Saturday, 28 September 2013

Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons (the American fighting fantasy role playing game) was introduced to me and many of my generation by the Stephen Spielberg Film "E.T.". To those that werent aware of the role playing game, "Dungeons and Dragons" was simply the name of a childrens animated cartoon. (The film E.T. also introduced many of my generation to Extra Terrestrials, BMX bikes and the American Halloween custom of “Trick or Treat”. )

When my mother learned I had become interested in the game Dungeons and Dragons she was very disapproving. A friend of hers from church, had told her it was "Satanic" in the sense that it introduced innocent children to occult concepts. My Mother was a devout Christian and made it clear to me she didn't want me involved in the "occult" but she never forbid me to play Dungeons and Dragons.
Glenn Danzig lead singer of the American punk rock band "the Misfits" who I listened to at the time first introduced me to "occult literature".One of my favourite Misfits tracks was London Dungeon , written about the time he spent the night in a call while touring with Steve Strange and The Dammed

As I grew older my interest in fighting fantasy games waned, I became interested in Skateboarding, Computers, Music, Girls ,Surfing, Rave Culture and Martial Arts.

The concept of a "Master" which was central to Dungeons and Dragons (but I probably first encountered it in "Dr Who" or "Star Wars") became relevant again when I began learning Martial Arts and entered into a Master student relationship with my Kung fu teacher. Over time I have come to see martial arts as a mind body and spirit discipline, with the aim of achieving a knowledge of self and a level of self mastery over ones behaviour,thoughts, emotions etc My Martial Arts style "Yellow Dragon Fist" also reintroduced me to the concept of the Dragon. Both Masters and Dragons are strong/powerful. The Dragon also symbolises wealth & wisdom it is a magical figure often feared & persecuted often hunted and locked up or forced to hide in underground caverns like the Dragon in the vaults at Camelot that taught Merlin. I see the path of the martial artist as one of self development, learning to transform energy ,learning to navigate the Labyrinth of the mind, ones physical and psychological challenges, the Dungeons and Dragons of our own lives.