Blog Martial Arts

Your Child’s Great Journey to Become a Black Belt

Stage 3 – Resisting the Call

By Marty Callahan

Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, wrote a wonderful book title ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ that details 12 stages of the human experience that relate directly to the transformational process your child experiences in our training programs. It’s a process that changes an ordinary child into an extraordinary person, or to use Campbell’s terminology it’s a process that challenges an ordinary person to answer a call to adventure that will turn him or her into a hero. Campbell defines a hero as someone who willingly gives his or her life to something bigger than them-selves. He explains that a hero is someone who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of their group, tribe, or civilization. He lays out 12 distinct stages in this transformational process: Ordinary World, Call to Adventure, Refusal of the Call, Meeting the Mentor, Crossing the Threshold, Tests, Allies and Enemies, Approach, Ordeal, Reward, Road Back, Resurrection, and Return with the Elixir.

As a parent if you understand this transformational process you will be in a much better position to help your child answer this call and achieve great deeds for his family, or his community, or for his country.

Resisting the Call

It is said that the greatest of all fears is the fear of the unknown. Your child may feel this fear. He or she may like the idea of karate, but resists the structure imposed on him through the school, or the hard work it takes to learn it. At an early point in the Star Wars story Luke refuses the call to adventure from Obi Wan and then returns home to find that his aunt and uncle have been barbequed by the Emperor’s storm troopers. This atrocity motivates him to answer the call and he now eagerly accepts the adventure. So to with your child, he or she may need a unique motivation that moves him to accept the call.

As his or her parent, it is important that you work closely with us to get him through this stage. We’ve worked with thousands of students and know how to guide him but can only do it with your help and cooperation. Sadly, we see many kids fail at this point because their parents didn’t understand what they were going through. Talk to us if you have any questions. These opportunities do not present themselves often in life.


Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981 with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.