The Anatomy of a Warrior Show - Episode 003 - Blog - 3 Virtue Lessons You Can Learn from "The Last Samurai"
My newest book, Anatomy of a Warrior, launches on November 11th, Veterans Day!
As you can imagine, there are a great many details to attend to between now and then in preparation for the launch. Nearly 3 years of behind-the-scenes work is nearing completion.
Despite all this work, I am a firm believer in re-charging and re-energizing. Last night, I did that by watching one of my all-time favorite movies - The Last Samurai (TLS). I have always liked this movie but this was the first time I had watched it since I began researching the virtues of a warrior. I viewed the film for the first time through a much deeper lens of understanding what virtues a warrior must live by. Viewing it through this new lens, I love the movie even more now and let me tell you why.
1. The glue that holds all virtue together is temperance.
Watching TLS made me realize on a deeper level just how important self-control and temperance are for a warrior. All virtue and the pursuit thereof must be controlled. As I get older and experience more of life, I am discovering just how important self-control is. We may call this discipline. The samurai in TLS were polished, dedicated, and committed. Tom Cruise's character says at one part, "I have never seen such discipline." Commenting in other place, he says, "From the moment they rise each morning, they dedicate themselves to the perfection of the work they pursue."
This discipline is highly underrated in today's culture. In our world of instant gratification, discipline is becoming a forgotten word - who needs discipline when you can have everything right now?
Watching TLS made me think about the discipline that was required to write my book and how many times I failed to do what I should have due to lack of discipline. It is a sobering thought. Are you lacking discipline? Could you stand to improve in the area of self-control? Join the club.
The importance of self-control cannot be overstated. I challenge you to take intentional control of all aspects of your life: your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and habits. Remember, what you believe determines all else. If you believe you are not in control of yourself (by "self" I mean the full gamut of your experience as a human being - emotions, thoughts, desires, dreams, behaviors, actions, in-actions, decisions, etc.) then you will act like you are not in control of yourself.
Viewing TLS this time around I saw the stark contrast between such a warrior society and the society at large in our beloved USA. In TLS, the people were disciplined in their duty to their families, country and superiors. Not many excuses were given for poor behavior or breach of manners. I do not wish to imply that we in the USA should practice ritual suicide (as a Christian, I cannot support such a thing) however, there are many lessons we could learn from their staunch discipline. Watch TLS and look at the discipline of the samurai.
2. Humility needed a stronger emphasis.
In TLS, we see how samurai would commit ritual suicide when they could not bear the shame of defeat. This ultimately stems from a place of pride, i.e.: "MY shame is too great; I cannot bear it! Therefore, I will honor myself by committing ritual suicide!" (harakiri). This should teach you a lesson about guarding against pride - it can lead you to do self-destructive things, even ritual suicide.
If you take the discipline shown by the samurai and pair it with the appropriate dose of humility, you will become a truly powerful person. Discipline will ensure that you take the actions necessary to do your duty and humility will prevent you from self-destruction due to excessive pride and self-love. For me, this lesson is an important one.
No matter how successful or unsuccessful my new book becomes, I must be disciplined in living out its virtues and humble enough to keep an accurate view of reality before my eyes. Pride can also be said to be a refusal to appraise reality correctly. For what is pride if not excess? Excess does not equal reality. The reality of who you are, your importance, etc. must always be measured and seen through the lens of reality. Refusing to admit reality is pride - because you want to see reality YOUR way! A warrior cannot afford to live with this pride! Real human lives hang in the balance, and only by admitting reality is what it is can you effectively protect them from violence. This requires perpetual humility - to view reality as it is.
3. To control the mind, subdue the body.
I was struck while watching TLS how the men would condition and discipline themselves to train. They didn't exactly go light either. In one particular seen with Tom Cruise and Ujio, they are sparring with wooden swords in the rain. Cruise is injured from previous battles at this point so he is utterly unable to defend himself against the superiorly trained Ujio. Though Ujio does not kill Cruise, he deals him a serious of powerful blows to the face, back, legs and shoulders. All of those hits would warrant and immediate stoppage of training in modern day Dojo. I am not saying that you should hit this hard with wooden weapons at your Dojo, but the contrast between the conditioning of then to now is striking (no pun intended).
The samurai knew that in order to control the mind, you must subdue the body. One element that several interviewees mentioned was that the body was must forged and honed. Your body is the vehicle to deliver and achieve your purpose in. Health and conditioning matter. Watching TLS, I was confronted with my own lack of proper focus on health, conditioning, and fitness. All of these things matter in a fight and in the protection of others from violence. Everyone wants the magic technique or weapon that will do all the work for them, but you and I both know that this doesn't exist. I re-discovered that I needed to rededicate myself to mastering my mind by conquering my body. Do you need to improve your fitness and health? No one can do it for you. Do not lie to yourself and say that this doesn't matter - it does matter.
BONUS - #4:
In our modern culture, "love" has been made into a fleeting feeling. A mere whim that comes and goes which is purely outside our control. TLS reminded me that true love is disciplined. If you love others, you discipline yourself to master your body, to take control of your emotions, to take your thoughts captive to your will. Why? Because it matters in the quest to give life or take life. Everything you do has a net effect towards life preserving or life destroying. Don't believe me? Your inability to control your emotions adds stress to the lives of all those around you. Ironically, this usually means that those you "love" the most are the most affected. If you allow yourself to be unhealthy, lazy, and undisciplined, then those around you must cover for you and pick up your slack. This adds more stress to their already stressful life which is life destroying.
I had never really felt and understood the truth of this until rewatching TLS. Look at how their lives of discipline allowed others to thrive and do their duties. Contrast that with our current, American culture. I challenge you to create the samurai type discipline in your life and with your family. Remember, love is not a feeling. Conducting yourself with discipline is the evidence of true love. If this convicts you, join the club of the convicted. No use wallowing about it, time to get to work and get busy.
"Life in every breath." Katsumoto says this is the meaning of Bushido - the way of the warrior. It takes discipline to live this way. But oh what a life! I'm rededicating myself to the path of discipline today and I challenge you to do the same!
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Live with virtue!
Photo courtesy of: http://www.gaiahealthblog.com/dinner-and-a-movie-the-last-samurai/
The Anatomy of a Warrior Show - Episode 002 - The Meaning of the "Anatomy of a Warrior" Title and Logo
In Episode 2 of The Anatomy of a Warrior Show, you will discover:
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Live with virtue!
The Anatomy of a Warrior Show - Podcast - Episode 001 - How Focusing on Virtue will Change Your Life
In episode 1 of The Anatomy of a Warrior Show, you will discover:
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Live with virtue!
In lieu of writing a blog, I have the great honor of sharing my interview on the Dentist Freedom Blueprint Blueprint Podcast!
My good friend, Dr. David Phelps, brought me on his show to discuss my new book (why I wrote it, behind-the-scenes access to how I was able to interview so many people, and when the book will be released), my recent cult experience, what I've learned in my nearly 3 years in business and how I was able to share the stage with a vomiting Rudy Ruettiger (you definitely want to hear that story).
There are some great takeaways that can help you in your business and personal life; you won't believe how many life lessons are packed into the Rudy story.
Click this link to listen to the podcast now: CLICK HERE!
My Personal Story of Escaping a Cult - Part 4: Healing, Forgiveness & a Final Message for the People Still in the Cult
In the past 3 weeks, I have written a detailed account of the inner workings of the cult I belonged to, how & why I left, and questions for the cult leader. Today, I am writing on a topic that has been much requested - how I have healed from this experience.
It is a tough question to answer because healing from such a thing is not a one-time act. There is no one thing you do or quick 3 step process for healing after leaving a cult. Despite this, I will do my best in the following paragraphs to capture some ways I have healed from this experience. I hope they can help you as well.
1) Forgiveness is your friend. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a man named Capt. Charlie Plumb who was a POW in Vietnam for 6 years. I was asking him about what virtues are necessary for a good protector to possess. He named one thing that I hadn't given much thought to - forgiveness.
Capt. Plumb told me that only if you can forgive your enemies can you see things as they really are. He also said that if he could not find a way to forgive his torturers he would destroy himself by holding onto hatred. In this way, he could have survived being a POW but lost the battle of the aftermath due to holding a grudge of hatred. Wow. Part of how I have healed is in realizing that if this man can forgive the men who tortured him and killed his friends, then I certainly can forgive the cult leader and all its members. They have done far less evil to me than the torturers did to Capt. Plumb.
I do forgive the cult leader - I do not condone what he has done and continues to do, but I do forgive him. I harbor no hatred or animosity towards him or anyone in the cult. I must confess that I believe the only reason I am able to forgive them is because I have prayed for God to send me the grace to forgive them. My natural, human inclination is to be angry, bitter and resentful. But I know I am held to a higher standard.
It has been said that you don't forgive someone for their sake, you forgive them for your sake. As Capt. Plumb said, he knew the hatred he harbored would destroy him if he could not forgive his captors. Therefore, forgiving them was essential so he could survive the aftermath. Why does someone like Capt. Plumb who was captured and tortured for 6 years not have PTSD but some one else who face far less horror does get PTSD? I don’t know but I think forgiveness has a huge role in this regard. Forgiveness allows you to emotionally and spiritually survive the aftermath.
No one is saying forgiveness is easy. But it is essential to surviving the aftermath and not allowing the cult leader to win. If you continue to harbor hatred, the enemy has won. He is living in your head rent free and taking up the vast portion of your heart. Raise the rent and kick him out! I simply refuse to grant this victory to the cult leader.
Lastly, as a Christian, I believe that we are called to forgive our enemies because Christ forgave His enemies. "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Is the ultimate example for mankind. If I am going to claim that I am a Christian I must at least make an attempt to do what God says. He calls us to forgive our enemies and I am viewing this as a tremendous blessing and opportunity to practice obedience to God's commandment.
2) Focus on living your life not reliving the past. What happened to me is sad and disappointing but what good does focusing on that do for me now? As such, if you choose to make what lies ahead - your future - your focus, it is easier to move on. I am in the process of writing an amazing book based on 119 interviews about the virtues of the warrior heart - I should focus more on that instead of all this cult drama. The truth is, at this point, time spent worrying about the cult and its machinations is time not spent doing what I need to do and I what I feel I am called to do. Time to move on.
3) Play a game. The game is called "What good will arise from this and can I create any good by going through this experience?" Seriously, play this game and try to come up with as many ways this experience can lead to good things as possible. Write them down. Visualize them prominently in your mind.
For me, going through this struggle has made me even more relatable to others and has humbled me. A fellow speaker once told me that "people relate with your mess not your success." I now have a mess I can share with others in order to relate to them better and to help them.
Prior to going through this, I held my intellect in much higher regard than I do now. I now realize that very often, the reason people get victimized (by a cult or anything really) is often not an intellect problem but a heart problem.
This experience has taught me to be much more careful in guarding my heart and not to trust appearances. It has also taught me to focus more on the truth of someone's claims rather than the charisma or energy with which they make those claims. "Is what this person is saying actually true?"
It has also taught me to trust my own intuition much more because I had been suppressing bad feelings about this cult and its leader for 3 years before finally taking action. Had the situation been different, I could have been physically injured or killed if I chose to ignore my intuition like that.
This experience validated very powerfully for me Gavin de Becker's main point in his iconic work, The Gift of Fear: Your intuition exists to protect you and it always has your best interest at heart. That is something you can trust. You cannot necessarily trust that another person has your best interest at heart - they may not. But your conscience, your intuition, is always trying to protect you. To phrase it another way, your intuition doesn't lie to you so that it may hurt you. It may be wrong about something, but it doesn't lie to you so that it can rip you off or scam you. A person, however, may be doing just that.
4) Talking to others who have a shared experience. I am quite blessed to have been able to talk with several people who are "expats" of the same cult. We have had many good conversations and they have allowed me to vent my thoughts and get them out. I do not believe that keeping in this type of hurt and pain is good for your physical or spiritual health. Having a good outlet like people who know what you're going through has been invaluable.
Generally speaking, there will be at least one other person you can talk to who has gone through some similar pain you are facing or faced. Find them and talk. I do not recommend talking in a whining or bitching kind of way - but talk to just let your emotions and thoughts be released. Look for and discuss real solutions to your problems.
However, if you feel very hurt and upset, let that out too. Be honest about how you feel, don't try to live up to my standard or anyone else's standard of how they think you should feel. Likewise, be honest enough to admit if your feelings and emotions on this issue are reasonable or not. Having extreme feelings of anger is not justification for having them but if you do in fact have them, don't compound your problem by lying to yourself that you don't have them. Admit that is where you are at and immediately set up to remedying the situation. Always have the courage and honesty to face reality.
I am very grateful to several people who have spoken with me extensively - you know who you are. I can never repay you for your service to me and I hope I have been able to help you in some way deal with your pain as well.
WHY I WROTE THE BLOGS:
What happens now? Now, I move on and let go. Is it a one-time act? No. I will need to continually remind myself that I have moved on. But this is the final blog on this cult topic. I will continue to speak with anyone who wants to talk but I am no longer going to be writing blogs on the topic - I have said what needs to be said.
I wrote the blogs so that the cult members who wanted the truth would be able to see it. Many have reached out and expressed gratitude that I wrote the blogs and we have had private and personal conversations about their concerns and feelings. They are now forewarned and forearmed.
CLOSING MESSAGE TO CURRENT MEMBERS OF THE CULT:
I will close now with my parting words to the members still in the organization: I do not hate any of you nor do I have any ill will directed towards you. I understand fully the dilemma you are facing, to leave or not to leave? I cannot tell you what to do. I can only speak of my own experience.
Since leaving, I feel immeasurably better. I have decreased my stress, increased my freedom to train and seek knowledge from any source, made new friends with the expats (who have treated me better than the cult leader ever did in 12 years) and perhaps most importantly - I no longer have to lie to myself and pretend that everything is "ok". I knew in my heart and my gut that everything was not ok and now, I no longer have to live with fighting my conscience.
As I have written before, no amount of secret or specialized knowledge is worth your dignity, peace of mind, integrity or virtue. Loyalty to any man should not be based on what that man knows but on how virtuously they live. Knowledge without virtue will destroy you. Virtue is what sets up the appropriate limits around how to live and apply your knowledge. Only when virtue is mixed with knowledge do you get wisdom & only wisdom can help you to accurately employ and apply the knowledge you gain. The bottom line is this: if you are acquiring all kinds of knowledge with no virtue, what is the point? If you have to do something immoral in order to get the information, is it worth it?
This is what motivated me to seek the truth. My heart knew and whispered to me that I was compromising my integrity by continuing to ignore my intuition. Ironically, the cult leader has oft quoted a line from the Hagakure, "When your own heart asks, how will you respond?"
My question to you is this: "When your own heart asks about the cult and its leader, how does it respond?" Are you filled with peace, tranquility and assurance of what you are doing to be right, just and "defending the paths of truth"? Or do you have doubts, unanswered questions, & is your heart put ill-at-ease and would you prefer to simply avoid thinking about this question? Only you know the answer.
I know that when my own heart asked, it told me I must leave. It also told me that I had a moral obligation to warn the other members. I would not have been able to sleep well at night if I had stayed or if I had left but said nothing.
It has been brought to my attention that many of you still in the cult think I am calling you stupid for not being able to tell you are in a cult. Far from it. I was a loyal believer & follower for 12 years! I was one of the few who graduated Jokyo. If I was calling you stupid, I would be condemning myself out of my own mouth. No, I do not believe you are too stupid to know you are in one. I think you trust the leaders as I did. I think you have good intentions and project these intentions onto the leaders as I did. I think, that like me, you want to see reality the way you wish it was and not as it truly is. When I was still in the cult, the way I imagined things to be was simply better than things as they really were - so that's how I chose to see it. That does not make you stupid - it makes you human.
Some have expressed the desire to speak together as a group to discuss things - I have been a proponent of this from day one. I would encourage you to ask the leader to set this up so that all may be discussed. Do you not deserve to hear both sides of the story? Are you not adults, long-time students and paying members? I am all for meeting together to talk and hear everyone speak. I encourage you to ask leadership to set this up.
Personally, if you want to know more details of the situation & do not want to wait for a group meeting that may never happen, why have you not reached out to me? You have trained with me for many years, I will always take your call. Why do you plan and whisper behind the scenes when I am right here waiting to talk?
The other expats and I have nothing to hide. I do not bind you to keep secrets. In most of my conversations with current members I have had multiple people on our phone and video calls because I have nothing to hide. I have made these blogs public and spoken openly to anyone who would call. I will answer any questions you pose to me. But you must want the truth. You must take the risk to hear my side of the story knowing it may upset you and it may raise questions that you do not have answers to.
I care about all of you enough to have these conversations with you. If you want to talk, call me. If you believe that I am in the wrong and have made false claims, let's debate that too. I must tell you that to this day, over a month since my withdrawal from the cult, NOT ONE person has debated my claims with me nor have they offered proof to support the leader's claims. Why has no one done this?
If everything I am saying is wrong and the leader has immense proof to back up his claims that I have questioned, then this whole thing could be settled and over if the leader would just give you the proof to bury me. Why hasn't he done so? Why would he allow me to question him so openly in these blogs if he readily had the proof that could crush my position? Blog #3 on the cult asked some very specific questions - if those can all be answered with proof, why hasn't the leader done that?
(I'll add one more question that slipped my mind - The cult leader claims to have earned 2 PhD's from Japanese Universities. My questions are simple: What were the PhD's in, what universities, what years did he earn them, & what are the titles of his dissertations?)
Some of you have been or are angry at me, but if you are angry, why are you angry? Have I said anything that is incorrect? If so, prove it to me. I sincerely want to know. This is not an arrogant challenge but a genuine request for you to prove me wrong. The cult leader says we focus on reality, truth and purity right? Then use those principles to demonstrate where and why I am wrong. If you cannot do so, find someone who can. If you cannot find someone who can, why are you angry with me? Hasn't the cult leader said many times, "Don't shoot the messenger"? Why do you shoot the messenger if what I am saying is true?
No matter what happens moving forward, I forgive each and every one of you and I do not have any malice directed towards you at all. It is because I care for you that I wrote these blogs. I easily could have left the cult, said nothing and done nothing to rock the boat. I couldn't do that though because it wasn't the right thing to do. The cult leader is dangerous and continues to victimize people. If you knew what I know about what he has done to people it would make your hair stand on end. I cared about you enough to risk writing these blogs so that you could hear the truth. I have warned you that the field up ahead is a mine field. If you choose to walk that path with this knowledge, I cannot stop you. But I care about you enough to shout loudly and warn you: "Hey brother! Don't keep walking that way. You are entering a mine field!"
I wish you all the very best and I would still fight for you if you were being harmed.
Live with Virtue,
Title: My Personal Story of Escaping a Cult – Part 3: Surviving the Aftermath & Questions for the Cult Leader
For the past 2 weeks I have chronicled my experience in escaping a cult that I was a top member of for 12 years. The previous 2 blogs dealing with the cult have garnered nearly 1,000 views - I am ecstatic the word is spreading; thank you for sharing the blogs & reading them.
I have received several emails and calls asking for me to identify who the cult leader is and what the name of his organization is. I even had a friend who isn't close to the situation email me and say, "Can you tell me who this person is so I make sure to avoid them and never do business with them?" I answered him privately but I believe that you have the right to know who this man is and what his group is named. If you want to know who the cult leader is and what the group name is, email me at info@AlexLanshe.com
Today in part 3, I want to share some of what has happened in the aftermath of me leaving the cult and I share my list of specific questions for the cult leader.
I made my withdrawal from the cult public and well-known. This was done via an email that over 50 members in the cult could see. I did this to ensure that the leader could not make up some story about why I left. I left of my own free will and not at the coercion or prodding of anyone within the cult.
Initially, I received many "best-wishes" from other members who did not know the precise reasons for my exit (all I said in the email was that I was leaving for "personal and professional reasons"). I received these messages until the cult leader contacted me, then those well-wishes disappeared. The cult leader left me one voicemail and 1 text message - he has not contacted me since. Here is the voicemail transcript:
"Alex, this is ______ calling, I need you to call me back, we need to talk as soon as possible. Don't pause and hesitate on the call, I need to know what's going on."
I then received an angry email from one high ranking member who told me that I "owed the cult leader an explanation". If only he knew the explanation the cult leader owes him and how much the leader has ripped him off for years.
Despite this, the feedback I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. Many current members have reached out to me to hear why I left and what my thoughts on the situation are - many of these same people told me that I was confirming their own doubts and suspicions about the "Collective" and the leader. Some members have left the cult entirely, others have said they want to stick around to see what the cult leader will do and how he will respond. I do not envy being in the cult leader's position - he has told so many lies to so many different people and he has no way of knowing exactly who I have spoken to and who I have not. He best choose his words carefully when speaking to the members lest he expose himself...
The cult has 4 main satellite branches (martial arts schools) - Ohio, Maine, Arizona & Michigan. Two higher ranking members (the satellite leader of the Arizona school & a high ranking instructor from Michigan) both asked me to remove them from this blog email list but did not respond to my challenge of telling me how what I wrote was wrong, incorrect, or exaggerated. They did not respond because they cannot win that debate and they know it - the cult leader's behavior is indefensible and I wouldn't want to be caught defending a man who has sexually taken advantage of female students, attempted to break up marriages of female students, scammed students out of thousands of dollars, committed consumer fraud & run several prominent martial arts schools out of business (my instructor's school in Ohio and a school in Maine which, I've been told, is in its death throes now). Be advised, if your martial arts school is supporting this leader, your school will die the same death as the one in Ohio - it is only a matter of time. It might be a slow and painful death, but it will die just the same.
Ok, off my soap box. Moving on! After having gone through this aftermath, I had time to ponder things. I came up with some very specific questions to ask the cult leader. **Hint, Hint ... you have my permission to ask the cult leader these questions yourself**
1) You constantly stress the importance of being "zeroed" yet all 4 of the main instructors of Ohio, Maine, Arizona and Michigan still teach and instruct what they want and not in the "zeroed" sequence. Why are they all not teaching the same thing in the same sequence? Why would one instructor who teaches Aikido receive a “commission to instruct Sogobujutsu from Japan” when this instructor does not teach Sogobujutsu? How is he “zeroed” and doing things in the “proper sequence”?
2) You claim your instructor training programs are very elite yet you have recently allowed people into them who have only 1-2 years of training & no formal rank or position in any of the branch schools. Why? What changed that allowed for the lowering of the standards?
3) You claim your old school had 900 students at one point. Where are all these students now? Why don't we see more of them training on a remote broadcast?
4) You claim your organization has international chapters, branches and schools. Why have we never cross-trained with them via video technology? Why don't the students from your school in Japan train with us and why don't we see any other satellite schools in England, Australia, China or Canada? If one of your members was taking a trip to Japan and wanted to train at your school there, could you give them the address, phone number and email address of the man in charge?
5) You claim to have written a book that sold 1.5 million copies. Why haven't you shown it to us? Why haven't you given us the information required to look it up (like an ISBN) so we can have a copy for our personal library?
6) Your website claims you were "presented with commendation from a member of the Japanese Imperial family at a Toyamaryu grand meeting". Why have we not seen any proof of this and why can we not find any media validating this claim? Surely such a big deal as this would have been covered by Japanese media as well as American media with you being American.
7) Why do the martial arts schools you gain leadership of always seem to lose all their students? Why was my home school in Ohio reduced from needing 4 hours a night, 4 nights a week to accommodate all the students, to now having only 2 regular trainees who train in an apartment? If your training is so great and your information so "potent" why did the Ohio school lose all its students?
8) You claim the perfect class scripts and sequences already exist for all grade levels of any practitioner. Why have your "Jokyo" not been given them yet even though that's what they were promised? Do they need to wait for Renshi before they receive them and if so, when did Jokyo become not enough?
9) You claim no one is a real "Sensei" unless they have been through your instructor training programs. What validation do you have to prove this claim? What proof do you have this is true other than you words?
10) Why is there basically ZERO information about you online except what you have put out through your own website? You claim to have been doing non-stop training and teaching for 50 years yet your students have more Google hits than you. Why is this?
11) You claim that one of the main reasons you won't find many internet results when we search you or the cult is because it has been scrubbed and moved to the deep web. Fellow expats have done the digging on the deep web and it isn't there either. Can you please provide us with the deep web links that prove your claims are true?
12) Why have you still not set up a Paypal account for out of state members to pay with a credit or debit card? Why must they still pay in cash or mail you a check?
13) You claim that much (if not most) of our instructor training program tuition fees and licensure fees go to Japan and not to you personally. However, due to the fact that all members must pay with cash or a check, I find this doubtful at best. Can you offer documented proof that our tuition and licensure fees do in fact go to Japan?
14) Why will you not call a public meeting and/or video broadcast to settle these questions? If you are as legit as you claim you are, you would have no problem proving me to be a liar and solidifying the loyalty of your followers forever. If you can prove I am a liar, you could also prove that the dozens of expats who left you are also liars. Why can’t we all jump on one, big video broadcast and settle this debate?
15) Why are so many great students and members from the past just gone and never return? Why are people like me who paid for Jokyo and spent 2.5 years in the program no longer members? If you and the information were so amazing, why would all these people leave?
That is plenty for now. In part 4 I will share how I have been healing and why I have hope for the future after leaving the cult. I encourage anyone who wants to know who this cult and its leader are to email me at info@AlexLanshe.com.
In last week's blog, I listed some of the true inner workings of the cult that I escaped from. After doing more research into this area, I am shocked to find even more tactics and tricks the cult leader used that I was unaware of. More could be written on the inner workings of this cult and its leader but that is not the subject of today's blog. Today, I want to share the brutal truth of how and why I finally left the cult after 12 years.
It all started about 3 years ago. After having been faithfully training and being a member of the cult for about 9 years, my intuition and gut started to send me signals that something was off. At first I couldn't really articulate anything specific, I just knew something didn't feel right.
I brushed aside my gut feelings and moved on. I was feeling good again for a while until the gut feelings resurfaced again, this time more powerfully and with more specificity. I got the subtle feeling of suspicion that the leader was hiding something from me and all the members. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but my gut knew that the leader was concealing something. However, due to the power of the brainwashing I had submitted to and my own selfish desire for the "hidden, secret knowledge" that the cult leader continued to promise, I rationalized away my feelings again and pressed forward.
At this time, I freely admit that I had sufficient information to warrant investigating the cult but I didn't want to. My gut was telling me something was off but I chose to ignore it or sweep it away because I wanted what I wanted. Selfishness blinded me and pride caused to me to dig in and ignore my conscience. Bad decision - a mistake I will be far less likely to ignore in the future.
Finally, after about a 6 month period since my last gut feeling, they resurfaced again. I was very emotionally distressed at this point because I knew if I swept these feelings under the rug again without investigating them, I would regret it. I remember crying one night as I was praying and thinking about all this because I knew what needed to be done but I didn't want to do it. I knew in my heart by this point that the cult leader was lying to me and the members, I just didn’t know the specifics. How did I know? I just knew in my heart. I’m sure you can relate. I then hit upon the discovery that gave me the final push to investigate the truth for myself and finally fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle.
We had recently finished a major training program with the cult leader. It was supposed to be very special, elite, and was supposed to finally give us access to very specialized knowledge and resources. This training program cost me $5,000.00 and 2.5 years of time. I sacrificed an immense amount of personal time, time with God, time working on my own business, family time, etc. to be able to complete this program - all with the promise of secret knowledge that would help me teach people how to stay safe from violence. Well, that knowledge was never revealed nor given to me or any of the other 19 people who finished the program with me. This caused major red flags - why were we not given what was promised?
To compound that, 2 female members who had just completed this program with me (with the same time and financial commitment) had suddenly vanished from the organization. They were just gone. No announcement, no well-wishes to send them off on their new life path, nothing. They simply vanished. I wanted to know the answer to one question, why? Why would these two highly intelligent and dedicated women spend all that time and money and then sever all ties with the cult? It didn't make any sense to me.
While I was racking my brain to figure out why I began to remember many other people who had done exactly what these two women had done - finished one of the "elite" programs of knowledge and then suddenly disappeared altogether never to be mentioned again. At this point, I knew something was very wrong so I did what cult members are not supposed to do - reach out and talk to non-members and get their side of the story.
I had a moderately good idea of what kind of information I would find but I never imagined it was as bad as it was. I talked to all kinds of people from the past who had been in the cult and gotten out and I found they were relieved to hear I had taken the red pill. I received more graciousness and help from the "bad outsiders" than I ever received in 12 years from the cult leader.
I continued having discussions and digging into the stories from people of the past who had gotten out and I found that their stories all matched. I think it is best to contrast this with an example:
An ex-girlfriend of mine is now a member of the cult. I introduced her to the cult when we were dating. We haven't spoken in over a year and half. She recently (within the last 6 months) dropped out of a program that the cult leader was conducting and in the time since then I have been told or seen in writing 4 different stories as to why she left the program. To this day, I am ignorant of the whole truth in this matter and so are (I would imagine) nearly all the other members of the cult.
I use that example to illustrate the following point: There are 4 different stories going around (perhaps more for all I know) as to why this member quit a certain program. Different members within the cult believe 1 of the 4 versions. Nobody is on the same page and it is likely that few members know the true reason. Why all the deception? Why all the secrecy? Are all the members even aware that there are multiple stories going around? If this one, simple story has 4 different versions, how many different versions of a story exist when real consequences are on the line? How many stories will the cult leader tell when he really needs to protect his image? Who knows…
All the people from the past I spoke with had their stories matching - some of which didn't know that I would be contacting them nor did I tell them what questions I would be asking ahead of time. I spoke with people the cult leader hurt quite badly and continue to speak with members within the organization. Many have expressed their concerns and doubts to me about the cult leader, his legitimacy, and what red flags they have personally experienced which has caused them to doubt and question things. I am very proud of these people - it takes tremendous courage to follow your intuition and seek the truth - especially when you've been "programmed" not to do so. To them I say "keep searching". Ironically, listen to what the cult leader has said and "question everything", "keep diving deeper" and "Defend the paths of truth"!
Now we come to the big question, why did I leave? Simply stated, I left because it was the right thing to do. Imagine that you are an employee at a company and you have an owner who runs the company. Imagine you become aware that this business owner is committing fraud and ripping off you, your fellow employees and customers. Imagine you became aware that this business owner has made sexual advances against female employees (your co-workers) some of whom were even married. Imagine you become aware that this business owner is in full knowledge of what he is doing but continues to do so without remorse. Imagine that you were taken through a Management Training Program and promised that this would make you a legitimate manager with full access to all the resources required to be a good manager - you pay thousands of dollars for this training, spend 2.5 years going through it, and at the end, you are not given what was promised.
In light of all this, I ask you, would you remain an employee of that company? Would you continue to tolerate such lies and perversion from the owner?
On top of that, what is your higher moral duty here? If you left this company for the reasons stated but you saw someone else joining the company and you said nothing to them about why you left, could you sleep well at night? "I saved myself but that person, that neophyte who doesn't know any better, eh, they're not my problem." I do not feel called to such a shallow moral character. I was taught to "love thy neighbor" and that warriors look out for fellow warriors on the battleground.
If you were a Marine and you knew where the land mines in a battleground were but you failed to warn your fellow Marines, could you live with yourself if one of those Marines stepped on a mine and died? If your sin of omission was responsible for the death or maiming of a brother or sister soldier, could you bear the weight of that guilt and shame? I cannot - hence these blogs and hence my private conversations with many members still in the cult and those who have since left the cult.
Let me be clear, I am not saying I will force my will upon anyone - I have no desire to do this. All I can do is share the truth and at least give current members and potential new ones the ability to make an informed choice. If all that I said to you about being taken advantage of, having female employees sexually exploited, wanting to deal with a narcissist who knows what he is doing but couldn't care less - if all that sounds appealing to you then by all means, exercise your freedom of association and go for it. If however, you have even a shred of moral courage and virtue and all that doesn't sound appealing, then by all means, use your freedom of association and leave this cult.
As an interesting aside, I have spoken with many people about leaving the cult, current members (some who have been in longer than me) and those who left a long time ago. Out of all the people I have spoken with, not a single person has attempted to defend the character of the leader. I have gotten some flak from long-time members but not a single one has said, "Alex, all those things you are saying about the leader's character, I know them to be false and incorrect." Even the members who have been in for over 20 years who know the leader best (better than I) have not said such things - because they can't. They know the leader is corrupt & that he treats people like shit but they stay for whatever reason seems right to them - they enjoy the information and specialized knowledge they receive (not realizing the leader is just a copy-cat and they could easily get the information on their own) or because they have spent too many years promoting and elevating this leader so that if they reneged now, they couldn't bear the social consequences. Or any number of other reasons that I cannot fathom.
The real truth if you are one of these members is that you are losing your social standing and credibility by staying in. The longer you stay, the more you support a known fraud, liar and narcissist. You are not saving face by staying, you are losing. I was involved for 12 years and the "expats" who escaped have given me more love and graciousness than the cult leader ever did. They understand, and I understand. We all went through the same thing.
To those who have admitted to having bad feelings about the cult but want to stay to "finish a program" or to "get the good information" I have one question for you, is this information more valuable to you than your integrity?
Go back to my employee example: Would you respect an employee who says "Yeah, I know the boss is a fraud, lies constantly, rips people off, tries to have sex with married women in the company, heck, I even know the boss will lie to me if it is expedient for him, but I just want to stay to finish this program and to keep getting the content because the content the leader teaches is so good." Really? That's your justification to sell your soul? Your reputation, your credibility, your image, the trust you've worked so hard to build with your family, spouse, children, co-workers, siblings, etc. is worth throwing away for some "good content"?
In my opinion, this is a pitiful excuse because the cult leader doesn't have a monopoly on this content. If you bothered to search Google or YouTube you could find the content. There is nothing new under the sun, no man has a monopoly on truth, so why you would choose to associate with such a prolific liar in light of this information is beyond my comprehension. If this is you, I love you and care for you and want to see you do well, but I do not respect your decision to stay in the cult. We have preached "Defend the paths of truth" and "Strive for the perfection of character" for over a decade - it is time to actually live up to these axioms and do the work.
This is why I left. This is why I cannot support anyone who stays in the cult. Knowledge is power and knowledge brings with it responsibility. I avoided seeking the truth for nearly 3 years on this issue because I knew once I investigated, my behavior would need to change accordingly. It has been hard but it has also been easy. I've received overwhelmingly more support than criticism or backlash. Even people who have no idea what cult I am referring to are emailing me saying, "Hey I faced a similar situation in the past and it sucks. I'm with you." I've gotten emails, texts, & phone calls all saying that they can relate and appreciate what I am doing. I've even been thanked by many members within the cult itself telling me that these blogs have been very helpful and that they are glad I have written them.
What should you take away from this if you cannot relate to leaving a cult? A few things:
1. Truth should be its own reward.
2. No amount of information or knowledge is worth more than your character, integrity and virtue.
3. If your conscience is telling you something is wrong persistently, something is wrong. Have the courage to listen to your conscience and investigate. Your conscience lives to protect you.
If you are a member of this cult or an "expat" who wants to share your experience with me, I would love to hear from you. Email me at info@AlexLanshe.com. I have nothing to hide and have told anyone who takes the time to call me all that I know.
Be vigilant my fellow warrior and remember, truth is its own reward!
“Scientology always has been a game of power and control. L. Ron Hubbard was the ultimate con man, and it's hard to figure out how much of Scientology was an experiment in brainwashing and controlling people, and how much of it was truly intended to help people.” ― Jenna Miscavige Hill, Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
I never thought I would live to see the day when I could actually relate from personal experience to Jenna's words. Jenna is a young woman who grew up in Scientology and went on to escape from the "church" at the age of 21. You can find more about her by going here: Jenna Miscavige.
As a warrior, I thought I was immune to joining cults or following cults. Surely I would have recognized a cult leader when I saw one. Boy was I naive. Turns out, cult leaders don't come with big stamps on their forehead that say "CULT LEADER - AVOID". I was taken in for 12 years! Wow. 12 years? Yes. 12 years.
Having personally experienced being in a cult and successfully extracting myself from one, I wanted to expose and reveal how things really were in the cult. Next week in part 2, I will talk more about how I personally came to know the truth and removed myself from the cult.
While I was inside the cult, many tactics were used to keep me there. These tactics were so successful, I stayed for 12 years as I already mentioned. What were some of these tactics? Let's explore and reveal them now:
I could go on for pages more but this is sufficient for now. Why am I sharing this with you? Because myself and others who were and still are in this cult have been hurt. Some have made tremendous personal sacrifice of time, money and even dignity to join, remain and endear themselves to the cult leader. I am sharing this with you to implore you not to be naïve as I was. Here are two major points I want you to take away from this:
I’ll leave you with this analogy: You cannot speak of the ocean to a well-frog. The frog can only imagine the well because it is all he knows. He has never seen the ocean or even a lake or pond. Ironically, the cult leader I just left would tell us that EVERYONE WHO WASN’T IN OUR CULT was like the well-frog when the truth is the exact opposite.
If you only follow one man, one “source”, one “lineage” or one “system” you have made yourself a well-frog. You have cut yourself off from the rest of the world – you can no longer gain wisdom, knowledge, virtue, morals, or life experience from anywhere else because the cult leader has gotten you to voluntarily cut yourself off from everything and everyone else (forced compliance).
Since leaving the cult, I am now free. Free to explore the vast ocean with no cult leader telling me where to look, how to look, or why to look. I have true freedom of association & can correctly prioritize my faith, my family, my business and my personal growth again. It is amazing and if you are someone who can relate to everything I just said, I invite you to join me in experiencing freedom. Because the truth is this:
If you leave the cult, you don’t sever yourself from the “source” and “all legitimacy” and you won’t be alone. There is a vast community of people who have “left the plantation” and who are ready to reunite with you once you take the red pill. But remember, Morpheus only offered the red pill to Neo; he didn’t force it down his throat. I will be as Morpheus, I am offering you the red pill or the blue pill. The red pill gives you the truth and freedom the blue bill keeps you a slave to the cult. You decide.
This is Part 1 of the Cult blogs. Next week I shall discuss how I red-pilled myself and how I actually left the cult.
If you haven't read last week's blog, it may help you gain a deeper understanding of today's post. Go here to read last week's blog: CLICK HERE.
Two weeks ago, I shared a personal story of how I lost a mentor. I received tremendous feedback from several people and I want to thank you for your support (you know who you are).
Today, my emotions have shifted a bit from several weeks ago. Whereas last week I was feeling some anger at having been lied to, today, I feel no anger. The reason I feel no anger is because this person isn't important enough to deserve anger. I still feel pity for this person and I am not sure that will ever go away. I just can't help thinking about how great a life this person could have had if they had bothered to be honest and caring.
If you have gone through a similar situation with a mentor and you still feel angry, I just want to ask you a simple question: Why do you still feel that way?
Holding a grudge is a way you let the bad person win. You may have banished them from your life but if you are still angry (holding a grudge) they are actually winning. Author and violence expert, Rory Miller once told me that "The measure of any man is self-control." If you cannot control your mind and thoughts enough to stop holding a grudge, you are the one that is at fault. Let it go.
I prayed and realized this for myself in my situation - initially, I felt some anger as is natural to feel. But once I became aware of it, if I continued to feel that way, it was my choice. I decided to not spend too long in that emotional zone. Anger clouds judgement and clouded judgement leads to poor decisions which lead to hazardous outcomes in your life. The fallen mentor is not worth making bad decisions over. Let go and move on.
One thing I am shocked by is the overall lack of curiosity from other people who continue to associate with this former mentor. Some people have asked why I am no longer associated but few have. Of those who have, few have actually gotten into real conversations with me. While I am surprised at them I am not angry or bitter towards them. For I once was in their position. I sympathize with the tough decision they have to make.
One feeling or emotion that I cannot describe how good it feels is FREEDOM. The psychological and spiritual burden that has been lifted from me has felt amazing. My soul is lighter, more peaceful, and calmer. I have decreased anxiety, and improved my options for the future. That is rewarding and fulfilling.
If you have lost a mentor but are still holding on emotionally and mentally, let go. That is where true freedom lies. It is perfectly possible to be a free man in the world but a slave in your soul. Freedom of soul and mind is the true freedom.
Viktor Frankl was a POW in Nazi Germany and wrote an excellent book, "Man's Search for Meaning." He talked about how the Nazi's could never take away his ability to choose his attitude and how he chose to feel about something. Despite being a prisoner, he was free. Though my situation is nowhere close to the hardships that Frankl suffered, it is similar in the sense that I control my attitude and how I choose to feel about what happened. I choose freedom.
Lastly, I want to emphasize one more emotion that I am experiencing. I have prayed and continue to pray to be able to forgive my former mentor. I interviewed Capt. Charlie Plumb recently (a Vietnam POW for 6 years) and he told me that he had to forgive his torturers or else his hate would have destroyed him. Wow. What a powerful lesson. I forgive my former mentor. That doesn't mean I will associate with him ever again, but I do forgive him. Just as I doubt Capt. Plumb would voluntarily put himself back in a POW camp, but he did forgive his captors. I have chosen to do the same. Why? Because God demands it. Because my well-being is predicated on letting go and forgiving. Because the former mentor is not important enough to my life to hold a grudge against. It feels amazing to be free.
If you are holding a grudge against anyone, do yourself a favor, and forgive them. Only through forgiveness are you set free. Only through forgiveness do you really have the power to move on.
Lastly, forgive yourself too. For a while, I blamed myself for being fooled. "How could you have not seen it?" I said to myself. What a lesson in humility that was - it was that easy to fool me. Talk about smacking your pride down a few notches. But you must forgive yourself too, not just others.
Forgive and let go my fellow warrior - that is the true path of peace which all warriors strive to live by.
What do you do when a mentor you've known for over a decade is revealed to be a liar? How do you process that you have been systematically lied to for over 10 years? What do you do when someone you respected and admired has such a tremendous fall from grace that you must completely sever all connection to them?
A good name is seldom regained. When character is gone, all is gone, and one of the richest jewels of life is lost forever. - Joel Hawes
If I told you this was an easy thing to go through, I would be lying. It is rather unnerving when someone you respected and admired falls so far. Worse still, this former mentor has no remorse and continues to lie to others. They are not interested in healing and making things right - they care only for themselves.
When you have a mentor for over a decade and they are shown to be liars and frauds, you feel a whole host of emotions. Shock that you were lied to for so long and didn't realize it. Anger that this person took advantage of you and your belief in them. But the greatest emotion I have felt towards this former mentor is pity. Pity because they have chosen to live a sad, lonely life of lies, cheating and deception. They were smart enough to have chosen to live with honor and integrity but instead, they chose lies & deceit.
Pity because all their talk about being a strong, virtuous man of honor and integrity is a complete sham. Sadness because you realize the man you once thought was courageous is actually a coward. This former mentor is so hostile towards the truth that there is no persuading or reasoning with them to abandon their deception and come clean.
Have you ever lost a mentor? Was there someone you once admired and respected greatly but you discovered later that they were not deserving of such affections? How did you handle it? How did you feel once you discovered the truth?
I have chosen to handle my situation with silence and resignation. Resigned to the fact that others who admire this man will falsely accuse me of being a coward or an ingrate. Resigned to the fact that others will not understand because they don't want to know the truth either.
My petition to you today my dear warrior is this: no matter how hard a task is, be of the truth. Take a stand for what is right, regardless of personal cost. Lies and deception are only ever short-term benefactors which exact a cruel and punishing tax later on.
This former mentor is reaping what he has sown - the inability to form close human relationships (because if anyone gets too close, they'll see the web of lies and he'll be exposed), the taxing mental exhaustion of always having to remember who you told what lie to in order to hold the mythology together (I cannot fathom the mental exhaustion that requires), the subtle, perhaps even sub-conscious, gnawing feeling and knowing that the people who follow you only follow you for your perceived utility to them, not because they genuinely care for you as a person.
Simon Sinek once said, "There are leaders and there are those who lead. And they are not the same thing." This mentor was a leader but he is not someone who leads. He has the titles, and position of authority, but he does not lead. Real leaders have followers who would lay their life down for them. When an outsider asks a follower of someone who leads, "Why do you sacrifice and toil at personal loss for this person?" The follower says calmly and with conviction, "Because he'd do the same for me." This former mentor would not “do the same for me.” He cares only for himself.
I say to you my fellow warrior to be strong in your conviction and to defend the truth. In the short term, you will be hard pressed to see the benefit due to the lies and indignation of those around you. But over time, you will realize that the truth is a firm foundation that gives you stability. Lies can only ever off the illusion of stability. In truth, you must work fervently, day and night, to maintain the fabric of the lies lest your deception be discovered.
"A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies shall not escape." - Proverbs 19:5
In the long run, there is no way to avoid paying the debt of your lies. Be strong now, and speak the truth. Do not be as my former mentor who lives in misery due his lies. By misery I mean internal, spiritual and mental misery. Oh no doubt he will give the outward appearance of being "never better" but inwardly, what chaos.
I have one more word of advice which I have now earned and learned the hard way. Listen to me very carefully and what I am about to write. Take it to heart now so you do not have to experience what I have:
Place your trust first in the truth of a man's words & actions; not in a personality, charm, or charisma. The latter things can be faked and manufactured, but a character built on a foundation of truth cannot be faked. My pitfall, and what allowed me to be deceived for over 10 years, was because I looked to the man's personality, his command presence and his charisma instead of to the truth of his words and deeds.
Hear me! NO MAN HAS A MONOPOLY ON TRUTH! Follow truth instead of a man. The Truth is eternal and unchanging, stable and reliable. A man is fickle, deceitful, & oftentimes full of wickedness.
This is my prayer for you dear warrior. Place truth above all else. "...And the truth will set you free." - John 8:32
Welcome to the Anatomy of a Warrior Show!
National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.