to retire to our cabins. “But,” they exclaimed, “the night wasn’t over…”
Around an hour later, I’d guess it was around 9:00 pm by now, but once again, who knew? The instructors started drumming again, summoning us to the lodge. We were all led into a small room, the “holding-pen” from the first night. Once there we were told to blindfold ourselves. Once blindfolded, we were told to strip and throw our clothes in the middle of the room… This was too MUCH! But once again, the group dynamic… who’s going to protest?
Blindfolded, we all stripped, we were then told to hold hands and we were led in a long line towards the main hall. As we approached the hall, we could hear drumming and yelling. As we entered the hall our blindfolds were ripped from our heads- the hall was lighted by only the large fireplace at one end of the room, in the middle of the room was an alter comprised of candles, swords and animal pelts.. (Sidenote: our group consisted of about 20 initiates and maybe 15 MPK instructor/elders) But in the lodge were no fewer than 65 men (not including us 20 initiates!) and every one of them was buck naked and writhing to the drumming…. And I mean WRITHING, they were dancing, shaking their asses at each other, seeing who could shake their scrotoms the hardest to each other… it was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen—and I hope to ever see. I was expecting it to devolve into a huge gay orgy at any second. Once again, I’m not trying to be crass or funny, this is the truth.
After about 10-15 minutes of the homoerotic dancing melee… we were called to order. Us initiates were arranged in a semi-circle in front of the fire while the elders were up front. The other 60-some men were arranged throughout the room. One at time they introduced themselves—“I’m Thundering Stallion, I’ve traveled from NY City to be here!” “I’m Laughing Wildebeest, and I have traveled all the way from Boston to be here with you..” And on and on…. Each man used only his ‘animal’ name.. and they all traveled far to be with us…. Lucky us….
We then went through a silly drawn-out new age style ritual where we were each greeted one at a time and declared “Warriors!!” After the ceremony we given the choice, we could return to our cabins to contemplate or we could stay at the lodge to dance the night away with the other men. Naturally my buddy and myself opted VERY QUICKLY for the return to the cabin option. As did most of the other initiates.
Once returning to the cabin, my buddy and I were PISSED. It was at that time that we decided that at first light we were leaving.
The weekend was supposed to last until around 6 or 7 pm on Sunday, but my buddy and I were packed and ready to go at first light- we went to the instructors cabin and walked in- they told us to get out! We told then we wanted our car keys etc, because we were leaving. Naturally, they then got PISSED! We expected them to make a huge scene in front of the other initiates but after about 20 minutes of a few of them pressuring us to stay, “But we’re not finished!” “We still have the renaming exercise!,” “But we still have to do the sweat lodge!” (I read the post about them telling guys to touch each other’s dicks during the sweat, and while I can’t speak to that, I wouldn’t be surprised) “Yeah, that’s great guys, but as we said, we’re outta here, gimme my car keys!”
Finally they relented. Luckily, my buddy and I had carpooled together so we weren’t in that trap. And by the way, we felt that the carpool request by MKP was exactly that, a trap so people couldn’t leave without a huge hassle…
All in all, it was the strangest weekend of my life. At this point, my buddy and I feel that the primary goal of MPK is to create a safe spot for gay men to come out in. Whether or not this is true is debatable, but the weekend dripped homosexuality constantly, and the complete lack of ethical guidelines, to this day, bothers the hell out of me.
Sorry this has been so long and rambling, but there was a lot to tell…