Aaron Taylor – Green Bay Packers, Superbowl XXXI Champion

Clip from “JOURNEYMAN – a documentary about rites of passage, mentoring, and male culture in America” produced in 2008 by Charlie Borden of MirrorMan Films. Used with permission.

 

 

The Truth about the ManKind Project

Who, What and Where?


Powerful testimonial video from the ManKind Project New Zealand

The basics: You will join a group of between 15 and 40 other men at a camp or retreat facility somewhere in one of our geographical centers. We recommend that men drive no more than 3 hours to the training site. You will be asked to car-pool, in line with a commitment to ecological consciousness and as a way of beginning to create connections and camaraderie with the other men attending the training.

From Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, (with meals, breaks and time for sleep) you will be asked to join in a series of processes and activities – all designed with one goal in mind – to help every man at the training step into his own unique sense of himself as a man among men. Some of the activities are individual, many are group processes. There are physical activities, writing, visualizations. It will be one of the most action packed weekends of your life.

You will be guided on this journey by a group of 25 to 50 staff men. Some of these men will be staffing for the first time, others will have decades of experience and advanced training. Each staff man will play a role in creating the weekend experience.

On Sunday afternoon, after celebrating your success, you will return home. It is a good idea to have a quiet evening planned. Some men choose to take Monday off in order to digest their experience and catch up on sleep. It will be up to you what you do with what you have learned about yourself and other men. For many men, Monday’s sunrise is the beginning of a life with a renewed sense of vitality and purpose.

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Who Runs the Training?
The ManKind Project, an international nonprofit organization, has assembled a highly-motivated, experienced staff to lead the training programs. Most staff members are volunteers, and because all have experienced the initiation process themselves, they have a compelling sense of male initiation and authentic self-examination.

The Leader team on your training will have years of experience working with men in transformational settings. Leaders in the ManKind Project have chosen to live a life of fierce and rigorous self examination. They have been judged repeatedly by their peers, and by the ManKind Project, and certified to lead the New Warrior Training, a serious responsibility. Their commitment is to the safety and success of each man on a training weekend.

In the final analysis, however, you run your own training through the responses and decisions you make along your journey. The staff serve as your guides and mentors, but you choose your own level of commitment, and you decide how far you will explore the inner terrain of your life, to discover the treasures, and obstacles buried within your self.

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What aspects of a man’s life are examined?
We look at nearly every aspect of a man’s life.

  • Where you came from and how you were raised.
  • What you learned about how to be a man.
  • What you want for your future.
  • What you want for yourself and for others.
  • How you handle your past. (and how to break free of it)
  • How you deal with conflict.
  • How you learn to be more effective.
  • How you deal with being alone OR being a part of a team.
  • How you handle fear, anger, shame, joy, sadness.
  • What your unique purpose for being is. (and how to move toward it)
  • How you fit in to the natural world.
  • How you fit in as a man among men.
  • What is your relationship to your power as a man?
  • What is your relationship to your spirituality?
  • What is your relationship to death?
  • What is your relationship to women?
  • What is your relationship to your body and sexuality?
    Want to know more about how we handle sexuality and nudity?Click Here.

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How Do I Register?
Only you can decide if you are ready to participate in the New Warrior Training Adventure. There is likely a training happening near you soon in one of our geographical centers. See our Communities Page for more information on where our trainings are held. Click Here to register. There is a simple process for registering that includes a detailed questionnaire. Some communities also conduct telephone or face to face interviews. Not every man is ready for the NWTA, but most men are. Face the fear. Take the risk.

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How Much Does It Cost To Attend?
NWTA tuition varies from location to location based on local facility costs and cost of living. The widest price variance in 2009 was in the US with the average cost a little over $650 and a range from $575 to $750. In Canada the price was CAD$650, In French-Speaking Europe € 520, In Australia AUD$985, in South Africa ZAR3800, in German-Speaking Europe € 530, In New Zealand NZD$795 and in the United Kingdom £500.
To find out the exact current price for the NWTA, visit the Communities Page and find the contact listing for the host community you’ve selected to attend the NWTA with. The representative you speak with will have the most current data.

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Who Comes to the Training?
During your training you will stand shoulder to shoulder with an immensely rich mix of masculinity, with occupations and ages as wide as masculinity itself. Whether they’re corporate executives or college students, all come to share a common understanding that their lives as men can be empowered with greater focus and direction, and that this personal initiation into manhood is crucial to their full development as men.

Some men come to heal. Some men come to find role models for positive and mature masculinity. Some men come to explore their Leadership abilities and expand their skills. Some men come to make a conscious transition for adolescent life to the life of a man. Some men come to find peace of mind in their transition to elder-hood. All men come because a small voice within them lets them know when it’s time.

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Am I Ready?

We do not recommend this training for every man. We urge you not to apply to this program without serious forethought, and not to enroll simply at the urging of a spouse or friend.

You must be highly committed to your life, and ready to participate fully in all training activities, many of which encourage you to take a hard look at yourself, your deepest fears, your wounds from the past, and and how you are willing to learn what you can do to take control of and improve your life. We choose to work only with men who are ready, and willing to do this initiatory work with us.

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What Happens After the Training?
No weekend workshop is a fix-all. We do not expect the NWTA to “cure” you or “fix” your life. What we do expect is that a crack will be opened in the shield that you have covered yourself with, maybe the shield will break apart completely. The awakening that results from the NWTA can be very powerful … but the ongoing growth in self-awareness and empowerment that can come about by participating in ongoing men’s groups, called Integration Groups, is the most compelling reason that many of us took the NWTA to begin with. After the NWTA you will be invited to participate in an I-Group.

You will also be invited to join the Global Community of men that is the ManKind Project. Within MKP you can participate in advanced leadership and skill trainings, learn facilitation skills, and participate as staff at any of our trainings. You will also find a wider community of men, women, families and organizations dedicated to making the world a better, safer, more alive place through missions of service.

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Does this work make a real difference?
Like a stone dropping into a pond, the New Warrior Training Adventure [NWTA] sends ripples through the lives of men, their families, and their communities. The growth and healing that men experience doesn’t stop with them. New Warrior men and Centers are involved in mentoring disaffected young men and women, working with gangs and incarcerated young men, building shelters for the homeless, creating programs for Vietnam-era veterans, and other causes that cry out for healthy masculine presence.

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Is the NWTA for Every Man?

No. This training is not intended for men with active mental health issues that might lead to self harming or violent behaviors. Please seek professional mental health counseling. If you have been involved in ongoing treatment, talk to your provider about whether an intense men’s weekend could be valuable to you. Involvement with the ManKind Project is often recognized to have positive effects for men in recovery from chemical addictions or a history of addictive behavior. Talk to your sponsor. If you are actively using, we do not recommend the New Warrior Training Adventure.

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What Will I Get Out of This?
We don’t know exactly what you will walk away with. Your experience will be unique. You will learn about yourself and how you show up in the world. You will learn about your place in a community of men. You will learn about masculinity and the possibility of creating a new kind of a warrior, a peaceful warrior, to help heal the wounds in our society. You will see men mentor other men, support each other, play together and form a safe, authentic container where men are free to be exactly who they are, without defenses or masks.

It’s likely that when you leave this training you will have the possibility to love and be loved in a way you have not experienced in a very long time. You’ll have a gift to offer the world, and the energy to share it.

“Previous cultures throughout history always intended authentic masculine initiation. But their vision and their cultural context of the world was necessarily limited. Since the first earthrise photograph from outer space, we have entered a new mythological era. For the first time in human history, we have before us the possibility of authentic masculine initiation – an initiation into the global brotherhood.” –Dr. Robert Moore Coauthor of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

Why is this only for men?

We believe that men have important work to accomplish in helping one another and learning to trust each other. The work we do is about helping men step into a healthy and mature sense of masculinity. Through working with each other, we create the real possibility for effective and productive relationships with women – relationships based in healthy respect, self-reliance, emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion. We do our own work so that we can benefit everyone.

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Is this some kind of fraternal organization like the Masons or the Elks?

No. We offer a quality of community and connection very different than any fraternal organization that we know of. Being a part of the ManKind Project certainly does not preclude anyone from membership in any purposeful organization they wish to join.

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Why are you called New Warriors?

The energy of the warrior is needed today from men and women of conscience. We distinguish ourselves from the “Old” warrior, the obsolete and morally bankrupt soldier of fortune, whose actions are centered around personal gain and whose purpose is harmful to himself and those around him. The old warrior uses machismo, rage and intimidation to get respect through fear. The New Warrior is a man who looks inside himself to do battle with the demons in his own soul and emerges with maturity and grounded strength.

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What is this “shadow” I keep hearing about?

It is the part of ourselves that we don’t talk about. It is the part of our personality that we deny to the world, and often to ourselves. Though we didn’t begin this way, the ManKind Project has incorporated symbols, archetypes and stories from Jungian psychology, made popular by men and women like Joseph Campbell, Robert Moore, Clarisa Pinkola Estes, Robert Bly and many others. You can read about the framework of Jungian beliefs HERE. Archetypal language and symbols are not the only frameworks we draw on. There are many ways to approach personal growth, yours will likely be welcomed.

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What is an initiation?

In almost every global culture, rites of passage taught boys how to be men and become productive members of the ‘tribe’. Often these experiences were harrowing and physically painful. These days, that old kind of initiation is no longer appropriate, safe, or useful. (though dangerous initiations are still occurring in gangs, fraternities and adolescent acts of rebellion) Initiation – MKP has created a modern initiation for men. The modern initiation is safe, non-shaming, and focused on the problems that face men in the 21st century. We conduct an initiation because we believe it is absolutely necessary for a man to learn in an unequivocal way; what he is capable of, why he is here, and how to engage fully in his life.

With this knowledge, a modern man is freed to make choices, take risks and assume full responsibility for his life. This is not a hazing ritual or an entrance to a fraternal organization; this is a challenging 48 hour experience that will likely have life-changing effects. Not every man is ready for our training, but every man can gain something when he is willing to take that step. Our training may have aspects of other workshops you have experienced, but the power of initiation is in the challenge. This is not a spa, not a retreat, not a weekend getaway. It is an entry point into a new way of being you.

What is “Emotional Intelligence”, and why does it matter?

Emotional Intelligence is the practice of learning to recognize and respond to emotional stimulus in ourselves and others in a healthy, positive, and effective way.

Many men have been taught to value thinking and to distrust feelings. They have been desensitized, taught to endure pain without complaint, and told that it is an honor to sacrifice our bodies for society. As a result, many men suffer from isolation and are prone to addictions and to acting out their feelings in dysfunctional ways. Many are afraid of intimacy, both with men and with women. They hide behind masks that are brittle and in need of repair.

Many men are sad, lonely, frightened, angry, and ashamed, and don’t even know it. And with the loss of their feelings, they also lose what is most precious to them: Their ability to value their world and to hold life dear.

Other men know their feelings perhaps too well. They have learned to indulge in their feelings and use them to manipulate others, often the ones they love most. They lack the ability to stand in their own authenticity. Lost in their feelings, they too lose what is most precious to them: Their ability to be trusted and loved.

On the New Warrior Training Adventure men re-discover their feelings with their feet on the ground. They begin to learn to clarify what they’re feeling and to express those feelings directly, powerfully, and authentically. They begin to learn to balance the depth of the heart with the wisdom of the mind. If this kind of authenticity sounds attractive to you, the NWTA may be for you.

Will my Christian beliefs be welcomed here?

Thousands of Christian men have attended and greatly benefited from the NWTA. Many pastors, ministers, and priests have participated in MKP and are still involved in the organization. There are Men’s circles in the ManKind Project made up mostly of men from the same church. There is room for you here. Our core values align very well with Christ’s teachings and can augment a man of faith’s ability to navigate the world with clarity, a deep sense of purpose and joy.

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What about Gay men?

We welcome gay and bisexual men to the NWTA. The New Warrior Training Adventure, and our men’s circles, often give gay men the opportunity to create strong and supportive connections with straight allies. Straight men have the opportunity to examine their internalized prejudices and take responsibility for their feelings and actions, learning to value differences and acknowledge similarities. Multicultural awareness is one of our core values as an organization and we take pride in the work we’ve done to create productive cross-cultural dialogues over the last two decades. We will never try to change a man’s sexual orientation. Read about our policy on sexual orientation here.

We create trainings and circles in which all men are welcome to discover their deepest truths. We welcome men of all sexual orientations: gay, straight, and bisexual, including those who identify as having unwanted same sex attraction, to do their own work as they define it, to respect the identity and value of others, and to take responsibility for the impact their words and behaviors have on others.

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Can I see what it’s about first?

The ManKind Project, through our Community Centers across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, South Africa, German speaking and French speaking Europe, and other smaller developing centers, conduct regular peer mentoring groups called “Integration Groups” where men join one another in providing ongoing challenges and support through all the stages of a man’s life. There are often opportunities to join these men and experience first hand the commitment and connection of MKP men. Contact a local community representative to find a men’s group near you.

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Why are we asked to carpool?

We ask all men who come to the training, including staff, to carpool. Occasionally there is limited parking space, but our primary reason for car pooling is to begin to challenge the isolation with which many men live their lives. Great friendships have been borne between NWTA participants simply by sharing the journey into self-discovery with another. We also take our environmental impact seriously, and carpooling is a significant way to shrink our environmental footprint.

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What if I decide to leave? How will I get home?

When you arrive at the training site you will be asked if you are willing to do everything necessary to get what you came for. If you decide you want to leave, one of the weekend leaders is likely to challenge you to stay by reminding you of this commitment.

Many men experience a time on the weekend when they no longer want to be there. Some ask to leave, and then decide to stay. The vast majority are glad they did. This is part of the process; we expect it to happen, just as many of us experience days when we would rather leave our jobs, leave our relationships, run away from our responsibilities. We will ask you if this is one of those times that staying might serve you more than leaving. And then, if you decide to leave, we will help you do that. If you decide to leave the training, we will either return your keys to you if you drove, help you make phone calls to arrange transportation, or have a staff member drive you home. You are free to go, and we will ask you if it’s what you really want for yourself.

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Why animal names?

In all cultures throughout the world, animals represent distinct archetypal symbols and ideas. The American Bald Eagle, the rattlesnake, the loyal dog. In many cultures, men and women adopted (or received through a ritual) a ‘spirit’ animal or a ‘totem’ that represented a companion, a helper and a reflection of who they are in the world. Men who attend the New Warrior Training choose an animal to represent and reinforce the learning that they receive from the process. For some men these animals serve as a reminder of what they aspire to in the world. For some men the animal names mean very little, but are fun. Often they change with time as men continue to grow.

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Why have people called this a boot camp?

Most of those who’ve called it that have never attended a real boot camp. It is our intention to create an experience that jars a man out of his complacency and engages him with a wide range of emotions and experiences. The ‘arc’ of an initiation is in three parts: the Descent – in which a man is separated from his ‘normal’ life, the Ordeal – in which a man discovers his worth by facing a challenge, and the Reintegration – in which a man returns to his life, reclaiming that which he gave up, leaving behind that which he does not wish to carry forward. This is what we create with the New Warrior Training Adventure. It is challenging. It can be frightening for some men. We ask men to go for it! To shed their fears and dive into the adventure – to fully immerse in the experience, to do whatever it takes to get what they came for.

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What else do you do?

One aspect of the NWTA is a deep examination of purpose or mission in a man’s life. A man emerges from the NWTA with a clear understanding of his own unique positive purpose in the world, and some first steps toward living his passion. How he will carry this out will be up to him. Missions of Service are common throughout the ManKind Project communities. Men on a mission, who have the resources and support to pursue their dreams, do amazing things. Learn more about Missions of Service.

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Are there other trainings after the NWTA?

A wide range of advanced trainings are offered by the ManKind Project and numerous loosely affiliated organizations created and operated by New Warriors and their partners. Our members have created trainings to address multiple aspects of masculinity, multi-cultural issues, social justice work, work in prisons, work with veterans, work with teens, non-violence trainings, meditation and spiritual practices, religious explorations, support for elders and young men, fathers, divorced men, gay men, advanced leadership training, corporate training, individual coaching and counseling, shadow work, numerous body-mind and healing modalities, wilderness leadership and exploration, sustainability and ecological living, community building and more. Some of these trainings are sponsored by MKP Communities, others sponsored independently.

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Are you just trying to sell me a bunch of products?

No. We hope that you will participate in the organization at a level that you’re comfortable. We hope that you will join a men’s group – most of which are completely free.

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How do you make money?

The majority of our organizational income comes from the tuition for our trainings. We run with a balanced budget to the extent possible. The ManKind Project has no brick and mortar headquarters, though several of the individual centers do. We have a very small staff of paid employees, and some Committee Chairs are offered a small stipend for their service. We also raise money through donations, and through inexpensive membership fees in some areas. We earn a small amount of money each year through the sale of ManKind Project goods, like hats and shirts. No one ever has, and no one ever will, get rich from the ManKind Project. That’s not what we’re about.

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Is MKP anti-religious? Are you Native American or pagan?

NO. Men of many faiths are active in ManKind Project communities. MKP encourages men from all walks of life and all faiths to sit together with respect and acceptance. Men are often invited to share wisdom from their own faith traditions in our circles, enriching all of us with the diversity of spiritual practices available in the world.

Some of the ritual aspects of the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) are adapted from indigenous traditions native to the country in which the training is held. For most men – this symbolism is very useful as a way to get in touch with a connection to spiritual aspects of the personality and to create or recreate a sense of connection to nature, the ‘spirit of the land’ and the ‘spirit of the ancestors’ that lived here before us. We also work to respect and protect these first-nation traditions from exploitation.

You may have read statements that we are a pagan or neo-pagan organization. We’re not. There are certainly men who consider themselves pagan in our membership, along with Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and others. There are also men with no religious beliefs. We do not ‘worship’ earth spirits. If you are comfortable in your faith, recognize the valuable role of symbolism in spiritual practices, and open to the beliefs of others – you will probably find much to appreciate in our organization. If you have an exclusive belief system that does not leave room for acceptance and tolerance of other paths; while you are likely to find value in the NWTA, you may not feel comfortable associating with the diversity of spiritual practices and beliefs in our organization. There is no room in our circles for active intolerance, bigotry or discrimination. We do not allow any religious tradition to influence our training protocols, impose religious values on other men in our organization, or proselytize. Men are invited to connect with what is most true for themselves in their spiritual practice.

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Is the ManKind Project (MKP) a Cult?

Quite emphatically, NO.

There are many definitions of a cult, but most include 1) a single charismatic leader, 2) financial support by committed followers, 3) a unified dogma or mission, and 4) separation from the outside world.

By contrast, the three men who founded what became the ManKind Project gave away our primary intellectual property, the protocols describing how to run the NWTA, to our nonprofit organization many years ago. The two surviving founders, Bill Kauth and Rich Tosi, each receive royalties of less than $20,000 per year. The ManKind Project is a nonprofit organization which provides oversight of our 39 centers, and our leadership and management is extremely decentralized. We have a handful of full time staff and the highest salary in the organization is under $90,000. Most of MKP’s income derives from training tuition, and about a sixth of our total budget comes from member donations.

The ManKind Project has a set of core values: integrity, respect, generosity, accountability, multicultural awareness, and compassion. We have a common purpose: to create better men. We have no creation story, no mystical entities, no miracle stories, no icons, no gurus. Rather than offering a single perspective on how to live, a single belief system or mission, we will support you in living your own mission as you define it. Will some of your old beliefs be challenged on the NWTA? We certainly hope so. Our intention is provide an opportunity for you to re-examine patterns which limit your potential, with the goal of expanding awareness and opportunity.

As for separation from the community – the men in MKP are involved in all kinds of communities! We are a far too diverse and vibrant group of men to be closed off from the world. After getting involved in this work, most of us experience an expansion in the level connection we have to all the people we meet and interact with. We have weekly or bi-weekly peer mentoring groups that we can choose to be involved with. Some of us volunteer to work for our centers or staff our trainings – and a few have made this work our livelihood.

Many of us do feel strong loyalty for the ManKind Project, because the NWTA and integration groups have brought so much meaning to our lives. Our loyalty is similar to how many of us feel about other service organizations that bring value to the world. If you have visited the Rick Ross Cult Forum, you know he refers to the ManKind Project as a large group awareness training or LGAT. Rick Ross doesn’t call us a cult. The truth is, we do offer an awareness training – and we think growing awareness is a good thing!

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I read an article that was very negative, what about that?

We know we’re a bit unusual, even controversial, but we’re nothing like the Houston Press described in their incredibly irresponsible article. Our Executive Director Carl Griesser has written a response to that article here. We are proud of who we are, the work we do and the positive impact we have had on more than 55,000 men.

If you have more questions, we’d love to talk to you. Give us a call! 800-870-4611. If you just want to keep reading, follow along below.

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