Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pictures and Notes from the Web + Analysis

Jeff Prather claims to be Special Forces and definitely gave the impression to everyone that he was a Special Forces Soldier. I guess he was exaggerating the truth a little. Well check out what a supposed friend says about him.

The Reaper
Quiet Professional
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Free Pineland
Posts: 13,193

Jeff Prather is a friend of mine, but he served WITH SF, he is not an SF soldier himself.


I would say that is a big difference. I always assumed he was the real deal. I read his bio which I will post some time later and from all that information I got a very clear picture that he was portraying himself as an SF soldier. WRONG! Now that I think back to my experience in Warriorschool, Warriorship and Jeff Prather's Yamaneko Dojo I remember his bio said that: "Documentation is available upon request". I had no real need to request documentation, I didn't suspect him of being a shady character. I always saw him in a professional, calm, cool and collected manner. It took me a few years before I saw him loose his cool. I had no reason to be suspicious of him or the organization, since he came highly recommended by close personal friends of mine. Looking back on organizations like this I find that if you are afraid to ask questions, be skeptical, request documentation, because you fear being labeled as a disloyal trouble maker you have the beginnings of a cult. I remember there was always this constant sense of wanting to appear loyal, trustworthy, reliable, committed, faithful and so on. Sure it builds comradery, unity and deep relationships, but the danger is that critical thinking can fly out of the window. No offense to military people, but I guess that is what the military is like, you need people to obey, get a job done and not cause problems. Warriorschool was founded on military principals so it is not surprising that the organization brought about a powerful form of blind trust and obedience. It is alluring in its own right, but I was unaware of the hypnotic group think and brainwashing these mob dynamics would have on me. Human beings are just susceptible to irrational, emotional and illogical environments.

Here is another excerpt from their site that kind of shows the structure of the organization. Warriorschool is set up to transfer a large amount of life changing knowledge onto people, and for that I don't fault them. Most of the people in the organization really just want to give and help others. I can't really fault the organization so much as I can fault the leadership and ignorant human behavior.

Guidelines to Help in Your Apprenticeship

The following are ideas to help you in your apprenticeship. Please note though, these are GUIDELINES and should not be taken for facts or rules. Each and every apprentice has his own type of apprenticeship program that has been specifically individualized. Yes, we all have to complete several of the same things, but there will also be many things (yes, many) that you will have to accomplish that other apprentices will not. And there will be specific things that other apprentices will have to do that you won't. Every human being is unique, and so is every apprenticeship. The bottom line here: Check with your benefactor. He or she is the one leading you on your path, so be sure to clear everything first.

1. Remember: You asked for it. After a year or more of training, you've completed your Quest/Vigil or Change and are now an Initiate. You found a go-between. Received permission to ask. Obtained the proper gift. Went through the Gifting Ceremony. Your benefactor said, "Yes," and tied a piece of leather or deerhide on your wrist. And probably along the way, your go-between tried to talk you out of apprenticing, and it was probably a real pain-in-the-backside obtaining and preparing the gift, and your future benefactor probably threw up some more obstacles just to see if you truly wanted to do this (one benefactor made his apprentice wait five months and then made him move close to him before he would take him, just to see if he was truly serious about apprenticing). Your benefactor will have you do many things, and will place many restrictions on you. Especially in the beginning. You will not understand why most of these things are being asked of you. That's okay. You are trusting your benefactor to lead you down the right path. This is why you picked this benefactor to apprentice under in the first place. So get going and trust them already. Understanding will follow. One other thing-there should be ZERO complaints from you about what your benefactor is asking of you. Why? Because you asked for it. If you don't like what is being asked of you, you can always quit. No one is forcing you to be an apprentice. You can leave at any time. Of course, that is not to say you can't call or question your benefactor on something or anything (see #8, below), but no whining or complaining will be tolerated. Remember. You asked for it.

2. No More, No Less. Do exactly what your benefactor tells you. No more, no less. This is the safest way to complete your tasks. Why? Doing less will get you nailed every time, and will usually entail you doing about three times the work in make-up. Doing more can be an iffy prospect. Either your benefactor will really be pleased at your accomplishments ("My! You've gone so far!") or will yank you back hard ("Get back here!") because your benefactor doesn't want you going where you're headed or doesn't think you're ready to go there yet. Sometimes the benefactor will ask you why you did not go farther with some particular task, but you can then answer, "You told me to do this much." Your benefactor can't fault you for doing what you were told. And sometimes you will just know you can go farther and it will be okay. But a good rule of thumb: no more, no less. Following this guideline will save you a lot of grief. Note: the exception to this is the impeccability cycle. At this point, all bets are off. And when you are on that cycle, or when you have finished it, you will know why.

3. Anticipate Your Benefactor. Your benefactor is giving you something you will never, ever be able to repay in kind. But that does not mean you shouldn't try. One way to do this is anticipating your benefactor's needs. For example, your benefactor is working on something and needs a pair of scissors. When he turns around and asks, "Do you have a pair of...," you should at that point be handing your benefactor a pair of scissors. Anticipate him. Part of your job is to make your benefactor's life easier. He is taking precious time away from family and private life in order to benefactor you. Make life easier on your benefactor and it's a guarantee your apprenticeship will be easier on you.

4. Chores and Working. As stated in #3, part of your job is to make life easier for your benefactor. Another way to do this is by working and doing chores around his house. If you live in town or close to your benefactor, you should be over once a week to do chores. If you live out of town, whenever you visit you should be working hard every day that you are there. The more you do, the less your benefactor has to do, and that can equate into more face time (see #5). Note: when you figure out who works harder, you or your benefactor, make sure you go and mow their lawn again in appreciation.

5. Face Time. Nothing can beat personal face time with your benefactor. Doing a long-distance apprenticeship can be very hard. If you live far from your benefactor, you should take every chance you get to travel to where he is (or fly him to you). Fact: you will learn the most when you are one-on-one with your benefactor. So it should be a priority to spend as much face time as you can with your benefactor. Here's another hint: one of the big reasons you should be doing chores around your benefactor's house is that every minute your benefactor spends less on doing chores can mean one more minute of face time. This does not always happen, but it is usually how things come out in the wash.

6. Mouth Shut, Back-side Down, Eyes and Ears Open. It is pretty much a guarantee, if you think you know what is going on and go blurting out answers unasked for, you will be thumped for it. (Thumping is getting grief from your benefactor because of some silly mistake you just made. You will be thumped many times during apprenticeship, so just get used to the unpleasantness. There is not much you can do about it. Beyond thumping is Attitude Adjustment, a.k.a. Course Correction, and that is something you don't EVER want to experience.) The best way for you to learn is to listen and to have patience. Much of how we learn in Warriorship is based on Nantancha'an's N'dee heritage and Native American ways of teaching. Indians would never explain anything to their children. Instead, they would show them how to do it. The children would ask few, if any, questions, and would imitate or join in with their teachers. They learned by doing, not by talking. Listening does not mean just the ears; you can listen with the eyes and the heart as well. An old Indian saying sums it up best: "The tongue is what makes you deaf." Along with this is cultivating patience. All things come in their own time, and a good example of why you should practice patience can be found in #7.

7. Questions and Koans. You will be asked many questions and koans during your apprenticeship. You don't have to answer all the questions but you must answer the koans. Now something that might be a question for you could be a koan for another and vice versa. So a good rule of thumb is to only discuss koans and answers to koans with your benefactor. Any bracelet can ask questions. Do your best in answering them. There is no penalty for answering incorrectly. The bracelet that is asking is only trying to help you learn. Here is some advice on answering koans: a good strategy is to be patient and wait for your benefactor to ask you for the answer. It's very good odds that when you think you have an answer and go running to your benefactor, the answer will more than likely be wrong. Waiting for your benefactor to come to you can bring the best results. From usually out of nowhere. For example, once a benefactor asked an apprentice a koan and a whole month went by and neither one talked about it. At the end of the month the benefactor came up to the apprentice and asked him suddenly, "What's the answer?" The apprentice, out of nowhere, gave the correct answer, and he, before that point, had not yet figured it out. Koans will sort themselves out, as well as other things. All of your learning will go much faster if you cultivate patience. Being impatient and pushing for answers instead of letting them flow will just cause things to take longer. Exception: if you are a long-distance apprentice and see or speak to your benefactor infrequently, feel free to give them what answers you have. It's hard to wait for your benefactor to ask when you only speak once a month or so.

8. Call Your Benefactor on Anything. If something is going on, or your benefactor asks you to do something that causes your hackles to go up, feel free to call him on it. You will not hurt his feelings (and if you do it's the benefactor's problem, not yours). You must not be afraid to do this. Especially if your think something is truly wrong. Most times your benefactor will say, "Trust me," and you should (if you don't know why, re-read #1). But if your benefactor still cannot explain to your satisfaction, contact some other bracelets, preferably your benefactor's benefactor, or Nantan Geyer, or Nantancha'an himself. Be warned of crying wolf, however. You had best be sure of yourself before pushing the panic button and calling in other people. But the panic button is there, you should know about it, and if you are sure of your feelings you should have no fear of pushing it. Warriorship is an anti-cult. Trust your feelings. Have no fear about questioning anyone about anything at anytime.

9. Bracelets and Senior Apprentices. One of the best ways to learn can be talking with and watching other bracelets and senior apprentices. Don't be afraid to do this. You can learn so much by listening to the conversations going on around the fire. Bracelets and senior apprentices can offer a lot of sound advice, and sometimes it's really good to just talk with someone who is not your benefactor. Listen closely but take what you hear with a grain of salt: do not ACT on anything you hear or see without clearing it first with your benefactor. If you need to know why, see the beginning, #1 and #2. Any info you pick up, simply file away for further brainstorming. Everything falls into place eventually.


So there are a few things that would immediately stick out to a lay person as suspicious. For instance they mention doing no more and no less than what you are asked. Well they have a goal and a mission, so there will be a lot to do, that is understood. But then they mention getting 'thumped' aka a major course correction and that this process is very uncomfortable. That could sound threatening, intimidating and fear inspiring, which it probably is. To an outsider has no reason to trust a 10+ degree black belt, accomplished Military Man and Mystic/Zen/Guru. But for those of us who were in the organization, we highly valued his knowledge and insight. Only an outsider would think that thumping, or a major uncomfortable course correction is an unreasonable thing to submit yourself to. But if you trusted Jeff Prather's teachings in any way, that kind of treatment didn't seem to be unreasonable at all. Just being in the dojo itself and training absent of the spiritual stuff you were at least unconsciously submitting yourself to strong rebuke. If you did a technique in a way that was painful or harmful to others, then the higher ranks would have a serious conversation with you and set you straight, or if you were unrepentant you would just be asked to leave. We really can't fault people for getting sucked into this whole thing, especially when they did Budo Taijutsu first. The whole nature of the martial art primes you to be ready for an intense and authoritative life style. Personally there isn't anything necessarily wrong with that, but you do need to be aware of vulnerabilities to exploitation and the possible corruption of you leaders. I hope that his blog will provide a forum for people to explore those things.

As for the gift that needs to be bought for your benefactor, I don't think that is of any major importance at least financially speaking. It is a sign of gratitude, the fact that it cost you $50 or $200 is not very relevant, well it wasn't to me at least.

The other thing they mention is no complaining and do what you are asked, no matter what and just trust the benefactor. In and of itself there is no problem with this either, because you are asking them to teach you things that most people will never know. Ignore the spiritual stuff for a second and just consider the military principles and training they teach you. In that case it is important to have this mind set to develop an environment of discipline and safety. We were training with weapons and doing all sorts of things where people could get seriously injured. Now once they start convincing the women to submit to 'sexual healings' you have what is considered an abuse of power. If Jeff Prather didn't turn out to be such a bad guy, and the spiritual stuff turn out to be so wrong and the martial art turn out to be 80% ineffective all of this would be a real cool thing. I guess it was worth it to learn the 20%, because I haven't seen it taught anywhere else, but the other 80% just made it too dangerous.

As for the chores and working, I don't see that as a major red flag or anything either. The goal is to learn and to get to know your benefactor. Most people will never want a relationship like that with an authority figure and most will never have that, but that doesn't make it wrong or bad. It is just powerful and can be exploited. I can imagine people would say this is a mark of a cult to 'give gifts', 'work for someone else', 'do what they say without knowing why' so on and so forth, but I would say it is just the mark of a powerful organization. What matters is what is done with that power. As for me I never felt like people were being exploited in this fashion necessarily, but it created a psychology that led to absolute influence, persuasion and guidance.

The whole concept of anticipating people is a nice thing to develop, but once again it plays into the psychology of control. People spend all their time anticipating, doing things with trust and trying to maintain the status of a 'loyal student' that they don't have time to think critically. As the irrational and illogical experiences become more and more emotionally (spiritually) powerful the students can get convinced of an entire "reality" that is the completely opposite to the way an everyday person would perceive it. In the end cults always end up with these directives: 'give me your money, your women, your children and get ready to die for my apocalyptic insight or predictions'.

As for the 'no complaining' and 'shut up, sit down and listen' just has to do with the intensity of the goal that is to be reached. No one wants to go to a class and listen to some random schmuck interrupting the teacher with his opinions or complaints while the teacher is explaining profound truths and esoteric knowledge. So this principal allowed the teacher to teach. People traveled from all over the world to learn from these black belts and bracelets and no one wanted their time wasted, so I can understand the desire for discipline and respect.

Now the Koans and Questions were probably the most powerful element of the cult building that I encountered personally. Koans if you don't know are essentially riddles that the benefactor would pose to a student. All the Koans I had been given had the purpose of bringing me into the moment and quiting my mind from distractions and emotions. I found them extremely helpful and profound.

Examples of simple Koans:
What is the sound of one handed clapping?
What time is it?
Look at the tree. One man says the leaves are moving, the other man says the wind is moving the leaves. What is moving?

I could write volumes about Koans, because it is just so clever. To most people it would seem ridiculous to consider a question for weeks and months on end, but that is the point, people who join Warriorschool don't want to be regular people and live standard lives, they want to live profound and exceptional lives and that takes effort. It also requires that you go places and do things the average person won't do. One of them is deep and prolonged introspection and self analysis through quiet meditation also known as Zazen. In order to do substantial character development and develop virtues you have to eliminate distractions and get to know yourself in an undefiled fashion. These are all legitimate goals that are accelerated with the help of your benefactor. There is nothing wrong with that.

So what are the answers to the Koans. For the 'sound of one handed clapping' the answer is 'silence'. As you think about an individual hand, you know it can't clap in the sense we are all familiar with. As you keep thinking about it, eventually the sound of silence overpowers you and aha you get it. That is one example.

What time is it? It is now.

What is moving? (Forget the leaves) Your Mind is moving.

More analysis to come:

But there are some very sinister elements to the Koans.

The major problem with the Koans is that they allow your benefactor to watch you as you think and to hear your innermost thought processes. The questions he gives you are designed to penetrate into the depths of your identity and reasoning process. They are designed to open your consciousness and awareness, to take you to that place of your essence, from where you make decisions. Most of us have been neglected, abused, mistreated or hypnotized into ignoring ourselves and it is exhilarating to find that part of you, let it out and watch it come alive. The benefactor facilitates this and it is a profound and rewarding experience. Once that has set in the benefactor has two things he does that seriously work to your detriment. One is that he will lead you to realize things he is convinced of that often are utterly wrong, because he was deceived himself. The second thing that happens is that your benefactor now knows he owns you, because you walk away from him and think about his questions for hours on end and weeks at a time. This way he is having influence over your whole life. The fact that he watches you think and hears your inner most thoughts means he can anticipate almost everything you will say and do. Just think about it for a moment, what type of people let you see them think? What kind of person will think about things you say to them for weeks on end? I can only think of 3 kinds of people and I mean no offense by mentioning the groups. I have just found this to be true. The three groups are children, the mentally retarded or learning disabled and then groupies and cult members. I hope to go into this in more detail. This will be difficult to explain in exact terms, but I will attempt it in the future. I am sure you can follow the reasoning process so far.

Why do most people keep their most private thoughts to themselves?

Most people won't let you pose life changing and deep questions to them on the spot. They especially won't start thinking about those kind of questions in front of you and tell you their answers. Why not, because everyone is aware of the fact, that once someone knows exactly what you believe or think, they can always refer back to that moment and try to hold that against you or lead you in a direction you wouldn't necessarily want to go. Once someone encourages you to take a path, that you 'ought to take' you feel obligated to do so. Even amongst friends topics are only discussed, no one submits themselves to a friend the way an apprentice would submit themselves to a benefactor.

Children are incapable of keeping their private thoughts to themselves. Because of their blatant ignorance of the world and their astounding curiosity they will continually come to adults for guidance and answers. When children ask adults questions about the world adults tell them the true facts, lies, half truths, try to make them feel guilty for not knowing or encourage them to figure stuff out for themselves. No matter which path the adult chooses, the adult is very aware that it has the power to shape that child's development and consciousness. Children are naturally trusting and ignorant and they will generally stay within the framework that their guardians set over them. They will test the boundaries of what is allowed and what isn't allowed, but the adults ability to physically restrict and punish them gives adults almost ultimate power to shape that child's psychology. Once that child meets other children, families and/or adults who function in a radically different way, or begins to enter puberty he or she will begin to deconstruct that parent psychology and will attempt to form their own. Most kids don't get too far away from their early child hood upbringing however. Hence the much-quoted Jesuit priest famously said: "Give me a child before the age of seven and I will make him a Roman Catholic for life." Once you share your private thoughts with a benefactor you are relegating yourself to the dangerous and vulnerable level of a child. The fact that a benefactor can restrict your diet and social interactions by extending purification or preventing you from achieving your bracelet, he also maintains the power to 'punish' you, the same way your parents or teachers might have punished you as a young child.

The other group of people who are incapable of obscuring their inner most thoughts are the mentally retarded or seriously learning disabled. They ask for permission for things, that regular adults can do on their own. They are prevented from doing things and saying things that a regular adult can do whenever he chooses and it is almost painful to watch a grown adult surrender to another. These kinds of people are extremely vulnerable, because they can get themselves into trouble due to their own ignorance. They can also easily be taken advantage of by other adults and children. Therefore they need to be guarded. For caretakers and adults dealing with adults with mental retardation it is important to know what they are thinking so that they can be coerced and led in directions the care taker wants to take them. If children become violent they can be spanked or restrained, but when a 200+lb mentally retarded man gets violent people could end up in the hospital. Therefore anyone dealing with the mentally challenged is always looking for those ways to control those that are dependent on them. The fact that the disabled ones tell you exactly what they are thinking and what they want, makes it easy for the care takers to lead them around with carrots on a stick and to help them come to conclusions that are favorable to the caretaker. This is the dynamic that koans and the benefactor/apprentice relationship builds.

As for groupies and cult members it really goes without saying. The competition for the attention and instruction from the leaders is so high that all the minions are trying to one up each other with dependence, loyalty and absolute surrender. Once you mix in the spiritual aspect you have a licence to do everything and anything to your followers. The best way to get the job done is to mine your followers for the source code of their innermost workings and thoughts. Once the leader knows that he can program and groom them exactly how he wants them.

To be continued.

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