The Dark Knight Mind

The Dark Lords

The Dark Knight Mind
INTRODUCTION................................................. 6
Dark Knight Training: Overview...................................6
DARK KNIGHT MIND ........................................8
The Nine Maxims of the Dark Knight...........................8
Philosophy.................................................................... 15
Dark Knight Quotes......................................................22
THE DARK KNIGHT BODY...............................28
THE DARK KNIGHT PERSONA........................29
Elements of Your Identity.............................................29
The Sanctum................................................................. 30
THE DARK KNIGHT'S JOURNEY.....................35
The Nine Summits........................................................ 35
Building the Will..........................................................41
Conquering Fear........................................................... 44
Nighttime Worlds..........................................................46
Developing the Persona................................................49
THE NINE TRAINING HALLS...........................52
DARK KNIGHT TRAINING ..............................55
Physical Training.......................................................... 56
Special Skills Training..................................................58
Spiritual Training.......................................................... 59
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Dark Knight Yoga......................................................... 60
“Superpowers” Training............................................... 61
Master-Apprentice Training.........................................63
BASIC SKILLS TRAINING................................64
DARK KNIGHT TRIALS....................................68
THE LEAGUE OF DARK KNIGHTS...................75
About Us....................................................................... 75
Hierarchy...................................................................... 77
Oaths and Initiations.....................................................77
Dark Knight Clans........................................................ 80
TALES OF THE DARK KNIGHTS......................82
Real Life Dark Knights................................................82
Fictional Dark Knights................................................. 88
Comic Books.............................................................. 100
Thriller Fiction............................................................101
Esoteric Fiction...........................................................103
NOTES............................................................ 106
DARK KNIGHTS.............................................111
Page 6
This book describes a new way of life, a new breed of men,
and a new organization that is being born in our time. It is a
path inspired by fictional superheroes, but which is very
practical and real. It is the way of those who pass through the
dark night of their souls and emerge stronger; who conquer
their fears and master their will; who become more than men in
service to an ideal. It is the way of the Dark Knights.
Dark Knight Academy was founded to bring this way of
life to all who are ready for it, and to establish it as a legitimate
life path. Dark Knights may hail from any religion, culture or
land, for every culture has a tradition of dark warriors who
conquer their fears and serve something greater than
themselves. ...
The Dark Lords
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Dark Knights are a different breed of human being, who do not
fear the darkness like other men, or flee from their own
shadows. They are creatures of the night, who have faced the
dark nights of their own souls and been awakened.
Dark Knights are not evil, but they aren’t exactly good.
They are laws unto themselves. They dispense nighttime
justice when the daytime justice system fails. They prey upon
predators and criminals, and act as models of courage for those
who live in fear. They are men of strength and integrity in a
world drowning in weakness and corruption.
Dark Knights live for an ideal, in order to become more
than ordinary men. They are the type of beings many of us long
to be, deep within our souls: freer, braver, darker, greater –
Think of this book as a blueprint or roadmap to a more heroic,
authentic and meaningful life – the life of the Dark Knight.
. ...
Why do we call them “Dark” Knights?

What distinguishes them from “white” knights, or just plain knights?
Dark Knights take the “darker”, negative emotions, such as
hatred, fear and anger, and transform them into something
positive. They don’t deny these emotions, or consider them
inherently evil, but use them as a source of motivation and
passion. They learn to control and channel their passions into
something beneficial, rather than being consumed and
destroyed by them. This is what the Dark Knight Path is
designed to do.
You may be wondering if the purpose of this book is to show
you how to become Batman, or to idolize Batman. The answer
is: definitely not! This is not a role-playing or cosplaying
manual, or a bible of “Batmanism”. The Dark Knight Path is
strongly inspired by Batman, along with other fictional and
non-fictional characters, but it is meant to be a general path for
people who seek a more heroic and exceptional life. Each Dark
Knight disciple must develop his own unique persona, with his
own name, symbolism and purpose, unique to his life
experience. Your goal should be to develop your authentic
more powerful Dark Knight self; if you find yourself trying to
imitate or idolize Batman, you are missing the main point of
our path!
Nor do aspiring Dark Knights have to be superficially similar
to Bruce Wayne. They may come from any national, ethnic or
religious background or gender. Some will be more intellectual,
others more physical, others more spiritual. Some will be
psychologically darker, others lighter. Some will be materially
much wealthier, more educated or from a more privileged
background than others. But all Dark Knights will share a
common ethos and spirit, gained from walking a common path
and having a similar inner transformation. We are thus a
Brotherhood of Dark Knights, united not primarily by our love
for a fictional character, but by our dedication to the way of life
described in these pages.
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. The Dark Knight Path places great importance on cultivating
the body, the will and a life of action, but it is ultimately about
developing a certain mindset, which we call Dark Knight Mind.
Dark Knight Mind is a mentality that can only achieved
through action; it is not something to be understood as an
intellectual abstraction, but to be experienced as a lived reality.
Most of this book is concerned with describing the practices
that will help you experience Dark Knight Mind. We begin by
describing Dark Knight Mind abstractly, by identifying its
main principles.
The Nine Maxims of the Dark Knight are nine principles which
the Dark Lords have identified as the most vital to success on
the Dark Knight Path. They are the basis of our Dark Knight
training system, and they form the basic creed of every Dark
Knight. Commit these Maxims to memory as soon as possible
– print them out and pin them to your wall, chant them during
training, meditate upon them, write them out repeatedly – do
whatever it takes to ingrain them into your mind. More
importantly, begin to apply them in your life, by seeing every
new challenge as an obstacle which can be overcome by
applying one or more of the Nine Maxims.
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
1. Strengthen the body; it is your foundation.
2. To conquer fear you must become fear.
3. The will is everything – the will to act.
4. Seek the darkness and be silent.
5. Devote yourself to an ideal; become more than a man.
6. Controlled passion is power.
7. Theatricality and deception are powerful agents.
8. Always be mindful of your surroundings.
9. Master the Way of Strategy.
Strengthen the body; it is your foundation.
The way of the Dark Knight begins with physical fitness –
calisthenics, martial arts, yoga, weightlifting, hiking, sports,
nutrition, etc. A fit body is the foundation your power, selfdiscipline
and strength; it is a direct manifestation of your inner spirit.
Your body cannot be fooled like your mind; it always tells the
Your body knows what you fear, what you like, what you love, what you hate.
But your body can be mastered, molded, made subject to your will, and this is the first
task of the Dark Knight-in-training.
To conquer fear you must become fear.
The path of the Dark Knight will bring you into intense contact
. with the evil that men do and the things you most fear. To
survive this contact, you must learn to face your fears and
overcome them. As R’as al Ghul said to Bruce Wayne:
“To conquer fear you must become fear.”
Or as the Shadow’s motto goes:
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The
Shadow knows.”
These two quotes capture the essence of Maxim Two: know the
evil that lurks in the hearts of men, and conquer your fear of
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Dark Knight Mind
that evil by becoming it.
Does this mean that a Dark Knight must become a criminal to
fight crime? In a sense, yes. For just as Bruce Wayne travelled
the world during his training, learning the ways of criminals in
order to get inside their minds, every aspiring Dark Knight
must awaken his own inner criminal and face his own worst
fears in order to conquer them.
The will is everything – the will to act.
To the Dark Knight, the will is
Seek the darkness and be silent.
The Dark Knight is a creature of the darkness. He goes into the
unlit places where others fear to tread, and watches from the
shadows. In this place, he can see more than those blinded by
the bright lights. In the night, the beasts of prey come out to
feed, and the darker truths are revealed. The Dark Knight ...
The Dark Knight is a man of few words. He observes, he
thinks, he acts. He does not waste energy on vain speech or
writing. He lets his actions do most of his talking. He stays
silent, so that he may better hear the approach of predators in
the night, and better hunt them without being detected. When
he does speak, his words carry weight, and strike fear in the
heart of his enemies.
Maxim Four means becoming a master of stealth and
shadow. ...
Devote yourself to an ideal; become more than a man.
A Dark Knight is not merely a martial artist, a detective, a
crime-fighter, an inventor or a businessman. He may be all of
these things, but he is much more, for he has devoted his life to
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
something higher than fitness, fighting, law-enforcement,
. invention, etc. The Dark Knight is a man with a calling, on a
quest for his own brand of justice and perfection. He is a role
model and an embodiment of integrity. He is not merely out to
better himself, but to inspire others, and to bring hope and
justice where there is none.
In this way, the Dark Knight becomes something more than a
man; he becomes a living symbol of our highest aspirations and
values. He becomes a Dark Knight, who achieves a
superhuman greatness and immortality that only comes to those
who embody ideals higher than themselves.
The Dark Knight must devote himself to an authentic ideal –
i.e., one that is the result of his own experience and moral
awakening. A person who lives according to a script handed to
him by society, who never truly questions the values and roles
expected of him, doesn’t rise to the title of Dark Knight. A
soldier, a police officer, a teacher or a philanthropist doing his
duty may be a perfectly honorable person, but that doesn’t
make him a hero. The Dark Knight’s path must be individual, it
must challenge something about that person’s values and/or the
values of his society, and it must go “above and beyond the call
of duty”, as the saying goes.
(How to find authentic ideal? From Dark Awakening. What is
the moral lesson of the Awakening? What reality does it force
the victim to face? What ideal does it compel him to embrace?
In the Batman stories, the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents
forced to him face the reality of violent crime against the
innocent, and compelled him to fight back against criminals. ...
Controlled passion is power.
The Dark Knight is driven by passion – rage against injustices,
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Dark Knight Mind
lust for heroic experiences, fear of enemies, love of family,
desire for power, yearning for knowledge, fervor for religion,
etc. Each Dark Knight’s dominant passions are different, and
define his persona and path. The point is to discover them, and
to make them your source of energy, inspiration and power.
Dark Knights do not subscribe to the view that their passions
are something to be eliminated or transcended, as some
extreme rationalist or Buddhist devotees might hold. Rather,
they cultivate their passions, as the legendary Shogun
Yoritomo-Tashi advised:
“Why fear to reanimate ALL the possibilities that lie
dormant in our natures? Is it not desirable to cultivate all
plants indiscriminately? There are those that are
poisonous, true, yet even these are indispensable in the
practice of medicine. Large doses of certain drugs cause
death; but, administered wisely with the hand of a skilful
physician, they bring relief and very often a complete
cure. The same may be said of many forces that are evil
only because they are not disciplined.”
. In other words, the passions must be
controlled, to prevent
them from becoming a source of evil that consumes and
destroys you. Prisons are full of men who acted on their
passions impulsively, and thus threw away their lives.
We see an illustration of the danger of passion in
Begins, when Bruce Wayne, burning with rage at the release of
the man who killed his parents, approaches him with a gun
with the intent to shoot him down. If luck had not intervened to
stop Wayne from completing his act of vengeance, he might
have spent many years in prison himself as a convicted
murderer. He might never have travelled the world,
encountered his Dark Knight mentor, developed his Dark
Knight skills, or become a symbol of justice, who did far more
to right the wrong of his parents’ murder than any act of swift
vengeance ever could.
Ra's al Ghul notes the power of Wayne's passion when he tells
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
What you really fear is inside yourself. You fear your own
power. You fear your anger, the drive to do great or
terrible things. You have learned to bury your guilt with
anger. I will teach you to confront it, and to face the truth.
You know how to fight six men. We can teach you how to
engage six hundred. You know how to disappear. We can
teach you to become truly invisible.
Bruce Wayne’s life from that moment on under al Ghul's
tutelage becomes a lesson in the power of self-discipline in the
service of great passion. The point is that a Dark Knight must
have both: passion and control of their passion; one or the other
alone will never make you truly powerful.
Theatricality and deception are powerful agents.
One of the Dark Knight’s greatest powers is his ability to use
his persona to work his magic upon the minds of his foes, and
upon society at large. He creates a larger than life persona, uses
dramatic acts, deception and symbols to produce a much more
powerful impact than he would have as an ordinary crimefighter.
In the Batman stories, the Caped Crusader made his
presence felt throughout Gotham City by having the police
commissioner summon him with a giant “bat-signal” in the sky
whenever there was trouble. This wasn’t just a practical way to
communicate, but a strong message to the citizens of Gotham
that Batman was on the beat, and all criminals should beware!
Batman’s pervasive use of his bat symbol – on his uniform,
vehicles, weapons, names, communications, etc. – was a
brilliant way to advertise the “Batman brand” and create a
mystique that was much more powerful than a single man.
Similarly, deception (example of deception) ...
Therefore a Dark Knight should cultivate some of the skills of
the stage magician and the actor – a flair for the dramatic, an
ability to deceive, to misdirect, to hypnotize, to entertain – and
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Dark Knight Mind
to frighten. These methods work both to win allies and
intimidate enemies – the methods a politician uses to win votes
in an election campaign can also be used to demoralize
enemies in a psychological warfare campaign. The Dark
Knight should understand how to do both to win his wars.
This Maxim comes from Ra’s al Ghul’s statement to
Bruce Wayne in
Batman Begins, that “theatricality and
deception are powerful agents.” But as Bane says to Batman in
the third film, Dark Knight Rises: “Theatricality and deception
are powerful agents to the uninitiated... but we are initiated,
aren't we Bruce?” In other words, these techniques work best
on those who haven’t received Dark Knight training or some
other initiation into the “dark arts”. If your target is
sophisticated – perhaps a former Dark Knight who has
“turned” and become a Bane-like villain – you will need to up
your game or use other methods to gain a psychological
advantage over them.
Always be mindful of your surroundings.
Dark Knights walk a dangerous path, fraught with foes and
pitfalls that threaten them with destruction. For this reason, the
Dark Knight must always be mindful of his surroundings, in
both the physical and spiritual sense.
Physical mindfulness means developing a keen awareness of
all your senses, using mindfulness meditation, sensory
exercises, and … It means keenly observing everything and
remembering important details.
Spiritual mindfulness means being in tune to the minds of
others – their feelings, thoughts, hopes and fears. It is what
Japanese martial artists call
haragei: non-verbal, intuitive
communication, anticipation and awareness of threats. It means
developing a “sixth sense” for danger.
Mindful of self, mindful of others, mindful of environment
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
No matter where you are, you are always “surrounded by
yourself.” ...
Master the Way of Strategy.
A Dark Knight is a warrior, who lives passionately for his ideal
and thus comes into conflict with other passionate men with
conflicting ideals. To win these conflicts, the Dark Knight must
learn the Way of Strategy.
What does this mean? Strategy means the time-tested
principles of the warriors, used to defeat other men. It means
developing an indomitable spirit, so one always gets back up
. after being knocked down. It is developed through a deep study
of martial arts, and the thoughts of great strategists. It is
developed in the struggle for life, by facing and defeating ever
obstacle in one's path.
Even if the Dark Knight's passion is some peaceful craft or
business, he still must learn the Way of Strategy. Why is this
so? Because every enterprise benefits when one employs
strategy and thinks with a warrior's mind. You must have a
plan, be prepared for adversity, and have the inner strength to
overcome it. This is the virtue of the Way of Strategy. You will
face adversity in any enterprise, whether it is from competitors
in a business, or pests on a farm, or bad weather, or bad luck,
or political opposition, or simply your own laziness. All of
these can be defeated by strategy and a warrior's mind.
The Dark Knight knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men,
and trusts not to their good will and intentions. He knows that
this world is a place of conflict, in which the strong survive and
the winners make the rules. Like them or not, these are simply
facts. So the Dark Knight trusts in Strategy, not in good will,
and lets this becomes his guiding law.
Secrecy: Reveal your identity to no one who need not know it.
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Resilience, flexibility
A Dark Knight’s life is full of surprises and unforeseen
situations .... He must therefore be prepared for any eventuality,
both physically and mentally. Physically, this means being
agile, flexible and energetic. Mentally, it means being alert,
unflappable, unafraid, and in the place known as “the zone” or
the “flow state”
… having developing a mindset of resilience and
The Nine Maxims may sound impressive on paper, but how
does one actually apply them in their work as a Dark Knight?
(… give examples)
What is a Dark Knight’s philosophy of life? It’s a difficult
question to answer, because each Dark Knight’s path depends
on his unique circumstances and experience. However, we can
identify some common elements to the philosophies of those
who call themselves Dark Knights, which we describe below.
Dark Knights believe they have free will to determine their
fate, create their identity and choose their purpose in life. If
you subscribe to a religion or philosophy that conflicts with
. this – for example, one that obligates you to place God’s will or
the interests of a tribe or nation before your own – you may
find our path problematic.
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The Path described here is not entirely rational; it appeals to
mythical, mystical, romantic concepts that some hard-headed
rationalists will reject. However, the justification for our
irrationalism is itself rational: because we believe, and have
found through experience, that these irrational notions are
powerful and effective – they give the disciple a sense of
purpose and motivation that a more rational approach to life
tends to lack. Dark Knights cultivate a poetic sense of their
life’s mission deliberately, then pursue it with technical
“It's not who you are underneath, it's what you do that
defines you.” — Rachel Dawes to Bruce Wayne, Batman
A Dark Knight prefers actions to words, real-life tests to
thought experiments, heroic deeds to grandiose thoughts. He
leaves impotent philosophizing to the coffee shop warriors,
preferring to go out on the streets to test himself and seek his
destiny. The proof of a Dark Knight’s philosophy is not found
in his clever arguments or moralistic appeals, but in his real
world success.
Bruce Lee expressed a Dark Knight’s practical attitude when
he said: “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing,
you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily
toward your goal,” and “use only that which works, and take it
from any place you can find it.”
Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Zen
“Zen is a religion of will-power”
Those who embark upon the Dark Knight’s journey may do so
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for many reasons, but they all share a dissatisfaction with their
ordinary, Daytime World existence. Buddhists speak of dukkha
– the unsatisfactoriness of existence – and counsel overcoming
our attachments to the things of the world. On our path, we
speak of ... – the unsatisfactoriness of the unheroic life – and
teach that cultivating will to heroism is the key to walking a
. more heroic path.
Every act of will is a decision to be something different than
you are now. Every would-be Dark Knight must use his will to
decide to become something stronger, freer and more heroic
than his old self. Your will to a heroic ideal is your ticket out of
the trap of mundane, Daytime existence, into the rarified
realms of the Dark Knights. Can you find it within you?
Maxim five emphasize the importance of devoting yourself to
an ideal, but it begs the question: what should that ideal be?
Here you must let your Dark Awakening guide you; what was
the overriding moral or lesson of that experience? What cause
is it telling you to devote your life to?
In the case of Bruce Wayne, his experience of seeing his
parents gunned down by a common criminal ignited in him a
burning hatred of crime against the innocent, and a desire to
stamp it out.
When the Dark Acolyte passes through his dark night of the
soul on his path to Dark Knighthood, there is a real danger that
he may not return to the daylight at all. He may be seduced by
the darkness, by the sense of power he feels there, and turn
completely to the “dark side”. If this happens, the Dark Knight
becomes a villain – Bane rather than Batman, Shiwan Khan
rather than the Shadow, Darth Vader rather than Obi-Wan
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The Dark Knight’s journey requires the disciple to step outside
the mundane laws of the Daytime World and act according to
higher laws of his own discovery. The fully realized Dark
Knight becomes a law unto himself, having faced inner and
outer demons and accomplished heroic deeds that justify his
What separates a Dark Knight from a villain? In truth, very
little; Dark Knights may seem like villains to those who follow
the laws of the Daytime World blindly, or who have become
corrupted by that world. ...
Our purpose here is not to dictate your morality or ethics in
detail. Rather, we are describing a
path of awakening and
transformation that may be used by individuals with very
different moral and ethical codes, based on different individual
and cultural experiences, to become something more than
ordinary men. The only ethical and moral code we share are
our Nine Maxims – our emphasis on mastering the mind and
body, conquering our fears, devoting ourselves to an ideal,
creating a larger than life persona, etc. If someone follows this
path with integrity but has values that others consider “evil”,
that is not our concern. Dark Knights are “beyond good and
evil” (as Nietzsche put it), in that we don’t try to dictate a
. moral code that is absolutely true for everyone, everywhere;
rather, we emphasize the importance of individual experience,
integrity and awakening.
A Dark Knight’s life is a quest for perfection; it is an attempt to
merge one’s actions and one’s ideals into a harmonious and
powerful whole. The Dark Knight looks at the totality of a
person’s life as a reflection of their philosophy and state of
mind. If a person is brilliant in some narrow area of
knowledge, but their home is in shambles, their demeanor
shoddy or their personal life a mess, they are not masters
worthy of emulation. This is where a stereotypically Western
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approach to life, with its celebration of specialists, “absentminded
and autistic geniuses, is unsatisfactory for Dark Knights.
We prefer a more “Zen” approach, of seeking impeccability and mindfulness in all
one’s actions.
A true master of life should reflect their mastery in everything they do, including their mannerisms, speech and appearance.

The smallest things reflect one’s inner nature, and must be tended to
with care.
(quote Zen master)
Here is a brief description of a philosophy and way of life that
I'm calling "Flowism":
Flowism is the pursuit of the experience known as flow – a
heightened state of consciousness in which one is operating on
instinct, in the moment, with supranormal precision, creativity,
confidence and perception. Flow is "the zone" where all peak
performers and geniuses strive to be: where Michelangelo was
when he painted the Sistine Chapel in an artistic frenzy; where
Newton and Einstein must have been often during their annus
mirabiles ("miracle years") of epochal scientific discovery;
where extreme sports enthusiasts go when they are facing life
or death decisions on mountain slopes and giant waves. Flow
may also be experienced via psychedelic drugs, dance, music,
meditation, martial arts, sexual passion, public performance,
religious ceremony, military battle and countless other ways.
To the Flowite, life is given its value during these moments of
peak experience; the rest of one's time is just preparation and
training for the flow states.
This may be all that needs to be said about Flowism. It is not
something that can be understood through words and thoughts,
but must be experienced directly. Perhaps Zen, with its doctrine
of mushin ("no-mind"), the yogic paths to "samadhi", the
spartan warrior creeds, various shamanic ecstatic practices and
hedonic artistic schools are the closest historical analogues of
Flowism. Neither a philosophy in the Western sense nor a
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
. religion in the monotheistic sense, Flowism represents a return
to mankind's primordial spirituality, informed by modern
A Flowite saying: "To fly the soul the mind must flow!"
The Shadow: repressed fears, desires, emotions in our
subconscious minds. The part of our being we hide from
ourselves and others. Batman: bats.
The Self: person’s entire being, with integrated conscious and
subconscious. Authentic self. This could also be called the
Dark Knight Self. Batman: The Batman.
The Anima/Animus: feminine aspect of male psyche or vice
versa. Batman: Rachel Dawes.
The Persona: the person we are in the Daytime World; the
mask we allow the world to see. The Persona shields our
conscious mind from negative, disturbing thoughts. It also
disguises the identity of our Dark Knight Self, protecting him
and his loved ones from harm. Batman: Bruce Wayne,
billionaire playboy.
Carl Jung said:
“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a
characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the
confrontation with the Shadow and the world of darkness.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of
light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter
procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not
Traditionally, Western spirituality has long emphasized the
“light side” world and shunned the world of darkness as
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something evil and corrupting. According to Jung, this has
made many Western people psychologically imbalanced,
fearful and neurotic. A Dark Knight represents the Western
man who has integrated his dark side and made peace with the
world of darkness. He has consciously used his Shadow as a
source of power, overcome his fears, and become an aweinspiring
figure to those who have not yet confronted their own Shadows.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross defined the five stages of grief as denial,
anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Kübler-Ross
developed these stages from her work with terminally ill
patients, to understand how they cope with the reality of death
and dying. Since every Dark Knight’s journey begins with
intense grief, and involves the death of your old, Daytime Self,
it is useful to look at the “Kübler-Ross model” as it relates to
the Dark Knight path.
. Denial: Immediately after his Trauma, the acolyte is still in
shock, not yet ready to face the trauma of the death of his old
life, enter the Nighttime World or become a transformed
person. He tries to pretend that his life can continue as if
nothing has changed.
Anger: As the new reality begins to set in, the acolyte rages
against the injustice of the Trauma. He may act out against real
or imagined sources of suffering in unpredictable ways. The
acolyte has entered the Nighttime World, or the “dark night of
the soul”, and allows himself to be driven by his anger and
other emotions.
Bargaining: In this stage, the acolyte develops some control of
his anger, and finds a way to begin to harness it for something
more constructive. This is where the Threshold Crossing
occurs, and the acolyte enters into a new regime of training that
will conquer his anger, fear and other emotions that torment
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Acceptance: The acolyte finally comes to grips with the reality
that his old self is dead, and accepts
The “Inner Sanctum” is a mental version of your Outer
Sanctum: a place you build in your mind, where you can
always take refuge and connect to your greater Dark Knight
Inner Sanctums will be unique to each Dark Knight, just as the
Outer Sanctums is. It should be a place of creativity,
illumination and awakening, that taps into your deepest sources
of inspiration on the Dark Knight Path. Perhaps your Inner
Sanctum is a monastery at the summit of a mountain, where the
ancient masters of wisdom dwell. It could be a stone temple in
a remote desert, where you commune with whatever gods or
spirits inspire you. Maybe it is a high tech lair dug deep in a
mountain or on an uncharted island, where you plan and ...
your ... Perhaps it is an ice cave in an arctic wilderness, where
you find the solitude and space need by a superman. Maybe it
is a space station in orbit, equipped with all your computers
and devices, from which you monitor global events and swoop
down on trouble spots. Be as imaginative as your like in
building your Inner Sanctum; unlike your Outer Sanctum, there
are no limits to what you might build except your own
... (exercise to begin building)
(exercise to use the Inner Sanctum)
Go into your Inner Sanctum whenever you need a place of
power, wisdom and resources.
“I guess we’re all two people. One daylight, and the one we
. keep in shadow.” —Bruce Wayne, Batman
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Dark Knight Mind
“They told me there was nothing out there, nothing to fear. But
the night my parents were murdered I caught a glimpse of
something. I've looked for it ever since. I went around the
world, searched in all the shadows. And there is something out
there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will
not stop until it gets revenge... Me.”
“Bats frighten me. It's time my enemies shared my dread.”
—Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins
“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote
yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you
become something else entirely....Legend.”
“You travelled the world... Now you must journey inwards... to
what you really fear... it's inside you... there is no turning back.”
“What you really fear is inside yourself. You fear your own
power. You fear your anger, the drive to do great or terrible
“Men fear most what they cannot see.”
“You must become more than just a man in the mind of your
—Henri Ducard, Batman Begins
“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow
knows!” —from The Shadow radio program
“With self-discipline most anything is possible.”
“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great
actions speak to all mankind.”
“No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk
his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great
“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the
doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes,
not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man
who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter
toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph,”
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs,
even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those
poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they
live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
—Theodore Roosevelt
. “Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be
trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here
to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate
“Do not look upon this world with fear and loathing. Bravely
face whatever the gods offer.” —Morihei Ueshiba
“The only way to find the path is to set fire to my own life.” —
Rabindranath Tagore
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will
do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing
their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining
figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a
characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation
with the Shadow and the world of darkness. One does not
become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by
making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however,
is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”
—Carl Jung
"Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own
self-transformation." —Lao Tzu
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Dark Knight Mind
"We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of
all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly
known: we have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And
where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a
god: where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay
ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall
come to the center of our own existence; and where we had
thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the
one that is waiting for us.”
—Joseph Campbell
“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you
fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” —
Jalaladdin Rumi
“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you
to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is
within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
“Do not sleep under a roof. Carry no money or food. Go alone
to places frightening to the common brand of men. Become a
criminal of purpose. Be put in jail, and extricate yourself by
your own wisdom.”
―Miyamoto Musashi
“All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous
masks in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of
“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself
. does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an
abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche
"You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your deep, driving desire is, so is your will.
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny." —Upanishads
“Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one
elementary rule . . . that the moment one definitely commits
oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to
help one that would never otherwise have occurred. . .
.Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” —
“Singlemindedness is all-powerful.”―Tsunetomo Yamamoto
“There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay
there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A
man must constantly exceed his level.”
“Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever defeated until defeat
has been accepted as reality. To me, defeat in anything is
merely temporary, and its punishment is but an urge for me to
greater effort to achieve my goal. Defeat simply tells me that
something is wrong in my doing; it is a path leading to success
and truth.”
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll
never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward
your goal.”
—Bruce Lee
“Why fear to reanimate ALL the possibilities that lie dormant
in our natures? Is it not desirable to cultivate all plants
indiscriminately? There are those that are poisonous, true, yet
even these are indispensable in the practice of medicine. Large
doses of certain drugs cause death; but, administered wisely
with the hand of a skilful physician, they bring relief and very
often a complete cure. The same may be said of many forces
that are evil only because they are not disciplined.”
“Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or
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Dark Knight Mind
morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They
make use of a very small portion of their possible
consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much
like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get
into a habit of using and moving only his lttle finger. Great
. emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital
resources are than we had supposed.”
—William James
“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life.”
—The 14th Dalai Lama
"If you must begin then go all the way, because if you begin
and quit, the unfinished business you have left behind begins to
haunt you all the time." —Chogyam Trungpa
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Hatha Yoga
. Page 31
The Dark Knight path is designed to transform you into a new
being – to create a stronger, darker, greater persona and make it
“the real you.” A Dark Knight is not merely an exceptionally
competent, driven and fearless operator who lives for an ideal.
You can find such people working anonymously in all walks of
life, from politics to education to the military to law
enforcement. What separates the Dark Knight from such
individuals is the Dark Knight’s use of symbolism, persona,
theatricality, heroism and even fear to achieve his goals. The
Dark Knight is engaged in
psychological manipulation of
friend and foe alike – he is a kind of magician or actor, who
may take an entire city, nation or the whole world as his stage.
What sort of life should a Dark Knight strive for? What
material things should he acquire,
Your Dark Knight persona will be determined by your
particular path and passions, but every Dark Knight's persona
should include the following elements.
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
... mask, ring, cape, cane
Your Dark Knight name should be simple and it should strike a
chord with your allies and enemies and alike. It will be closely
related to your
Dark Knights may wish to develop one or more “calling cards”
that enhance their mystique, notoriety and theatricality. For
example, the Shadow had a chilling laugh that struck
paralyzing fear into the hearts of criminals just before he
struck. Batman had his “bat signal” which flashed above the
skies of Gotham, letting the city know that the Caped Crusader
was on the case.
A strictly professional, mundane operator might consider such
calling cards an unwise extravagance that will bring
unnecessary attention upon him. But remember that a Dark
Knight strives to be larger than life, and a symbol of something
greater. As Maxim 7 states, theatricality is a powerful agent
which can burn the Dark Knight’s symbolism into the minds of
those he wishes to influence. Calling cards, like a heroic name,
uniform and symbol, are another way to use theatricality to
enhance the Dark Knight’s effectiveness.
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and
again.” —Joseph Campbell
Sanctums are the Dark Knights’ personal strongholds, sacred
spaces and training centers. When Dark Knights are not out in
the world doing their work, they are usually found here.
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The Dark Knight Persona
Sanctums may be used for a wide variety of practical tasks:
communications, computing, laboratory work, study,
equipment storage, training and meditation. They may also
function as survival shelters and secret “safe houses” from
which to operate against the Dark Knight’s foes.
It’s important to realize that your Sanctum is not only
physically very functional, but serves a vital psychological
purpose: it forces you to live your Dark Knight persona where
you are, every day. By actually going into your Sanctum, in
costume, you are stepping out of your Daytime identity and
into your Nighttime role in a visceral way. You are physically
reprogramming yourself to adopt new habits and a new
identity. It has been said that to become a new person and live
in a new way, you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk
or think the thought. This is the spiritual purpose of your
. Sanctum: it is not just a place to operate, train and study, but a
temple to your greater Dark Knight self.
You will want to give your Sanctum a name and furnishings
appropriate to your Dark Knight persona. Display your
costume, mask, weapons, gadgets, etc. in a dignified way
around the room. Keep your Sanctum clean and in perfect
working order. A shoddy Sanctum reflects a shoddy mind, and
is unworthy of a Dark Knight! Don’t have a television, alcohol,
drugs, junk food or anything else that encourages addictive or
unhealthy behavior. If you have problems with addiction, use
your Sanctum to break it by going there whenever you feel the
urge to feed your habit.
Fictional examples of Sanctums to look at for inspiration
include Batman’s Batcave, the Shadow’s Sanctum, the
Phantom's Skull Cave, the League of Shadows’ Temple, Doctor
Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum and the Executioner’s WarWagon.
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Ideally, your Sanctum would be housed in a hidden location on
your private estate, with concealed tunnels allowing entrance
and exit for yourself and your vehicles, helicopter, jet, boat,
etc. However, if you don’t have the resources of a Bruce
Wayne, you will have to make do with a less ambitious design.
Below are a few ideas for Sanctums that can be built on more
modest budgets.
... Your sanctum could be as small as a large closet to a
dedicated room, shed, garage, buried shipping container, tree
house, cave, tunnel, tower, bunker, fortress or underground
CreeperC@ve is the cyber-sanctum of a Dark Knight who calls
himself the Creeper. The Creeper is an idealistic super-hacker
who uses his skills to fight injustice online – particularly by
governments and corporations who seek to shut down free
speech and impose central controls on the internet.
CreeperC@ve is located in the basement of a building in a
rather run-down industrial area of an Eastern European city.
The Creeper has wired the Sanctum with fiber optics and set up
his network in such a way that tracing his online activity is next
to impossible. The Creeper is rumored to work as a senior
network administrator at the nation's largest internet provider,
which allows him to further secure and disguise his hacking
The Creeper has gained access to thousands of government and
corporate servers, hacked email and social media accounts of
many powerful people the world over, and exposed the shady
dealings of dictators, corporate executives and elected officials
alike. For this, he has become something of an internet
celebrity, ...
. The Daemonorium is the Sanctum of a rather sinister British
Dark Knight known as Lord Blackstone . Blackstone is the
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The Dark Knight Persona
Grand Master of a so-called “Black Lodge” and is well
connected to the British power and money elite. Lord
Blackstone's forte is demonolatry: the invocation and control of
demons – including, it is rumored, the Lord of all demons,
Satan Himself. He has also amassed one of the world's most
extensive libraries of ancient, rare and modern books on
demonology and black magick from every age and culture.
Below his mansion, Lord Blackstone has constructed a temple
in a large natural limestone cavern. A concealed tunnel leads
from the library of his mansion down into the temple
chambers. In the center of the main chamber, a natural stone
outcropping has been shaped into an altar, upon which idols of
demons are placed and offerings made to them. Around the
chamber, demonic visages have been sculpted into limestone
stalagmites and stalactites, and statues of various demons act as
shrines. A large pentagram has been engraved in the floor
around the altar. There, in the depths of the Daemonorium,
Lord Blackstone conducts various demonolatry experiments, in
which various demons are evoked, commanded and given
offerings in order to harness their power. It is believed that
Blackstone's ultimate goal is to engineer
Pandaemonium –
when demons will erupt en masse to bring about Hell on Earth.
If your Dark Knight persona engages in any kind of intellectual
or technical pursuits, your Sanctum should be your laboratory
for this activity. For Bruce Wayne, this meant equipping his
Batcave with an advanced criminology laboratory. A
technologist would include whatever computers and electronics
he may require. A warrior might include a gun shop and a
firing range. A martial artist might include a dojo or a blade
shop. An occultist would have an occult library and ritual area.
An artist would have an art studio.
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
To be Dark Knights, we must first be survivors. This means we
must be able to function even (and especially) in times of
natural disaster, war, terrorist attack, riot, enemy action or other
breakdown of law and order.
To prepare for such events, you should make your Sanctum
into a fully functional survival shelter if possible. This means
equipping it with all the basic necessities that will allow you to
live there without contact with the outside world for weeks or
. months at a time. Below are some suggestions for equipping
your Sanctum for this purpose.
• Backup power: Gasoline generator; solar, wind,
hydroelectric or other renewable energy generator.
Enough power to run your lights and vital
communications and electronics indefinitely.
• Food: Freeze-dried, canned and dry goods, vitamin
supplements. Enough to last for months or years.
• Water: Private well with hand pump, spring or stream,
rainwater collectors, large tanks, filters, water
purification tablets.
• Heat: Wood stove or fireplace with firewood or propane
heater and tank, enough to last the winter months.
• Bomb Shelter: Underground shipping container,
bunker or tunnel … designed to withstand even a
nuclear attack.
Your Sanctum should function as a “safe house” and “panic
room” – a place where you can operate securely and secretly
for extended periods of time, without criminals, enemy
operatives, solicitors or anyone else being able to threaten you.
Alarm system
Security cameras
Reinforced doors
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The Dark Knight Persona
Concealed entry/exit
The path of the Dark Knight is a spiritual one, which can serve
as the disciple’s religion. To keep himself focused on the
practices and principles of his Path, and to remind himself of
his membership in a larger Order, the Dark Knight should
include a temple or shrine in his Sanctum.
The Temple should contain any objects, artifacts or idols that
are sacred to the Dark Knight disciple or symbolic of his path.
For example, if the disciple has chosen a black dragon to be his
totem animal, he can include a black dragon statue and other
artifacts in his temple. He will also want to feature his personal
symbol prominently, on a banner, altar cloth or poster. If he has
acquired any items on his path that have special significance to
him, such as a mask, gloves, cape, cane or ring, he may wish to
keep them there also.
. Page 38
The nature of our Path is the
Dark Knight’s Journey: an
adventure of self-transformation that takes the Acolyte from the
pits of despair and powerlessness to the summits of hope and
power. This is what it means to rise to the challenge of Dark
The Dark Knight Path is divided into nine “Summits”, which
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
are critical stages in the journey to Dark Knighthood. Each
Summit is associated with a specific Trial, which tests the
disciple’s ability to complete that stage of his path. Below we
describe the nine Dark Knight Summits and Trials in more
. detail.
The Dark Knight’s journey begins in the ordinary world – the
mundane existence that we are conditioned for as members of a
civilization. In this world, social conventions, roles,
expectations and values govern your life. You are expected to
go to school, get a job, get married, obey the law, buy the right
products, make the right friends, vote for the right candidates,
practice the right religion, believe the right philosophy, etc.
Dark Knights call this the Daytime World – the conditioned
world you live in if you haven’t yet had an awakening to your
heroic potential. The Daytime World is the “base camp” from
which you will ascend the Nine Summits to Dark Knighthood.
The first Summit is really the nadir of the Dark Knight
disciple’s life: the point when he awakens to his total
powerlessness in the face of evil, suffering and despair.
To reach this place, the Acolyte must undergo some kind of
dark, traumatic experience, such as the death of a loved one,
severe personal injury, betrayal, or mental breakdown.
This experience of trauma is vital, because it provides
the catharsis for all your future training. The rage and
impotence you feel at that moment will become the fuel that
drives you onward, through all inner and outer adversity.
In the Batman stories, Bruce Wayne’s Traumatic Experience
was seeing his parents gunned down in front of him by a
common criminal. The feelings of childhood powerlessness,
guilt at having been unable to protect them, and rage at the evil
that men do, would haunt him forever and drive him to become
something more than a man: the Batman.
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The Dark Knight Mind
The Traumatic Experience is thus the moment when even the
most privileged child’s illusions of security, stability and
immortality are wiped away, and the terrifying reality of our
insecure, unstable and fleeting lives is revealed. Rather than
cower in fear of this dark reality, the Dark Knight disciple is
proactive – he goes straight into the darkness and attacks the
source of his suffering and fear.
How does one become awakened in this way? Must you be the
victim of a terrible crime or injury to begin the Dark Knight’s
journey? The answer is yes, but the trauma isn’t necessarily a
physical experience of death and pain. It can (and should) be
primarily a spiritual trauma – the “dark night of the soul” that
is spoken of in religious scripture.
Such experiences are rare, and growing rarer, in an age that
values comfort, safety and moderation more than powerful,
perilous experiences. Thus the ranks of the Dark Knights grow
thin, and few in this age will be qualified to join us. If you wish
to be among them, you must find a way to exit the society of
the un-heroic and the risk-averse – the Daytime World – and
face adventure and danger alone.
. Perhaps you will need to take time off from your education, or
change professions, or travel, or pursue some art or invention,
or explore some spiritual tradition, or involve yourself in some
great war. The paths to Dark Awakening are infinite, and there
are no maps to help you find them. You simply must summon
the courage to leave the well-lit, well-mapped regions of
experience and take the plunge into the unknown territories
where traumatic experiences await.
If this advice frightens you, good! It should! If it isn’t advice
you’re willing to act on, then the Dark Knight Path may never
open for you. But if you do choose to seek the path of danger
and need more guidance than this, I cannot offer it; you’re on
your own!
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
The Dark Awakening is the point when the Traumatic
Experience leads to a dark new understanding of the world and
oneself, and points to a new direction for one's life. This may
not happen until well after the Traumatic Experience; the
disciple may live in denial, able to suppress his trauma and
conform to Daytime Society for years, until the pressures
finally become to great to bear. In
Batman Begins , Bruce
Wayne didn't awaken until ...
After the Dark Acolyte experiences his Dark Awakening, he
will naturally be full of rage, angst or despair – powerful
emotions that can destroy him, or transform him. In this stage,
the Acolyte may strike out in all directions, without focus or
discipline, raging against the demons that torment him and
seeking vengeance upon those who wronged him.
The energy unleashed in this stage is vital to the Dark Knight’s
path, for it will drive him to leave the Daytime World and
explore aspects of the world and himself that he might never
otherwise face. This is a time for wild experimentation,
adventure, conflict, many victories and defeats. This is similar
to the “howling at the moon” phase that many young people go
through on their journey to maturity. But the Dark Knight’s
explorations should still be focused and driven by a singleminded
purpose: to understand the source of his pain, to confront it, and to
conquer it.
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne’s exploration of the other side
began when he confronted the crime boss of Gotham and
realized that he was not yet ready to challenge the crime and
corruption that ruled his city. The crime boss told him
“You're Bruce Wayne, the prince of Gotham. You'd have
to go 1000 miles to meet someone who didn't know your
name. So don't, don't come down here with your anger,
trying to prove something to yourself. This is a world
. The Dark Knight Mind
Page 42
you'll never understand. And you always fear what you
don't understand.”
Realizing the truth of this, Wayne chose not to go to Princeton
and take his place at the head of the family’s business empire
as expected. Instead, he boarded a ship and spent years
travelling the world, studying the criminal underworld and
living as a criminal himself. This gave him a deeper
understanding of the nature of crime and criminals – it was a
real-world education rather than the abstract, sheltered one he
would’ve gotten at Princeton.
In your own Dark Knight’s journey, you may also need to
spend years educating yourself in the ways of the “dark side”
and exploring the Nighttime World. Your goal is not to rage
blindly or rebel for rebellion’s sake, but to better understand
the source of your Traumatic Experience. Eventually, your
explorations will bring you to the next phase of your journey:
meeting a mentor.
Eventually, a day will come on the Dark Knight’s journey
when he encounters someone who has already walked the Path
and mastered it. This is the Dark Mentor.
In Batman Begins, the Dark Mentor was Ra’s al Ghul, leader of
the League of Shadows. Ra’s finds Bruce Wayne in solitary
confinement in a grim Asian prison and grants him a key to
entry into the League. Finding their hidden monastery in the
mountains, Wayne begins training with Ra’s and his army of
ninjas, and his period of intense work toward Dark Knighthood
truly begins.
But this story, as entertaining as it is, is surely fiction. Where
does one find mentors like R’as al Ghul, or groups like the
League of Shadows? You are holding one answer right in your
hands! For this book describes one such organization, and was
written by one such man! The League of Dark Knights
described in these pages, and established by this author, is
designed to bring such things from the realm of myth and
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
fantasy into reality. Do you think you are the first to have
visions of Dark Knighthood, or that all who have had them are
content to leave them in the realm of fantasy? No! Some of us
have developed the will to act – the will to make these dreams
a reality in this world, and to walk the path of Dark Knight on
this Earth!
So where will you find your Dark Mentor? Only you can
answer that, by actually pursuing the path described in these
pages, or by finding another path and other masters. But have
no doubt that our League is real – that we have real facilities,
real members and real training, and that our doors will open for
you and Mentors will appear when you are ready for them!
Once the Acolyte finds his Mentor, his dedicated Dark Knight
. training begins. This is the point where the disciple fully
commits to his path and leaves the Daytime World behind for
good. This commitment will involve entering into a new life, a
new regime, a new world, where different rules apply than in
the old world. Much that was learned in the Daytime World
will be unlearned, and much that is new will be learned. We
call this stage “Crossing the Threshold.”
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne crossed the threshold to his
new life when he entered the monastery in the mountains as
instructed by his Mentor, Ra’s al Ghul, and began training with
the League of Shadows. ...
In our League, you may cross the threshold in many different
ways, depending on your Mentor.
After you’ve begun your new life, and trained for a while on
your new path, you will experience tests of your commitment
and strength.
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The Dark Knight Mind
The Ordeal
The Reward
The Road Back
The Resurrection
In the Japanese warrior tradition, after studying for a number of
years in a dojo, the trainee is expected to embark on a mushya
shugo – an extended “warrior's quest”, in which he leaves the
confines of the training hall and tests his skills and knowledge
by adventuring in the 'real world'.
The final stage of the Dark Knight’s journey is the return to the
Daytime World as a transformed being. For Bruce Wayne, this
meant returning to Gotham City after years spent traveling the
world and training with the League of Shadows. Once back in
the Daytime World, the Acolyte will undergo more Trials to
test his ability to use his new powers and knowledge in a way
that is beneficial. Will the Dark Knight be too intense, too
superhuman, too strange, to be accepted back into the Daytime
World? Will he be considered some kind of freak or villain,
rather than a hero? …
To build muscles, a weightlifter must exercise them regularly
and with increasing intensity. The muscles are thus broken
down at a cellular level, prompting the body to build them back
up again, stronger than before.
To build willpower, the same principle applies. By exercising
your will regularly and with escalating intensity, the will is
. exhausted, and then it becomes stronger. It is therefore useful
to think of your will as your primary mental muscle, something
like the muscles of your lower body, which form the
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
foundation of your mental strength. Without a super-strong
foundation in willpower, you will never achieve the Dark
Knight Mind.
To manifest something in reality, you must first manifest it in
the mind. This is an ancient principle of all esoteric training
schools, and it is a core principle of Dark Knight Academy
training. Therefore, to develop a strong Will, you should first
visualize yourself having a strong Will. Here is an exercise for
that purpose.
Sit comfortably in a meditative position, whether in a chair,
seiza, half-lotus, or full lotus. Clasp your hands in the
Rakuzhin mudra (??) described previously. Take a minute to
relax your entire body; allow your mind to empty of thoughts,
and breathe deeply.
Now picture yourself as a person of strong, masterful Will.
Play out scenes in your mind of yourself taking decisive action,
focused intention, perseverance and success. Imagine how you
would look, sound, act, and feel as a master of the Will.
Perhaps you are an executive in a corporation, or a commander
on the battlefield, or a lover in the throes of passion, or a
mountain climber on a Himalayan peak, or a Yogi in a difficult
posture, or a detective tracking down a notorious criminal.
Whatever scenes come to mind, always be the master of
yourself, commander of others, and in control of the world
around you. Never doubt, never hesitate, never give up, never
give in, never falter, never fail. Feel how satisfying it is to have
a Will of iron; savor all the good things it brings you; revel in
your own power!
Continue this meditation for at least several minutes. As you
come out of it, realize that you can return to this state of Will
mastery at any time, using your Rakuzhin mudra as a trigger.
You can clasp your hands and say to yourself something like:
“I am a master of my Will; I am a master of the universe”, and
it will be so.
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The Dark Knight Mind
Do things “right” for a week. Accomplish everything you are
supposed to do, on schedule. Don’t deviate from your daily
routines, job, homework, diet, exercise, etc. Keep a journal of
your activities, and write notes to yourself if necessary.
This is an important way to prove to yourself that you are
actually capable of controlling your life. If you find that you
can’t do this, reduce the time period to a few days, and keep
. trying. Examine your journal to see where you are failing, and
redouble your efforts. There are no shortcuts here; you simply
must work through your tendency to slack off, get distracted,
and forget what you are supposed to be doing.
Note that the purpose of Dark Knight training is not to turn you
into a drone who operates according to a fixed routine. This
exercise is simply a test of your willpower, to see if you have
the ability to organize and command your life. This is critical,
because if you can’t command yourself, you will never be able
to inspire or command others!
Evaluate your life and identify your mental and physical habits.
Alter or eliminate one habit for a week. For example, you
could stop smoking, drinking coffee or watching television,
masturbate with your opposite hand or eliminate dairy products
from your diet. It is better to make a small change than to try to
make a larger change and fail – you should condition yourself
for success, not failure. Willpower is like a muscle; the more
you exercise it the stronger it will become. Repeat the process
with another habit for another week. Record your results in
your Dark Knight journal.
Note: It is easier to replace one habit with another than to go
“cold turkey” and totally eliminate a bad habit – your mind
naturally wants to fill the “hole” left by the old habitual
behavior with something else. If you are having trouble
eliminating an unwanted habit, try replacing it with one that is
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more desirable – for example, a smoker might suck on a
lollipop every time he gets a craving for a cigarette.
“An idea that is developed and put into action is more
important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” –The
The path of the Dark Knight is not merely one of thought and
meditation, but of action. Action is how the Dark Knight tests
and proves himself – by committal deeds that transform him
and take him further on his Dark Knight’s journey. Therefore,
the Dark Knight Path is designed to cultivate, above all, what
Ra’s al Ghul told Bruce Wayne is everything: the will to act.
How do you develop this will? ...
One of the most powerful techniques for steeling your will to
accomplish any objective is to commit yourself through
dramatic public acts.
A famous example from history was the story of the
Conquistador Hernan Cortes, who, after his arrival in Mexico
in 1519, ordered his men ashore, then burned and sunk all their
ships. What more powerful way to steel the will of his men,
lost in a hostile new world, hungry for gold and glory, that the
only way out was conquest!
The result of this dramatic commitment ritual was one of the
. great history-making adventures of all time. For this small,
beleaguered band of stranded Europeans would go on to
conquer an empire– the powerful Aztecs – within two years,
and become the vanguard for the conquest of two continents by
their own civilization. Such is the power of a Will that knows it
has nothing to lose, inspired by visions of greatness.
You can use commitment rituals in your own life for the same
purpose. For example, you might announce publicly, to other
Dark Knights, to family, to the world, that you are going to ...
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Don’t underestimate the power such acts can have, both
on your own psyche and the minds of others. Like Cortes’ shipburnings,
commitment rituals send a powerful message to both your conscious and unconscious mind,
that you have no choice but to push forward and accomplish your goal.
Fear is the mind-killer. A Dark Knight must learn to make fear
his ally, not his enemy.
In Batman Begins , Bruce Wayne had an intense fear of bats
since he was a child. It was this fear that caused him to leave
the opera early the night his parents were murdered; if he had
not been so fearful, they might have left the opera with the
crowd and never faced the street criminal who murdered his
parents. In this way, bats became a symbol of not just his
greatest fear, but his traumatic experience, and the pain and
rage it had caused him ever since.
Think of something elemental that frightens you, such as an
animal, place, aspect of nature, or type of person, and think of a
way to confront it. Before facing your fear, perform a zazen
meditation to calm your mind. It may be helpful to recite the
Dark Knight Litany Against Fear:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death
that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will
Now face your elemental fear head-on. For example, if you are
afraid of fire, participate in a firewalking ceremony. If you fear
water, take up scuba diving. If you are afraid of bats, find a
place where bats congregate, and meditate in their presence. If
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you are afraid of spiders, capture several large ones and keep
them in your home as pets for a while. If you are afraid of
heights, climb to the top of several buildings, trees or cliffs and
. meditate there, or bungee jump off a bridge. If you fear some
group of people, go where they congregate and spend several
days in their presence. If you fear the wilderness, take several
long hikes into forests, deserts or mountains, until you are
comfortable there. If you are scared of the dead, meditate in a
graveyard for several nights. If a particular person intimidates
you, confront him or her and interact with them until you are
no longer intimidated.
In each case, try to incorporate your elemental fear into your
new persona – conquer your fear by “becoming” it. Bruce
Wayne feared bats, and chose to make them part of himself
through his Batman persona. In this way, he no longer feared
them, but was able to strike fear in the hearts of his enemies. If
you fear the dead, perhaps you will make skulls part of your
Dark Knight persona, by keeping skulls in your lair,
incorporating skull imagery into your costume, and making it
part of your name. The possibilities are endless; use your
imagination, flair for the dramatic and sense of humor to laugh
in the face of your most elemental fears!
Repeat this exercise for at least one more elemental fear, and
record your experiences in your journal.
In Batman Begins, after falling down a well, Bruce Wayne’s
father tells him: “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn
to pick ourselves up.” ...
Bungee jump, skydive, cliff dive, fire-walk
Legitimate Fears: being alone, responsibility,
One of the most effective ways to overcome any fear you may
have is to find someone who doesn’t share your fear, and take
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them as a role model. Observe how they think and act toward
the thing that frightens you, and adopt their mindset and
abilities. Just knowing that another person has overcome your
fear acts as a powerful suggestion to you that your fear is
beatable, and gives you the confidence you need to defeat it.
This is where mentoring is critical on the Dark Knight Path.
For this exercise, identify a powerful fear you wish to conquer.
Now find someone who has already conquered that fear, and
take them as a mentor. If you can’t find a person in real life,
use someone you have read about, or seen in the media. Study
them carefully and adopt their mentality toward your fear. You
may wish to imagine that their spirit is possessing you when
you go to face your fear. Do this repeatedly, until you become
conditioned to the fear, and are no longer limited by it. As you
do so, gradually withdraw the spirit of your mentor, until it is
just you, facing your fear alone, and conquering it. Now you
have become the master, and can act as a mentor to future
disciples of the Dark Knight Path.
. After the Dark Knight Acolyte crosses the threshold to the
Nighttime World, he (or she) enters into an intensified state of
existence, in which his life is infused with a powerful new
sense of meaning, learning and challenge.
Where is this Nighttime World, and how do you find it? There
are endless possibilities, depending on your personal
circumstances, inclinations, and the times in which you live.
Below we discuss a few common examples of Nighttime
Worlds, and some of the exceptional individuals who entered
into them.
Times of war are a powerful breeding ground for Dark
Knights; for what world more powerfully reveals the darker
truths of human existence, tests our will, or requires us to face
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our fears and perform heroic acts, than war?
Muhammad himself spoke of the power of war to act as an
intensifying, transformative experience when he said:
"The sword is the key of heaven and hell; a drop of blood shed
in the cause of Allah, a night spent in arms, is of more avail
than two months of fasting or prayer."
For many Muslims, the experience of going off to fight “jihad”
– holy war – is an archetypal Nighttime World experience. ...
Even those who became villains, such as Osama bin Laden and
other veterans of the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union,
were surely transformed by their Dark Knight’s journeys into
the Nighttime World.
As terrible as war can be, for many veterans it becomes a
transformative experience,
For Morihei Ueshiba, the great budo master and founder of
Aikido, the Nighttime World of war transformed him twice. In
1924, Ueshiba was part of an expedition to war-torn Mongolia
as a member of a Shinto/Buddhist religious sect. The group
was sponsored by the ultra-nationalist “Black Dragon Society”,
who sought to establish a pro-Japanese religious kingdom in
Mongolia. The expedition was captured by Chinese troops,
who executed the Mongol members of the expedition but
allowed the Japanese to return to their country. The following
year, Ueshiba had a spiritual awakening, after which his martial
arts skills greatly increased and he began to establish his new
Aikido practice.
Ueshiba’s second transformation came in 1942, at the height of
World War II. Previously associated with a “hard” approach to
martial arts, and adviser to many militant elites of Imperial
Japan, Ueshiba began to preach a more peaceful approach after
he had a vision of a “Great Spirit of Peace”:
The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not
a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to
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The Dark Knight Mind
compete and better one another are making a terrible
mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a
human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to
prevent such slaughter – it is the Art of Peace, the power
of love. (Ueshiba, Morihei (1992).The Art of Peace.
Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications.)
After the War, Ueshiba went on to establish Aikido as a
universal, peaceful martial art for all peoples of the world. He
serves as a powerful example of a Dark Knight who was
transformed by the darkness of his Nighttime World
experiences into a “peaceful warrior” rather than a “dark
(Contrast bin Laden’s experience)
Sometimes, the psychological pressures of war can be too
much, and they transform a Dark Knight into someone who
resembles a villain more than a hero. Consider, for example,
some of the veterans of the jihad in Afghanistan against
Russian occupation. While they may have started as a noble
effort to expel ... some of these warriors would form the
organization known as al Qaeda, and go on to launch terrorist
attacks around the world – notably the attacks of September
11th, 2001.
Gurdjieff travelling, meeting with remarkable men
In Batman Begins , Bruce Wayne spent years travelling the
world, living among criminals and committing crimes himself
in order to understand their mindset.
For some, attaining fame and/or fortune acts as a Nighttime
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
World – a period of intensified living that drives them to some
personal crisis or confrontation with the dark side of life.
Perhaps they encounter extreme corruption, greed, hunger for
power, or personal demons such as addiction, lust and
arrogance, which drive them
Joining the circus?
A Dark Knight is not merely a man or woman who has
undergone a dark awakening, found a mentor, conquered fear
. and trained to become something exceptional. He has done
these things so that he may become something even greater: a
symbol of an ideal. ...
In this stage of the Dark Knight’s development, you must reach
deep into your unconscious mind – into your fears, hopes and
dreams – to find something that speaks to your essence. You
must find a symbol that expresses your unique path and
How can you do this? ...
What symbol speaks to you? Perhaps it’s an animal, a plant, or
a mineral. Maybe it’s a celestial object, god or demigod.
Perhaps it’s a man-made artifact such as a weapon or a mask.
Only you can decide what totem shall represent your unique
Dark Knight path and persona.
In choosing your totem, pay special attention to synchronicities
– coincidences that are full of meaning for you. They may be
pointing you toward your new identity and destiny.
In the Batman legend, Bruce Wayne chose the bat as his
symbol, because it was a creature of the night that could strike
fear in criminals, but also because he took the appearance of a
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The Dark Knight Mind
bat at ... as an omen of his destiny. “I shall become a bat!”
Bruce Wayne vowed, upon seeing a bat fly ... And so he did,
and soon passed into the realm of legend.
“People need dramatic examples to shake them out of
apathy and I can't do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I'm
flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but
as a symbol... as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be
There is an interesting scene in Batman Begins where Rachel
Dawes tells Bruce Wayne that she found out about his “mask”
(i.e. his Batman identity), and Bruce Wayne responds:
“Batman's just a symbol, Rachel.” Rachel replies: “No. This is
your mask (touching Bruce' face). Your real face is the one that
criminals now fear.” Rachel understands that “Bruce Wayne”
has effectively become the mask, and “Batman” has become
the real self.
This represents an advanced stage of the Dark Knight’s
journey, when your Dark Knight persona has taken on a life of
its own, and become more compelling, more real and more
powerful that your Daytime self. The Daytime self is little
more than a cover for your more important life as a Dark
Knight. At this point, the construction of your persona and your
transformation into a super-heroic being is essentially
complete. Your task now is to live out your destiny as a Dark
Knight, and live the limitations of your Daytime self far
Some of you may find it strange, impractical or dishonorable to
create a split personality and live a double life in this way. ...
If maintaining two identities is problematic for you, you may
eventually choose to merge your Daytime and Nighttime selves
. – to “come out of the closet” and reveal your Dark Knight
persona to the world. Trust your deepest instincts on this
matter, and follow the path that fits your circumstances. If your
Dark Knight persona is engaged in highly dangerous work,
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such as counter-terrorism, espionage, whistle-blowing or
undercover crime-fighting, then it will be necessary to maintain
your secret identity for your own safety and the safety of your
loved ones. But if your persona is involved in activities of a
more open nature, it may be appropriate (and more effective) to
reveal yourself. If so, you may wish to remember Maxim 7,
and use theatricality to your advantage. After building up a
mystique as a secret Dark Knight, revealing yourself in a
dramatic fashion may have more impact ...
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The Dark Knight's training regimen is divided into nine
“Halls”, or areas of skill and mastery. The Nine Halls are based
on the Nine Maxims of the Dark Knight, with each Hall
designed to develop the disciplines necessary to master the
corresponding Maxim.
All nine Halls will be attended throughout your Dark Knight
training, just as you would attend different halls of a university
throughout your education. The Master might take the
Apprentice to the Hall of the Body one week, the Hall of the
Will the next, the Halls of Stealth and Mindfulness the next, or
any other combination he deems appropriate. Each Hall will
have trials associated with them, culminating in final Trials that
signify that the Apprentice has learned the basic disciplines of
that Hall.
The Apprentice achieves Dark Knight standards of physical
fitness, strength, agility and general health. Rigorous physical
exercises, difficult climbs The Apprentice who completes this
Hall becomes a “Master of Fitness”.
The Apprentice who completes this Hall becomes a “Master of
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The Apprentice learns methods of meditation, intuition and
observation to make himself more aware of his surroundings.
He will become “telepathic” in his dealings with other people
and “mystical” in his awareness of his environment. He will
develop a mindset of adaptability and “flow” with his
surroundings, such that nothing can daunt or defeat him. The
Apprentice who completes this Hall becomes a “Mystic
The Apprentice will learn to move quietly, invisibly, leaving no
trace. This means both physical stealth, such as the ability to
sneak up on a target and strike them with a staff without being
seen, and operational stealth, such as being able to travel, make
purchases, use phones, computers and identities without
leaving a “paper trail”. The Apprentice who completes this Hall
becomes a “Master of Shadows”.
The Master will put the Apprentice through a series of trials
that force him to confront his fears. For example, the
Apprentice might be made to walk on hot coals, climb to a
great height, confront an … The Master will determine the
Apprentice's dominant fear – the one overriding fear that most
. effects his life – and will be brought face-to-face with it until it
is conquered. … The Apprentice who completes this Hall
becomes a “Fear Master”.
The Master will probe the ideas, ideals and philosophical
orientation of the Apprentice. The Apprentice will hone in on a
single animating ideal, and begin to re-design his personality
and life around it. … The Apprentice who completes this Hall
becomes a “Master of Ideals”.
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The Apprentice learns to identify and harness his passions in
the pursuit of his Ideal. He does not deny his passions because
he understands that they are his greatest source of power. He
learns to cultivate his passions skillfully as an herbalist
cultivates plants so that they act as empowering medicine for
his life instead of poison. The Apprentice who completes this
Hall becomes a “Master of Passion”.
The Apprentice will learn techniques of theatricality, deception,
persuasion and psychodrama. This will include developing his
manner of speaking, his dress, his personal symbols, his
hypnotic presence, his dramatic acts, his “brand” and his public
image to best serve his Dark Knight ideal. The Apprentice who
completes this Hall becomes a “Master Magician”.
The Apprentice develops his warrior mind and body to a keen
edge. This means learning one or more martial arts to an
advanced level, focusing on not mastering not just the physical
forms, but the warrior spirit that commands them. This Hall
will balance physical training with the study of great martial
thinkers such as Sun Tzu and Musashi Miyamoto.
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This chapter describes the core of the Dark Knight Path, which
is training to become something greater and more powerful
than you are now. ...
Each area of training discussed below could be the subject of
many books, so this will necessarily be an overview. Think of
this as “Dark Knight life coaching”: a general outline of how
the Dark Knight disciple may go about his training. The details
of your program will vary depending on your individual
circumstances, path, and master, but these are guidelines that
all Dark Knights associated with our Academy are expected to
We strongly recommend that all Dark Knights-in-training keep
some kind of journal of their activities on the Dark Knight
path. Your journal serves as a vital record of ...
In creating your journal, use whatever format appeals to you
and fits with your intended persona. If you are technologically
oriented, use a cell phone, tablet or desktop app such as .... (and
make sure that you secure them and back them up!) If you
prefer an old school approach to your training, use a simple
paper journal, or even scrolls. Customize your journal with
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your own symbols, using software, paint or ink as appropriate.
You may wish to build a custom case for your journal and put it
in a special place in your Sanctum. Whatever gets you into the
frame of mind of your Dark Knight persona …
A strong body is the foundation of all personal power.
Experience proves that a fit body enhances intelligence,
vitality, confidence, perception, endurance and many other
aspects of one’s being. We therefore begin our training by
focusing on developing a hard, agile, powerful body.
The exercises in this section are designed for the active Dark
Knight of the world, who on any given day may find himself
anywhere on the planet, from a remote mountain temple to a
luxury hotel room in the heart of the urban jungle. These
exercises can be done anywhere, anytime; they require no
special equipment or facilities. All that is needed is a sound
. body and a Dark Knight’s will to physical power.
Mountain climbers
Tricep dips
Cross-punch sit-upsJumping
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Dark Knight Training
… curls
Lower Body Workout – see Fitness Shinobi
The bat-hang allows the Batman or -woman to identify more
closely with their ... animal, the bat, who are known for their
peculiar habit of resting in an upside down hanging position.
The pose also improves body core and hamstring strength,
blood circulation, spinal alignment, alertness, balance, and
accustoms the disciple to operating upside-down.
To perform the bat-hang exercises, you’ll need a sturdy
horizontal bar, which you can set-up in your sanctum. A good
choice is an inversion bar and gravity boots system, which
allows you to hang comfortably for long periods from any
standard doorframe. You can also perform bat-hangs outdoors
on a gate, playground equipment, or sturdy branch. You’ll want
a bar that is about shoulder height, which you can mount
Inverted Sit-ups
Inverted Squats
Dark Knights are warriors; we believe the body is a weapon
that should be optimized to conquer fear. If you fear for your
physical safety at the hands of other men, you will never
become our kind of hero. Therefore, Dark Knights are expected
to make mastery of martial arts a top priority.
To begin, if you aren’t already enrolled in a martial arts
program, you should do so immediately. Sign up for unlimited
training at a local martial arts center, or personal instruction
from a master if you are more advanced and can afford it.
Depending on where you live, there may be many programs
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
available, such as karate, mixed martial arts, ninjutsu, tae kwan
do, kung fu, krav maga, judo, aikido, systema, etc. Which
martial art you choose isn’t critical, as long as you begin to
make it a regular part of your life, and choose one that will give
you real fighting skills and spirit. As our first Maxim states, the
body is your weapon, which should be optimized. Whatever
battles you may fight on your Dark Knight’s journey, there is
no substitute for having the physical ability and confidence to
defend yourself. Martial arts training will help you –
physically, mentally and spiritually – to overcome any
adversity you will face on your path.
Choose the martial arts that you are most drawn to, and which
fits best with your developing persona. There is nothing wrong
with “softer” or less “practical” martial arts, if you are attracted
to them. For example, a Dark Knight named “Shadow Blade”
might choose to train in kendo, iaido and tameshigiri because
he has made the Japanese sword arts central to his persona. A
Dark Knight named “Taiji-2” with a Taoist persona might study
taichi and chigung along with kung-fu to deepen his training in
the Taoist mind-body arts. Just be sure to train in at least one
martial art that teaches real self-defense and combat skills –
Dark Knights may wear costumes and have colorful names, but
we’re much more than cosplayers. We can fight!
In addition to martial arts mastery, the Dark Knight disciple
should develop one or more special skills that help define your
persona. Use any advanced skills you already have, and
dedicate yourself to acquiring new ones. Choose skills that will
be useful in both your “day job” profession and in your
nightime activities as a Dark Knight.
Here are some examples of special skills that would be useful
for a Dark Knight:
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Dark Knight Training
Criminology & Forensics
Hypnosis and Interrogation
Technology & Invention
Boating and ... (name for marine skills)
Stealth and Deception
Acting and Disguise
Business and Finance
Stage Magic
confronting fear, dark side of mind
The Dark Knight’s training is all about learning to operate in
the shadows, in both the physical and psychological sense.
Shadow work is the process of ... the unconscious, dark parts of
your minds, and integrating them into your conscious self.
Meditation should be part of every Dark Knight disciple’s daily
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
The teachings of the Dark Knights demand that an acolyte
develops a powerful mind and will, which can in turn only be
housed inside a powerful body. To neglect the body is
dangerous, for the acolyte who does so learns that the Will
burns inside as a flame, and consumes the flesh if the body is
not properly trained. The dark side especially is dangerous, as
it opens the acolyte to contact with powerful and volatile
energies and elementals, and so the flesh must be hardened like
steel in order to properly harness them. The Dark Knight
practice of Diamond Body meditation allows the Dark Knight
to use the Will to harden the body, protecting themselves from
internal energies and also from external threats. NB. Believe
that this is not merely a visualization, but a willed evolution on
the physical level.
Begin the meditation in your Sanctum. Assume a seated
position, cross legged on the ground. Maintain a relaxed,
upright position. Slow your breathing, so that you feel a sense
of calm detachment.
Visualize yourself in detail, as you are currently, from your
head to your feet. Become aware of your strengths and
weaknesses on a physical level.
Now visualize an evolved Dark Knight version of yourself.
This form has no weaknesses. It is hard and strong, like a
black diamond. It regenerates from harm quickly, and does not
easily age or become tired or sick.
Focus on becoming this new being. See your body changing,
shifting into an idealized, supernatural version of yourself. You
. are still you – human – but now harder and sharper, like a black
diamond. The Force flows freely through your veins now,
changing you, making you stronger and stronger with each
Maintain this core meditation for at least 30 minutes. Repeat
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Dark Knight Training
during the day when you feel tired or weak.
As you embrace this practice, the Tao will direct you to
various opportunities to create the new body. You may
feel the urge to begin a particular sport or exercise
Your appetites and eating habits may change drastically,
as the new body begins to impose itself on you.
Embrace those opportunities and urges.
Maintain a daily written record of your experiences. At
the end of the month, write an evaluation of the change
in yourself and in your behavior. Be critical and direct.
After one month, submit the evaluation to
Dark Knight yoga is a recommended part of every Dark
Knight’s spiritual training. … DK yoga consists of various
physical poses (called asanas), breathing exercises and mental
Dark Knight asanas tend to be more strenuous and athletic than
common yoga asanas, emphasizing flexibility, strength and
willpower. Below are some of the asanas we recommend for
Dark Knight training. As always, your training should be
customized to fit your individual persona.
hands clasped tightly together, both middle fingers extended
straight up. ... “The will is everything” is one of the maxims
every Dark Knight lives by, and should be reinforced by
meditating upon this mudra regularly.
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Create your own custom mudra to reflect your personal
symbolism and identity. Associate the mudra with whatever
state of mind or ability you identify with most strongly, and use
it as a psychological “anchor” you can call upon when you
need that ability.
For example, a Dark Knight named “Night Owl” who takes the
owl as his symbol might use an “owl mudra,” where he clasps
. his hands together, with only forefingers and little fingers
extended, to represent the ears of an owl. Night Owl might use
this mudra in his mindfulness or extended awareness
meditations, to associate it with his trademark ability: calm
watchfulness and perception. By doing this exercise regularly,
Night Owl can go into a deep state of perception simply by
placing his hands in the owl mudra position – the mudra
provides a “psychic superpower” he can call upon at will.
The Dark Knight is encouraged to develop exceptional skills
and abilities that may seem like magic or superpowers to the
uninitiated. For the goal of our path is the awakening of
abilities which lay dormant within each of us, and which only
require the right external conditions and self-discipline to bring
forth. There is an ancient literature of such abilities,
particularly in the East, but increasingly in the West as well,
about the seemingly superhuman powers which masters of
various inner disciplines may develop. Here are some such
powers to consider and research further, if you feel so inspired.
Tummo: Tummo (“inner fire”) yoga is a technique of
breathing and visualization that has been scientifically shown
to generate tremendous core body heat. Tummo was developed
by … and described in a famous work called “...”. Tibetan
monks use Tummo to survive nights in freezing cold in the
Himalayas, evaporating the water from wet robes, as part of
their training. Clearly this discipline could be quite useful to
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any Dark Knight!
Kuji-Kiri: Kuji-Kiri (“The Nine Cuts”) is the mystical system
of mudras (hand yogas) used by the ninja to trigger nine
heightened states of mind for use in different situations.

KujiKiri originated with the yogis of India thousands of years ago, and was transmitted to China
and Japan by Taoist and Buddhist monks.
It is part of the esoteric Buddhist practice of the yamabushi and shugenjas
– the mountain hermits and fighting monks of feudal Japan, some of whom became the legendary ninja.
In its fullest aspect, Kuji-Kiri is a system of esoteric magic that is said to allow the practitioner to read minds,
control weather, tap into superhuman strength and more.
is a proven science that taps into powers of the mind that may seem psychic or magical.
To be able to probe someone's mind and extract repressed memories, or use the power of suggestion
to influence their behavior, or “cloud men's minds” like the fictional Shadow and pass by unnoticed, or cure
a destructive habit, or give someone the ability to undergo surgery without anesthesia
– all of these powers and more are possible for the master hypnotist.
The Polish “psychic” Wolf Messing was able to get bank tellers to hand over money and even talk his way
past guards to get into the presence of Josef Stalin, the most well-guarded man
in the world, using his hypnosis skills.
Hypnotists can put crowds or even entire countries under their spell.
The uses of hypnosis for a Dark Knight should be obvious, and of great interest!
Siddhis: ...
Dark Knights may take apprentice Batmen (aka “sidekicks”)
for advanced one-on-one training. Such apprenticeship is
required for a Batman to become a Dark Knight.
Program in book is “life coaching” – meta-training, not
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
detailed training.
Physical Fitness:
9 part Batman workout image
Martial Arts: enroll in martial arts program – ninjutsu, karate,
mma, tae kwan do, kung fu, judo, etc.
Stealth & Assassin Skills: military special forces, apprentice to
a Dark Knight
Criminology & Forensics: get degree in criminology and/or
forensics, work as policeman, detective, private investigator
Driving: go to driving school, get personal training
Technology: technical school, self-taught, train under Dark
Knight tech expert.
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The Dark Knight's basic skill set should combines the
capabilities of a Special Forces soldier, spy, detective, martial
artist, psychologist, actor, stage magician and entrepreneur.
These skills include the following:
Unarmed combat
Armed combat (blades, firearms, blunt weapons, etc.)
Wilderness survival
Breaking & Entering
Intelligence Gathering
Information technology
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Branding and Marketing
Human psychology
Linguisitics and speech
This is a lot to learn...
The following is an outline of the trials that the League of Dark
Knights may use to test your abilities in the basic skills of the
Dark Knight. The precise nature of your trials will not be
revealed until you are ready for them.
Unarmed Combat: Develop some proficiency in some form
of unarmed combat. This could mean enrolling in a local
martial arts program, such as mixed martial arts, tae kwan do,
karate, kung fu, krav maga, judo, ninjutsu, systema, etc., and
reaching the … (belt) level. Or you could complete a self-
. defense course such as those offered by … police departments
… Even better, train privately with an expert in some combat
system, learning at your own pace and receiving instruction
that is personalized to your strengths.
Choose the combat system that you are most drawn to, and
which best fits your developing persona. Be sure the system
teaches real fighting skills, and isn't a softer martial art such as
tai chi. On your Dark Knight’s journey, there is no substitute
for having the physical ability, mental strength and selfconfidence
Test: Demonstrate your proficiency in the combat style of your
choice against a DKA Master.
Climbing: Every Dark Knight must develop the ability to
climb over any type of physical obstacle. They will need to
demonstrate basic proficiency in each of the following skills:
scaling walls, rappelling, climbing trees, rock-climbing,
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Basic Skills Training
If you are training with a Master, … If you are self-training,
Some of these skills can be acquired from … courses in rockclimbing
outward bound, military, SWAT, boy scouts,
Test: Complete three climbing tasks (tree, cliff, building) at a
DKA training site.
Driving: ddd
Test: Drive through an obstacle course within a designated time
without hitting any obstacles.
Stealth: The Dark Knight seeks the darkness and stays silent.
Tests: Sneak through a guarded facility without being spotted.
Find an urban hide and observe a target without being spotted.
Travel across country without being spotted.
Breaking and Entering:
Test: Break into a facility and obtain an item of interest.
Test: Don a disguise and successfully pass yourself off as
someone else. Take advantage of your disguise to gain
information and/or access to a restricted area.
Illusion: Successfully fool a group of people by creating an
illusion. This could be a sleight of hand trick, an audiovisual
illusion using video cameras, a staged operation such as a
distraction or false flag event, etc.
Wilderness Survival:
Test: go into a wilderness area with only a knife and survive for
a week or more.
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Test: Create a Dark Knight “brand” – your name, symbol,
public image, etc. Do something to establish your brand in the
minds of others, such as leaving calling cards, staging a
publicity stunt or making an example of someone to
demonstrate the power of your Dark Knight persona.
Forensics: Analyze a crime scene and find important clues to
the identity of the perpetrator.
Urban Exploration: Explore sewer tunnels, storm drains,
rooftops, basements, elevator shafts, abandoned buildings,
water towers, … This will develop many important Dark
Knight skills, including stealth, agility, breaking & entering,
fearlessness, navigation, operating in darkness, escape and
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The disciple is given a trial to reach the place of his new life or
place of training. For example, he might have to walk a long
. distance, travel to a remote land, climb a mountain, find a
secret place, solve a puzzle or overcome some obstacle.
The Crossing is a first test of the disciple’s commitment,
strength and will. It weeds out the weak and the non-serious,
while keeping the place of training secure from the uninitiated.
It also serves to reinforce in the disciple’s mind that he is
entering a new world, and leaving his old life with its old rules
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne had to find a rare flower and
make a grueling hike up a mountain to find the monastery of
the League of Shadows. Obviously, the more difficult the
Crossing, the more powerful the effects are likely to be. ...
“You've traveled the world to understand the criminal
mind and conquer your fears. But a criminal is not
complicated. And what you really fear is inside yourself.
You fear your own power. You fear your anger, the drive
to do great or terrible things. Now you must journey
inwards. You are ready. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe in your
fears. Face them. To conquer fear, you must become fear.
You must bask in the fear of other men. And men fear most
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what they cannot see. You have to become a terrible
thought. A wraith. You have to become an idea! Feel your
terror cloud your senses. Feel its power to distort. To
control. And know that this power can be yours. Embrace
your worst fear. Become one with the darkness. Focus.
Concentrate. Master your senses. You cannot leave any
What is your greatest fear, or the one that defines your path?
This trial tests that fear, forcing you to embrace it, and conquer
The Fear Purging trial will be different for each disciple,
depending on their fear. The Master should create a
We can’t describe it in detail, but ...
This trial should be shamanic – it should alter the
disciple’s consciousness and be traumatic enough to force a
change in his perceptions.
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne inhaled the fumes of a
psychoactive flower, then was forced to ... ninjas ... His final
test was to open a box, unleashing a swarm of bats around him.
Wayne faced the bat swarm, allowing them to engulf him. In
his altered state, this created a new perception that bats weren’t
enemies to be feared, but allies to be befriended. His master,
Ducard, announced “you have purged your fear,” planting a
powerful suggestion in Bruce’s mind to reinforce his new
The trial had its intended effect, because from then on,
. Bruce Wayne was comfortable with bats; he allowed them to
swarm around him in his batcave and out in Gotham City,
striking fear in the hearts of criminals.
Examples of fear trials:
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Dark Knight Trials
Spending a night in a cave or chamber full of bats, rats,
snakes, spiders, etc.

Walking on hot coals.
Spending time in a war zone.
Spending time around dead bodies in a morgue,
graveyard, charnel ground or catacombs.

Being “buried alive” in a grave or sealed tomb.
Diving off a cliff.

Bungee jumping
“We have purged your fear. You are ready to lead these
men. You are ready to become a member of the League of
Shadows. But first, you must demonstrate your
commitment to justice.” –Henri Ducard to Bruce Wayne
After his Fear Purging, Bruce Wayne’s next trial was to
demonstrate his commitment to the ideals of the League of
Shadows – to “justice” and “defeating evil.” This required him
to execute a criminal by his own hand. Wayne considered this
unjust, and instead of executing the criminal, he attacked his
Master, burned down the League’s temple and fled. On one
level, Wayne failed his trial, but on another level he passed a
greater trial: his willingness to defy unjust orders and take
heroic action.
Your Commitment Trial will depend on your Master and ...
This Trial will demonstrate to other members of the League of
Dark Knights that you are truly committed to our ideals. You
will take an action from which there is no going back, and
prove not only to us, but to yourself, that you belong among us.
Once the Dark Knight Aspirant crosses the threshold to his
Monastery, he should be interrogated immediately by his
Mentor. The Mentor should ask the Aspirant what he is seeking
at the Monastery. After receiving an answer, the Mentor should
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make a statement of what will be required of the Aspirant to
fulfill his quest. The Mentor should ask the Aspirant if he is
ready to begin. If the Aspirant says “no”, he is sent away from
the Monastery. If he says “yes” or is uncertain, he should be
immediately probed and challenged in a way that relates to his
quest. For example, if the Aspirant says he is seeking more
. power, he might be asked “what is power?” and “what will you
do with power?” He might then be told “you want to see
power?”, followed by a demonstration of power by the Mentor
that in some way awes and/or humiliates the Aspirant. This
challenge should be another test of the Aspirant’s will, and his
fear, ideally when the Aspirant is still exhausted from the
Threshold Crossing trial.
Our model for the Aspirant Interview comes from the scene in
Batman Begins where Henri Ducard interviews Bruce Wayne,
who has just completed his Threshold Crossing trial and is
exhausted from his hike up the mountain to the League of
Shadows’ monastery:
Ducard: What are you seeking?
Wayne: I seek the means to fight injustice. To turn fear against
those who prey on the fearful.
Ducard: To manipulate the fears in others you must first
master your own. Are you ready to begin?
Wayne: I can ... I can barely stand.
Ducard: Death does not wait for you to be ready! Death is not
considerate or fair! And make no mistake, here you face death.
Tiger. Jujitsu. Panther. You're skilled. But this is not a dance.
And you are afraid. But not of me. Tell us, Mr. Wayne, what do
you fear?
Wearing your Acolyte uniform, make a night excursion to a
wilderness area as far from civilization as you can get. You
should do this exercise on a moonless night far from city lights.
Bring only the bare minimum of equipment with you, such as a
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Dark Knight Trials
knife, firestarter and water. This trial is intended to test your
wits, survival instincts, and night awareness, not your ability to
purchase hiking gear. Perform the exercises below …
In your black uniform, without light, move stealthily through
the wilderness for several hours. Use your night vision and try
to move instinctively through the darkness. Pause periodically
and perform zazen, nature meditation (see below) or other Dark
Knight exercises that you have learned. … Darkness is a Dark
Knight’s natural habitat, so you must become as comfortable in
it as others are in daylight.
As you move through the wilderness, try to sense any predators
or other animals in your midst. If you detect any intelligent
animals, hide from them and see if you can stalk them. Observe
the animals closely and see what you can learn from them
about survival in a predatory world. If you are skilled enough,
you may get an opportunity to kill an animal yourself. If so,
you should prepare and eat the animal where it falls or pack it
out to be consumed later. When you consume the animal’s
flesh, give some thought for its part in the eternal struggles of
life. All wild animals are naturally in harmony with the Dark
Tao, and deserve a Dark Knight disciple’s highest respect!
. Sit comfortably in a meditative position and open your senses
to the raw nature that surrounds you. Listen for the sounds of
nocturnal animals, smell the scents of earth, flora and fauna,
look for the signs of life’s eternal struggles in the shadows, feel
the planet’s surface beneath you as it spins through the cosmos.
Do this meditation for at least a half an hour; the longer you sit
quietly, the more nature will reveal to you.
Most Dark Knights operate in urban areas much more than in
wilderness areas, and will want to become even more adept in
the urban jungles than the rural ones. One of the best ways to
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
familiarize yourself with the true nature of the urban jungle is
to simply observe it in the darkness.
Find a concealed location high above the city, such as a
rooftop, wall, pole or balcony. You should choose a location
where there is significant activity in the streets below –
particularly criminal activity. Binoculars or a telescope are
recommended to help you zoom in on locations of interest.
Make sure you have at least one escape route from your post if
you have to make a hasty retreat.
In this spot, simply observe what goes on in the urban jungle
below. Don’t make any noises or movements that will reveal
your presence. Don’t eat, take a bathroom break, use a mobile
phone or do anything else to distract you from your
observation. Stay in this spot for at least four hours during
darkness, and note everything that you see.
Repeat this exercise for at least three nights, and note any
patterns in the activity. Also try at least two other locations for
three nights each, and note any differences in activity that you
observe. ...
The Dark Acolyte must develop a mindset that all things are
possible. He must see the world as a test of his will and a set of
obstacles to be overcome on the path to Dark Knighthood. An
excellent way to develop this mindset and develop new skills is
by giving yourself challenging outdoor trials.
Set yourself at least two challenging outdoor trials for the next
month, which will test your physical strength, endurance,
willpower and agility. The possibilities are endless, and will
depend on your environment and resources. Here are some
Climb a tall tree
Climb a cliff, rock formation or steep slope
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Dark Knight Trials
. Scale a building
Bungee jump off a bridge
Canoe or kayak down a river, across a lake or ocean
Climb up a mountain
Hang from a cliff, bridge or building
Meditate under a freezing waterfall
It is essential that these tasks contain a strong element of
danger, such that you may experience injury or even death if
you are weak or incompetent. Shame your Daytime Self with
your feats of derring-do! What are you waiting for? Why not
start right now?!
This Challenge tests your ability to will your body to go
outside its comfort zone, face nature and overcome shock. It is
based on an ancient practice, used by the Yamabushi fighting
monks and hermits of Japan for centuries, known asTakigyo.
To perform this challenge, you will need to locate a cold
waterfall which you can stand or sit under. If this is not
possible for you, you will need to simulate the experience
using ice-water buckets, an ice-cold shower, or some other
method. You will also need a Clan brother to assist you.
With your League brother, go to the site of the waterfall. Strip
down to a black loincloth or shorts, and perform some
preliminary exercises, such as the Willpower Mudra and FetterCutting
Code, to focus your mind.
The League brother should be standing by with a dry blanket and should
allow you at least a few minutes of mental preparation.
On the League brother’s command, slowly walk under the
waterfall, immersing your arms and legs first, then your
shoulders and neck, and finally your head. While standing
under the water, put your hands in the Willpower Mudra and
chant the Fetter-Cutting Code for as long as you can. When
you feel your body being overcome by shock and on the verge
of collapse, walk away from the waterfall. The League brother
should wrap you in the blanket and congratulate you on your
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
triumph of will. You are one step closer to Dark Knighthood!
. Page 81
The League of Dark Knights (LDK) is a community of
individuals who are walking the Dark Knight Path described in
this book, and guiding others on the Dark Knight’s journey.
The League is motivated by a conviction that the world today
needs true heroes more than ever – people dedicated to the
pursuit of ideals that bring both self-realization and benefits to
others. They believe the Dark Knight Path offers a unique,
practical path of inspiration that is well-adapted to the modern
world yet timeless in nature.
... The LDK is a decentralized organization, open to anyone
who lives according to the ideals laid down in this book. The
League has a three-level hierarchy: Dark Acolytes, Dark
Apprentices and Dark Knights.
LDK is a “life coaching” organization; we guide the Acolyte on
his journey to Dark Knighthood in a manner appropriate to his
life circumstances.
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Personal Evaluation – an evaluation of your life
experiences, aptitudes, passions and resources, your
current stage on the Dark Knight’s journey, and advice
on how to proceed.
Mentors – life coaches and masters on your Dark
Knight’s journey.
Places of training and suggestions for places to train.
Dark Knight Trials or suggestions for places to undergo
Initiations –
Access to Dark Knight gatherings
Access to resources shared by Dark Knights
Individuals who become fully realized Dark Knights may
choose to take ...
“When the pupil is ready, the master will appear.” —Buddhist
The League of Dark Knights maintains a database of profiles of
our members: all Acolytes, Apprentices and Dark Knights who
have chosen to participate in our organization. These profiles
contain detailed information about the members’ life histories,
skills, psychological profiles, philosophical and spiritual
inclinations, contact information and current stage of their
Dark Knight’s journey. Contact information can be as discreet
as desired, and may be as little as an anonymous email address.
One of the main functions of this database is to allow the
League to match up Acolytes who are deemed ready with Dark
Knights who are seeking Apprentices. Eligible Dark Knights
are allowed to browse the Acolyte profiles and choose an
Acolyte who is the best fit for them, in terms of personal
history, inclinations, skills and goals.
Once the Acolyte is selected by the Dark Knight, the Knight
will plan his first meeting with the Acolyte – the critical
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The League of Dark Knights
“Meeting With a Mentor” stage of the Dark Knight’s journey.
This meeting should be designed for maximum psychological
impact, using surprise, disguise or an exotic location. For
example, the Dark Knight may ...
A good example of a powerful Meeting With a Mentor was the
scene in Batman Begins where Henri Ducard first met with
Bruce Wayne. Ducard appeared by surprise, in the depths of an
Asian prison cell, at a moment when Wayne was
psychologically most vulnerable, having just been put in
solitary confinement. Ducard himself is a kind of disguise,
being in reality Ra’s al Ghul, the sinister Dark Knight and
. leader of the League of Shadows.
Dark Acolytes are the lowest ranking members of the LDK,
who have not yet been taken under the wing of a Dark Knight
and become a Dark Squire. They are expected to train
religiously, to study the methods and personas of the Dark
Knights, and to act as assistants to Dark Squires when
needed. ...
Dark Acolytes dress in a uniform style, similar to the classic
“ninja”: with black gi, balaclava, gloves and boots.
Dark Squires, also known as Dark Apprentices or sidekicks, are
Dark Acolytes who have been taken under the wing of an
active Dark Knight for intensive personal collaboration and
training. This Dark Squire The Dark Squire is ... to replace
Dark Knights and continue the League’s lineage into the future.
Dark Squires are expected to the assist their masters in their
Dark Knight work in whatever capacity is appropriate. For
example, if the Dark Knight is a private investigator, the Dark
Squire might help him tail or track a person of interest; if the
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Dark Knight is a Special Forces warrior, the Dark Squire might
be ...; if the Dark Knight is an inventor, the Dark Squire might
assist him with product research and testing. Obviously, the
Dark Squire should ...
Dark Knights are the ...
(Example for young addict from broken family named Aaron
Aaron Black:
You have had your childhood problems and your fun and and
games. Now you must journey inwards, to what you really fear.
It’s inside you, and once you face it there is no turning back.
Your family’s problems were not your fault. Your
recovery programs are nothing. The will is everything. If you
make yourself more than an addict, more than a man – if you
devote yourself to an ideal, you can become something else
entirely: a Legend. Are you ready to begin?
Early in your Dark Knight’s journey, after your Traumatic
Experience and the discovery of your life’s purpose, you
should say a vow that commits you to that purpose. When
saying the vow, incorporate items that have a powerful
. meaning to you, such as pictures, artifacts, books or other
people. Keep one of these items near you at all times to serve
as token of your vow – perhaps a ring on your finger or a
picture on your desk. This vow ritual will reinforce in your
subconscious mind the main purpose of your life, and prevent
you from forgetting it. It is another “ritual of commitment” that
will strengthen your will to act.
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The League of Dark Knights
In the Batman comics, a young Bruce Wayne made this vow
before a portrait of his parents: “I vow that I’ll dedicate my life
to bring your killer to justice... and to fight all crime!”
(Detective Comics #235) Keep your vow simple and private
like this, and let its power guide you on your journey to Dark
Emerson Hood, say the Acolyte Oath below and take the
actions described:
I, Emerson Hood, pledge my undying loyalty to my master,
Mister Blackstone
And to the League of Dark Knights to which we belong.
I vow to struggle in the way of the Knights,
To seek the knowledge and power of the Dark Path,
To defend my master and the League to the death,
To the best of my abilities, without fear or weakness or
I stand before you and say the Dark Knight Code:
To conquer fear I will become fear.
My passion is my power
I pledge myself to an ideal
And let my will have the hour
I kneel before you and take the Dark Knight Pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the code
Of the League of Dark Knights of all nations
And to the ideals for which they fight,
One Order, under wills indomitable,
With victory and justice forever.
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Rise, Acolyte Emerson Hood.
You are now an Initiate of the League of Dark Knights.
. May you seize the night and win the day.
Black Hood, say the Apprentice Oath below and take the
actions described:
I, Black Hood, pledge my undying loyalty to my master, Mister
And to the League of Dark Knights to which he belongs.
I vow to struggle in the way of the Knights,
To seek the knowledge and power of the Dark Path,
To defend my master and the League to the death,
To the best of my abilities, without fear or weakness or
I stand before you and say the Dark Knight Code:
To conquer fear I will become fear.
My passion is my power
I pledge myself to an ideal
And let my will have the hour
I kneel before you and take the Dark Knight Pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the code
Of the League of Dark Knights of all nations
And to the ideals for which they fight,
One Order, under wills indomitable,
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The League of Dark Knights
With victory and justice forever.
Rise, apprentice Black Hood.
You are now the Black Hood, Apprentice of Mister Blackstone
of the League of Dark Knights.
May you seize the night and win the day.
Dark Knights may choose to form into groups called
Clans will meet to train, share resources, conduct operations,
initiate new members and pursue whatever particular passions
unite its members. A Clan may form in a particular region, or it
may form around a shared interest of its members. For
example, the “... Clan” might include Dark Knights from the
American Southwest, from Southern California to New
Mexico. The “Killmaster Clan” might be composed of Dark
Knights who have a shared interest in assassination techniques.
A Clan will normally have one or more Sanctums where they
. meet to conduct Clan business. Clan Sanctums are just like
individual Dark Knight Sanctums, except that they will be
known to the entire Clan and must allow all members access.
Security will therefore be more complex; in addition to giving
all authorized Clan members keys (for an indoor Sanctum), you
may want to set up a video monitoring system, sentries, guard
dogs and a system of passwords or “secret handshakes” to
screen out Clan members from interlopers.
For an outdoor Sanctum, a secluded, secret location is the most
important consideration, on property that is either owned by the
Clan or is not under any immediate jurisdiction. This could be
something as simple as a grove in the woods, a tree house or a
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
cabin, to something as elaborate as a private estate or an
underground cave complex.
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The following stories illustrate the range of possibilities offered
by the Dark Knight Path. ...
Put below somewhere else??
Ours is a very general Path, which can be applied by people of
every political, cultural, personal and spiritual orientation. You
may be “right wing” or “left wing”, “liberal” or “conservative”,
atheist or devout, “spiritual, but not religious”, “progressive” or
“traditional”, “high-tech” or “low-tech”, urban or rural,
“outdoorsy” or “indoorsy”, intellectual or instinctual, romantic
or rational, etc. – all of these types can find a unique Path to
Dark Knighthood that speaks to their inner nature.
Nor are we suggesting that the Dark Knight Path will produce
people with a common outlook, uniform opinions, or unity of
purpose. As the stories below illustrate, Dark Knights may
come to very different conclusions about their role in the
world, and may even find themselves on opposite sides of
many conflicts. We are not preaching peace at all costs or
trying to create a cult of cookie-cutter soldiers; we are
interested in helping people awaken to their true nature, and
find their higher purpose, even if it means conflict with others
who have come to different conclusions. Our emphasis is on
the authenticity of your path, not on its conformity to social
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
rules or inability to offend.
The reality of this world is that times of strife and suffering
produce more great heroism than times of peace and
complacency. Therefore we find many examples of Dark
Knights from the annals of war.
(see “The Complete Ninja Collection”, pp. 488-495)
Theodore Roosevelt is a man who made the Dark Knight’s
journey from the depths of despair to the summit of world
power. His life story reads in many ways like a real world
Bruce Wayne; Christopher Nolan, director of the Dark Knight
film trilogy, reportedly said “Bruce Wayne is Teddy
Teddy Roosevelt was born into a life of affluence in New York
City, son of a wealthy philanthropist who was admired by the
people of his city, and a hero to his son. TR was a frail child,
but developed a determination to become physically
indomitable. He took up competitive boxing as a teen ager, and
maintained a passion for martial arts throughout his life – he
trained with champion wrestlers, Japanese judo masters and
sparred regularly even while living in the White House.
Roosevelt’s Traumatic Experience came on February 14
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Tales of the Dark Knights
1884, when his wife died two days after giving birth to a
daughter, and just hours after his mother had died of fever in
the same house. Roosevelt wrote a large “X” in his diary that
day, and a single sentence: “The light has gone out of my life.”
A few days later he wrote: “For joy or for sorrow my life has
now been lived out.” Devastated, Roosevelt sold his house, left
his daughter with his sister, and moved to the Badlands of
North Dakota, perhaps to die.
But the light did not go out of Teddy Roosevelt’s life on that
fateful Valentine’s Day. Instead, the young man, who had
grown up in urbane Manhattan, found a new passion for life
among the rugged cowboys of the Western frontier. Roosevelt
learned new skills, a new way of life, and the value of selfreliance,
law enforcement, nature conservation and what he called “the strenuous life.”
The scrawny New Yorker was transformed into a burly rancher, big game hunter, cowboy and lawman.
During those several years in the Badlands, the great man who would later be called “the Rough Rider” was born.
As TR put it, “it was there that the romance of my life began.“
In true Dark Knight fashion, Roosevelt returned from the
Western frontier to New York City with a renewed sense of
strength, willpower and purpose. He rose quickly, becoming
police commissioner and then governor. Roosevelt fought the
rampant corruption in the city, fought for the rights of
immigrants, ...
In his classic book
Beasts, Men and Gods
, Ferdinand
Ossendowski recounts his incredible adventures in the brutal
Nighttime World of Russia and Mongolia in the 1920s during
the Russian Civil War. Particularly interesting was his account
of Tushegoun, the “avenging lama” – a Dark Knight-like
fighting monk and sorcerer who struck terror in the hearts of
. his enemies. Tushegoun was from the Kalmyk republic of
southwest Russia, the only European region with a majority
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Buddhist population. He was a Buddhist lama, a doctor and a
close friend of the 13 th Dalai Lama. But his experiences in the
prisons of the Czars and the Bolsheviks had turned him into a
fiercer type of Buddhist – the personification of Vajrapāni, the
fearful, wrathful guardian of the Buddha's wisdom.
Tushegoun travelled to Mongolia to escape persecution,
where he soon developed a great following and a fearsome
reputation – reputedly due to his irresistible mystical powers:
His influence was irresistible, based as it was on his great
control of mysterious science...its foundation largely in the
panicky fear which he could produce in the Mongols. Everyone
who disobeyed his orders perished. Such an one never knew
the day or the hour when, in his yurt or beside his galloping
horse on the plains, the strange and powerful friend of the
Dalai Lama would appear. The stroke of a knife, a bullet or
strong fingers strangling the neck like a vise accomplished the
justice of the plans of this miracle worker. (Beasts, Men and
Gods, p. 116)
In true Dark Knight fashion, Tushegoun used dramatic gestures
to terrorize the persecutors of the Mongols, such as galloping
out of he darkness and swooping down on a Chinese rabblerouser,
kidnapping him and riding off, to return only his head later in thenight.
The Avenging Lama is an example of the dark knights  created by dark times
– and few times were ever darker than Mongolia in the 1920s.
Christopher Boyce grew up in an affluent Southern California
neighborhood, a conservative Catholic altar-boy liked by all.
Highly intelligent, curious and idealistic, … Boyce's great
passion was falconry; he spent many days in the wilderness
with his childhood friend Daulton Lee, stalking and trapping
the birds, training them and using them to hunt. This hobby
gave Boyce strong wilderness survival skills and a deep
appreciation for the timeless freedom of …
“Black Vault”
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The Falcon escaped from Lompoc prison in 1980 by … Fleeing
into the surrounding wilderness and evading an intensive
search, Boyce survived on berries and insects until he was able
to take refuge with a friend. Eventually Boyce made his way to
the Northwest, where he hid out with an outlaw … in Idaho
and … went on a bank robbery spree to support himself on the
lam. Finally he made his way to the Olympic Peninsula, where
he purchased a boat with the intention of sailing to Alaska,
across the Bering Strait and defecting to Russia. Changing his
plans, Boyce began taking flying lessons, intending to fly out
. of the country to safety (Boyce later revealed in his
autobiography that he actually intended to fly back to Lompoc
and break his accomplish Daulton Lee out of prison). Boyce
was two weeks away from obtaining his pilot's license when
U.S. marshals apprehended him at a burger drive-in in Port
Angeles, Washington.
George Gurdjieff was a legendary mystic who travelled the
world in the early 20 th century in search of esoteric knowledge
and meetings with remarkable men. Gurdjieff's journey began
when he witnessed seemingly miraculous events as a child
which no one in his village could explain. These traumatic
experiences, which shattered the Daytime World of his
upbringing, compelled him to set out on a lifelong quest to
understand them.
Gurdjieff's quest would take him to
sacred sites in Egypt, monasteries of Tibet, ruins in the Gobi
desert, Sufi Orders in the Levant, and to a legendary secret
community in the remote mountains of Afghanistan called the
Sarmoung Brotherhood. Along the way, Gurdjieff fought native
tribesmen, eluded hostile soldiers, He also developed immense
esoteric knowledge, the ability to speak dozens of languages,
indomitable willpower, tremendous vitality and irresistible
personal magnetism.
After years of such travels and learning, Gurdjieff
returned to the centers of civilization, setting up communities
in Paris and New York. There, he taught the comfortable
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children of elite society to perform amazing acts of gymnastics
and self-discipline, while sharing some of his esoteric
knowledge in his sly and seductive manner. Thus Gurdjieff
became one of the first Western gurus who returned from the
East with mystical knowledge to share, and in the process
became a living legend. He is undoubtedly one of the realworld
inspirations for the many fictional Dark Knights who been transformed in the East and
returned to theWest to share the fruits of their experiences.
A recent real-world example of Dark Knights were the Mossad
kill teams who hunted down the Black September terrorists
responsible for the Munich Olympics massacre in the 1970s
and 80s. Their path began in the summer of 1972, when eight
Black September operatives killed 11 Israeli athletes at the
Olympic Games in Munich. Burning with a desire for revenge,
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir gave the green light to
“Operation Wrath of God” – a covert operation to hunt down
and kill those responsible for the so-called Munich Massacre.
Frustrated by the failure of European countries to bring the
killers to justice, Operation Wrath of God would continue for ...
years, until ... Like Batman’s exploits, this dramatic operation
sent a message to Israel’s enemies and contributed to the myth
of the Mossad’s invincibility which is probably worth more to
them than any weapon.
Undoubtedly the traumatic events of September 11
th, 2001,
. created many new Dark Knights – men and women who were
shocked out of their complacent Daytime World existence and
driven by their rage to seek vengeance against the
perpetrators. ....
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The following are stories of individuals who followed the Dark
Knight path and became something more than men. They
illustrate the key trials, pitfalls and potential of our path;
perhaps they will inspire you on your own Dark Knight’s
Aaron Black was a man who seemed well on his way to
attaining the best things in life – wealth, status, respectability,
relationships and a creative career. He was highly intelligent,
in his third year at an elite West Coast university, getting good
grades and making friends with some of the best and brightest
people. He had a career in the Valley as a tech entrepreneur and
venture capitalist all lined up for himself after graduation. He
was something of a technological wizard, with a mind for new
innovations that, with luck, could make him quite rich. And
just to complete the picture of the 21st century man of privilege,
he was handsome, athletic, and popular with the ladies. Truly,
Mr. Black had been blessed with an abundance of riches in his
life, and from the outside seemed to want for nothing.
But inside, it was a different story. Inside, Mr. Black’s mind
was racked with strange feelings he couldn’t understand or
come to grips with. He sensed that there was something vital
missing from his life, but he couldn’t put his finger on what it
was. So he began reading a few books of philosophy,
psychology and spirituality – subjects he had avoided in his
education until now – to try to understand what was bothering
him. He also spent many late hours watching online talks by
various spiritual teachers and philosophers.
Aaron found most Western philosophy and psychology
teachings rather dry and unenlightening. But in the great
Eastern spiritual traditions he found a few clues. Buddhists
spoke of dukkha – the sense of the unsatisfactoriness of life, no
matter what one achieved or possessed. They believed this to
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be an inherent part of the life, which could only be overcome
by ending one’s attachments to illusory and impermanent
things. Aaron discovered that Muslims had a similar belief: that
attachment to dunya – the transient things of this world – was
. an evil to be avoided. Hindus and Taoists also taught that the
world was without form, immaterial, and all attempts to control
or mold it were doomed to fail. Was Aaron's perfect
materialistic world a giant lie?
Then one sunny spring day, Aaron Black’s abstract sense of
dissatisfaction with his near-perfect life was shattered by an
overwhelmingly real crisis. For that was the day he watched ...
What was Aaron supposed do, confronted by this unforeseeable
act of evil? What in his life of had prepared him for such a
moment of irrationality, chaos and darkness?
Nothing. He
realized right then how ignorant and deprived he truly was. He
felt in his bones the nakedness of his existence; the disarmed
and impotent nature of the man who sleepwalks toward success
without spiritual struggle. He had been living a lie – a dream
that had suddenly turned into a nightmare.
Five days later, after attending the funeral of his brother and
spending three days with his ..., Aaron Black boarded a plane
headed for ... without bothering to notify anyone at his school
that he wouldn’t be completing his courses that semester, or
telling family or friends where he was going. He simply
In fact, Aaron had gone to ...
… (Enrolls in strict Zen monastery in British Columbia)
Aaron’s Threshold Crossing came on the cloudy winter’s day
… The previous day, he taken a ferry across the Strait of Juan
de Fuca from Port Angeles, a rather run-down port town in the
far northwestern corner of the United States, to Victoria, a
much more pleasant city on the southwestern tip of Canada.
The customs agents had given him a bit of a grilling, but he
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answered their questions … From the Victoria …,
Early the next morning, Aaron boarded the first city bus to a
park on the outskirts of town, where he had been instructed to
meet his contact from the monastery at 7 am. He brought only
a small rucksack with water, snacks and minimal clothing.
wore khaki pants, walking shoes and a light jacket … Arriving
a few minutes early to the empty park, he found a man waiting
for him … The man was dressed in a dark track suit, with a
shaven head and healthy physique that made it difficult to
determine his age. As he got closer and exchanged greetings,
Aaron could see from the fine lines around his eyes that the
man was surely at least forty, and possibly much older.
The man introduced himself as only “John”, which was the
name of the contact he had been told to expect. After a bit of
discussion about his trip and his provisions, John asked: “So,
are you ready to begin?”
When Aaron replied that he was, John nodded, motioned for
him to follow him, and said “This way please.” …
Here is the trail. It is about 30 kilometers to the monastery.
. The Night Eagle Clan gathered at their usual meeting place,
which they called the Eyrie – a craggy mesa outside of Tucson
that was said to have once been a lookout spot for Apache
scouts. The Night Eagles never doubted this legend, and the
flint arrowheads they had found at the site only confirmed it.
The Eyrie suited the Clan not only because it afforded them
panoramic views of the surrounding desert, but because getting
there required enough climbing skill that they rarely had to
worry about company. This was certainly not a concern for
them at this hour – nearing midnight. {location e.g. Battleship
Mountain, AZ}
The Clan members sat cross-legged on the rim of the mesa,
gazing intently down the sheer slopes beneath them and out
into the night. The moon hung like an immense planet in the
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black Sonoran sky; the desert below was an alien landscape,
pocked by craters, pierced by crags and carpeted in a profusion
of cacti of every shape, size and color. A vulture circled in the
moonlight overhead, perhaps drawn to this strange nocturnal
Each Night Eagle was dressed in the uniform of their Clan: gi
jacket, baggy hakama pants bound tight around the shins, face
wrap, leather sash around the waist, fingerless gloves, and a
tanto dagger strapped across the back – everything black in
color. They each wore a headband with the Clan symbol
embroidered in the center: a , wings outspread, against a round
white moon.
On this night, the Night Eagles were living up to their
namesake: watching from their high perch, waiting for their
prey to appear. They awaited the arrival of an Aspirant to their
Clan, who chosen name was Nightclaw. Tonight was to be
Nightclaw's final trial of initiation; if he passed, he would be
admitted as a full member of the Clan, with the rank of
They had not seen any vehicle parked at the base of the mesa,
nor any approach since they started their ascent. If Nightclaw
was nearby, he had done well to conceal his arrival.
The Clan Master, whose name was Talon, …
“You have done well, Aspirant Nightclaw.
. Tales of the Dark Knights
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As was their custom at such conclaves, the Clan members
brought several sliced and boiled several
The Shugendō temple where Tony Rossi trained for five years
After a devastating …, Tony Rossi travelled the world,
eventually finding himself in the mountains of Japan. There, he
took part in a … mountain trek … On this trek, Rossi made
contact with an ancient sect of Shugenja – mystic mountain
ascetics who practice Shugendō – the way of training and
testing. Rossi would stay and train with the Shugenja for 5
years, developing great spiritual strength and physical
endurance through trials such as mountain marathons, icy
waterfall meditations, walking on hot coals and cliff climbing.
He advanced to one of the highest ranks a non-Japanese ever
had within the sect, mastering many of its esoteric disciplines
and secrets.
After five years, Rossi left Japan with the encouragement of
the order to assist in establishing a Shugendō temple in
Washington state, USA.
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Benjamin Green …
Spends two years learning “Naga Yoga” at the Cobra Temple in
the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India.
Trauma: death of his brother
Fear of death, snakes
Arriving in Goa, Green quickly grew dissatisfied with the
commercialized, “tourist trap”
For more than a year, Green wandered around India, visiting
temples and ashrams, participating in rituals and yoga with
other pilgrims, taking in the sights and sounds of a different
world, without much sense of purpose or discipline. Still
feeling lost, and no closer to finding ..., he ... It was there that
. Green met a striking ..., who told him about a place called “”
(“Cobra Temple”), located in the Himalayan foothills, which
could offer him a path to a “new self.” The man’s inner power
and calm made a dramatic impression on Benjamin, and he
decided right then and there that he would visit this Cobra
Temple and learn more about their path.
At the Cobra Temple, his guru, ..., emphasized the four pillars
of the Naga Yoga practice: developing flexibility, calmness,
“venom,” and the ability to “shed one’s skin.” Flexibility meant
both the suppleness of body required for the advanced yoga
postures, and the suppleness of mind needed for whatever
surprises life throws at you. Calmness meant the relaxation,
awareness and control developed by regular “cobra
meditation”. “Venom” referred to inner power and lethal
effectiveness the Naga Templars sought to cultivate in
everything they did.
Green learned that the Nagas were founded by a
Learned Kalaripayattu and marmakkala, the ancient yogic
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martial arts of southern India. Kalaripayattu gave him skill with
bladed weapons, sticks, hand and foot fighting, climbing,
jumping and flexibility. Marmakkala taught him how to use the
body’s vital points to wound or immobilize opponents.
Sharon O’Neil was an ecology graduate student from the
University of California ... While doing field research for her
doctoral dissertation, on “... (rainforest)”, she ... has a “Gaian
awakening” after spending time in the Amazon rainforest with
shamans and native peoples. The sight of tropical rainforests –
the very “lungs” of the planet – being clear-cut by
multinational agricultural corporations to make room for crops
to feed people and livestock in distant cities awakened her to
the horrors of modern industrial civilization.
Her traumatic experience came the day she saw a native
activist get shot dead by security guards of the ... (agricultural
Her transformation to a Dark Knight began with a ceremonial
vow, taken under a full moon at the memorial near the ... where
... had been murdered.
“I vow to avenge the death of ..., and to fight all those
who cut down the forests, drive out the animals, pollute
the air, foul the seas, rape the earth, and exploit the
indigenous peoples of the world.”
Character is part Native American. Incorporates traditional
beliefs about “night eagles” (owls) into his Dark Knight
Associated with death, wisdom, intuition, watchfulness,
. spiritual guidance, personal change.
Traumatic experience:
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Primary passion:
Symbol: owl
Fear: death
Trauma: death of fellow soldiers in Iraq/Afghan
Training: U.S. special forces
Mentor: Zack “Skull-Face” Haynes. Showed him how to face
and conquer his fear of death.
Profession: soldier
Symbol: white skull on black circle
The rank-and-file soldiers were quite sick of the whole war by
now, disillusioned about its purpose, and demoralized to realize
that the people of Iraq weren't welcoming them as liberators
with flowers and hugs, but as occupiers with improvised
explosive devices and hostile glares.
At that point, something in Marcus snapped. He simply no
longer cared about the rules and regulations created by
bureaucrats in suits sitting in safe, comfortable offices
thousands of miles away, who had never looked death in the
face or lived as a warrior like he had. He realized that such
people had not earned their authority; that it was an empty,
meaningless kind of power they wielded; that real power and
authority belonged with the warriors who faced the life and
death consequences of their decisions every day on the ground.
Not that Marcus could have articulated his feelings so clearly at
that moment. For him it was an instinctual realization, which
instantly freed him from an invalid chain of command and
compelled him to act; compelled him to be a hero – at least in
his own mind.
Marcus took the sheet from his bunk and laid it out on the
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floor. With a black sharpie, he drew a cartoonish black skull
across the sheet. He gave it a rather disturbing, leering grin,
then drew a thick circle around it. Admiring his handiwork
with a grim smile, Marcus muttered: “the Skull-Face grins.”
John Zane had always been a bit of an oddball. He never liked
the company of other people much. Even as a child, he
preferred to spend his time alone in the woods, drawing or in
. quiet thought rather than out playing with friends. He always
seemed to have trouble waking up for school; his parents often
found him awake late into the night, drawing, reading or just
thinking. They sometimes scolded him and tried to change his
habits, but because he was also a child prodigy they mostly
indulged him. It was all part of being a genius, they figured.
Zane was a young man of many talents, but what he really
excelled at was ...
Zane’s Dark Awakening came on September 11 th, 2001, when
his older brother was killed in his office on the 86 th floor of the
second World Trade Center building. His brother Marcus had
been his hero as a child – the sort of well-adjusted, successful
and popular person he often fantasized about being. When
Marcus was burned alive in the blazing jet fuel on the terrible
September morning, something inside Zane snapped, and what
had been the eccentricities of a genius took a turn toward
something much darker. ...
There are a few who might accuse the Night Owl of being a
creepy character – a vigilante, a role-player, a peeping tom, a
fascist – but that wouldn’t bother him. As long as his enemies
feared him, he was content.
Skills: hypnosis, hunting, night vision, art, occult and religious
Ideal: fighting terrorism, war and violent crime against the
Sanctum: The Owl’s Nest. Located in a hidden alcove, high on
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a cliff overlooking bay and city.
Symbolism: Zane adopted the owl as a symbol, for its calm
watchfulness, its wisdom, and its ferocity toward the “rats”
who bring disease and disorder into his world.
The man who calls himself “Tao-Cat” is a cat burglar with
impressive skills an intriguing personal philosophy. He …
Steals jewelry from the wealthy. Believes this is legitimate to
restore balance of the Tao. He justifies his thievery to himself
by recalling the words of Taoist sages such as Lao-Tzu, author
of the Tao Te Ching. These sages warned repeatedly against the
accumulation of wealth, preaching that theft is a result of
valuing treasure, and ostentatious displays of wealth brings
about one's downfall. In Tao-Cat's mind, those who flaunt their
obscene wealth on their bodies in the form of jewelry were
violating the Tao, and by robbing them, he was restoring
balance to the Tao and acting as an agent of the Tao itself.
Tao-Cat's Sanctum is his garage, where he constructs tools of
his trade, including grappling hooks made by welding together
three large fishhooks. He also keeps photographs, maps,
blueprints, newspaper articles and other material useful for
planning his operations there. His secondary Sanctum is a
rented storage space where he stashes jewels and cash.
. The poster shown below is tacked on the back wall of the
Sanctum. It lists several quotes from the Tao Te Ching which
pertain to the Cat's chosen profession:
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There is no greater crime than desire.
Not valuing wealth prevents theft.
Keeping plenty of gold and jade in the palace makes no
one able to defend it.
Displaying riches and titles with pride brings about
one’s downfall.
Abandon cleverness, discard profit, and thieves and
robbers will disappear.
Greed is costly. Assembled fortunes are lost.
Who has excess and supplies the world? Only the one
who follows the Way.
Despised, homeless, penniless, … could've laid down and died
or become another broken, institutionalized ward of the state.
But he had too much pride for that.
His Sanctum is located in an abandoned sewer tunnel below the
city. Ratman makes contact with the underground community
that dwells there, enlisting them as his informants and
A fugitive from the daytime society that wronged him, he
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becomes a perpetual traveller on the fringes of society.
“Never again will I settle down and allow myself to
. become a target of governments, gangsters or
corporations. I will wander the Earth a free man,
without a fixed address, a permanent identity or a
long-term occupation. I may be poor in society's eyes,
nothing but a hobo, but I have the most precious
thing, which is the birthright of all mankind: the
freedom to wander into the next valley, without
attachments to the settled life, the prisons and gilded
cages called civilization. Thus, I consider myself
the richest man in the world.”
Rides rails, stows away on ships, hitches rides,
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Batman #431: Batman journeys to the East, trains with Master
“The Man Who Falls”:
V for Vendetta, Alan Moore.
The character “V” in Alan Moore’s famous graphic novel is an
example of a more radical type of Dark Knight. Unlike
Batman, who is an ally of the authorities and a promoter of
law-and-order, V works against the existing order of society
and is basically an anarchist and a terrorist. Yet V is surely a
Dark Knight, who wears a mask and becomes a powerful
symbol of resistance to an oppressive political system. V’s
traumatic experience was being subjected to medical
experiments as a prisoner that killed everyone but himself,
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whom they gave super-powers. He becomes a master of many
physical and mental skills, devotes himself to the ideal of
overthrowing the government, uses darker, violent methods,
builds a Sanctum called “The Shadow Gallery”, and keeps his
identity secret. For aspiring Dark Knights who find themselves
in oppressive circumstances, V offers a very different role
model from the likes of Batman that may be more appropriate.
Other comic book characters who fit the Dark Knight
archetype include Moon Knight, ... The Shroud.
The Ninja
Shibumi, Trevanian.
A brilliant novel about the making of Nicholaï Hel, a master
assassin raised in Japan who becomes the world’s most feared
professional killer. In many ways, this is a Batman myth for
adults; Hel is no generic Bruce Wayne hero, but an eccentric
aristocrat, lover, artist, spelunker and Samurai with a strong
sense of honor. Shibumi is one of those rare books, and Hel
one of those rare characters, who can truly change your outlook
and inspire you to pursue a more heroic, authentic path of life:
the Dark Knight’s path!
Death of a Citizen, Donald Hamilton.
In this novel, “counter-assassin” Matt Helm is a retired Dark
Knight, with memories of his heroic exploits as an assassin in
the Nighttime World of World War II. Now back in the
Daytime World of middle class American life, he is pulled back
into the Nighttime World of Cold War international intrigue
and assassins. Matt Helm thus becomes a “born again” Dark
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The Dark Knight Mind
Knight; he undergoes a second “death” as an ordinary citizen
and returns to the heroic and dangerous path of the Dark
Knight. The first in a series of 27 excellent novels about the
gritty exploits of super-agent Matt Helm.
The Bourne Identity (and sequels), Robert Ludlum
The Bourne Legacy (and sequels), Eric Van Lustbader
Jason Bourne is a classic Dark Knight, with a tortured past, a
. mission of justice, incredible willpower and almost
superhuman skills. Bourne’s first Traumatic Experience came
during the Vietnam War, when his wife and children were
killed by an unidentified fighter jet. Filled with rage at this
injustice and seeking revenge, his Threshold Crossing came
when he met a mentor name “Delta”, joined the secret
mercenary organization Medusa, and was trained as an
assassin. Like the League of Shadows in
Batman Begins ,
Medusa turned out to be a criminal organization, which became
Bourne’s nemesis after his second Traumatic Experience: the
killing of his brother by Medusa assassins. Bourne would
undergo another major trauma when he suffered amnesia after
nearly being assassinated, and was subsequently hunted
throughout the world by the covert agency that once employed
While often over the top, the Jason Bourne novels (and films)
are very entertaining and have many interesting details that
anyone pursuing a “spy”, “assassin” or “international fugitive”
type of Dark Knight persona can take inspiration from.
Mack Bolan is an archetypical “dark avenger” type of Dark
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
Knight, who becomes as ruthless as the criminals he fights in
order to wage his “holy war” against the Mafia. Bolan’s
Traumatic Experience came when he learned that the Mafia
had forced his sister into prostitution and driven his father to
murder his own wife and daughter. Using the skills he acquired
as an elite special operations soldier in Vietnam, Bolan targeted
the mob in cities across America. To better strike fear into the
hearts of his enemies, Bolan created his “Executioner” persona,
complete with a fearsome “blacksuit”, a marksman’s medal
calling card, and a mobile Sanctum called the “war wagon”.
Grandmaster, Warren Murphy and Molly Cochran
Tulku, Stephen K. Hayes
The following are examples of “Esoteric Fiction”: stories that
are presented as factual accounts of the adventures of
individuals who experienced powerful inner awakenings, but
which are generally considered to be fictional (or at least
highly embellished).
Carlos Castaneda
Deng Ming-Dao
Deng wrote an excellent trilogy about the adventures of a
“wandering Taoist” who is inducted into an ancient lineage of
Chinese Taoist hermits. The three novels
(The Wandering
Taoist, Seven Bamboo Tablets of the Cloudy Satchel
Gateway to a Vast World) are collected as Chronicles of Tao:
The Secret Life of a Taoist Master.
Deng does for China's ancient Taoist esoteric tradition
. what Lobsang Rampa does for the Tibetan tradition: give us a
glimpse into ancient magical world before it was disrupted by
the upheavals of the 20th century. Deng explores the secrets of
everything from Taoist philosophy and Chinese history to
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meditation, Qigong and Kung Fu.
Lobsang Rampa
Lobsang Rampa wrote an entertaining series of novels about
the past life of a Tibetan lama who has been reincarnated as a
… in 20 th century Britain. Beginning with
The Third Eye ,
Rampa takes us into the magical world of old Tibet, before the
Chinese invasion and its opening to the modern world. While
widely considered pure fiction, like Castaneda's books,
Rampa's are full of fascinating details about an ancient
mystical tradition, and contain much esoteric wisdom that
should stimulate your curiosity and stretch your imagination.
The Magus of Java, Kosta Danaos
The remarkable story of John Chang, reputed to be the master
of an ancient Taoist discipline that has given him the ability to
start fires, move objects and communicate, directly with his
mind. This book may convince you that the superpowers of the
comic book heroes are real, and available to those few with the
will and vision to seek them out.
Opening the Dragon Gate: The Making of a Modern Tao
Wizard, Chen Kaiguo, Zheng Shunchao, Thomas Cleary
Meetings With Remarkable Men, G. I. Gurdjieff.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
Hagakure (The Book of the Samurai), Yamamoto Tsunetomo
A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy,
Miyamoto Musashi
The Spiritual Practices of the Ninja, Ross Heaven.
When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chödrön
A Masters Guide to the Way of the Warrior,
by Stefan
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Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer
The amazing true story of a champion German mountain
climber who is imprisoned by the British during World War II,
escapes across the Himalayas into Tibet, where he becomes a
tutor and friend of the Dalai Lama.
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T. E. Lawrence.
. Anyone who has seen the film “Lawrence of Arabia” knows
this story: An eccentric British ... who ... in Arabia ... Lawrence
had many traumatic experiences ..., including a stay in a
Turkish prison, that transformed him from an eccentric British
scholar into a legendary figure whose exploits helped transform
the Middle East in a way that is still reverberating today.
Beasts, Men and Gods, Ferdinand Ossendowski.
The incredible adventures of a Polish journalist in the
Nighttime World of Russia and Mongolia in the 1920s.
Ossendowski experiences the true darkness that lurks in the
hearts of men, unleashed in all its horror during the Russian
Civil War. His Threshold Crossing comes at the end of the
book, when he encounters a Tibetan Buddhist mystic who tells
him about the Shambhala ... Particularly interesting was his
account of Tushegoun, the “avenging lama” – a Dark Knightlike
fighting monk and sorcerer who struck terror in the hearts of his enemies.
The Long Walk, Slavomir Rawicz The unbelievable account of a Polish army lieutenant who escapedfrom
a Siberian Gulag in 1941 with six other people and proceeded to walk 4000 miles through the Gobi desert,
Tibet and the Himalayas to reach British India.
The hardships and adventures the party endures are a true Dark Knight's
journey that should inspire anyone on this path. The 2010 film
The Way Back is based on this story.
The Falcon and the Snowman and The Flight of the Falcon
No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, by Hiroo Onoda
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Batman Begins
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
The Shadow
Bourne Identity
… .
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Dark Knight. Master of Darkness. Dark Avenger. Dark Jedi.
Black Hat. Shadow. Batman. Phantom. Punisher. There have
been many names for individuals we call Dark Knights in
fiction and in fact, but they all refer to the same breed of men.
In history, there are many examples of real orders of Dark
Knights: samurai, ninja, Hashashin, holy warriors, Knights
Templar, Shaolin monks, old Western lawmen, bounty hunters,
special forces soldiers, snipers, ... and untold other warriors,
known and unknown, who faced the darkness within their own
souls and the souls of others, conquered their fears, and became
something more than ordinary men.
Four Gates to Freedom (ninja): courage, power, clarity of
vision, zest for life (spirit)
Initiations to pass through four gates:
Walking on coals (fear)
Finding a treasure in a hidden cave (power)
Jumping into an abyss (clarity)
Wilderness vision quest (spirit)
The following was written by a Dark Knight ...( the esoteric
side of the Dark Knight’s Journey)
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
. The Dark Acolyte must journey to a place mystics call the Dark
Land: a spiritual realm accessible from the depths of your soul,
where you’ll encounter the things you most fear, hate and shun.
The Dark Land is a mysterious, elusive place not found on any
map; entrances to it normally only appear after great personal
traumas and trials.
The Dark Knight’s journey begins with your entrance into the
Dark Land, via the Traumatic Experience that begins your Dark
Awakening. The rest of your journey is about learning what
you can in that pathless land, finding a way out, ascending to
the Realm of the Immortals, and bringing your knowledge of
both realms back to the Daytime World.
Note that unlike religions like Christianity or Islam, in the Dark
Knight Path you do not end up in Hell or Paradise depending
on your conduct in the mundane world. Rather, you begin in
the mundane world, pay a visit to Hell (the Dark Land), ascend
to the heavens (the Realm of Heroes), return to earth (the
Daytime World) as a demigod, then retire and dwell for eternity
in the Realm of Heroes.
In Batman Begins , Bruce Wayne received his Dark Knight
training from “The League of Shadows,” an ancient order of
ninjas based somewhere in the mountains of East Asia. And
this is fitting, because historically, ninjas are perhaps the
closest thing to archetypal Dark Knights: shadow warriors,
masters of martial arts, stealth, deception, theatricality,
resilience and fear. ...
Ninjas practiced kyojitsu: the art of deception. The idea of
kyojitsu is to control your opponent’s perceptions, to create
illusions that induce him to act in predictable ways. This allows
you to anticipate their responses, and counter them. Kyojitsu
might be as simple as a feint in hand-to-hand fighting, and as
complex as a ... in a war.
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Kyojitsu served another vital purpose for the ninjas: it gave
them a larger-than-life reputation, as superhuman, supernatural
warriors capable of doing the impossible. Even today, centuries
after their heyday, we see the legend of the ninjas continue to
grow. Surely every aspiring Dark Knight legend can learn
much from the ninja masters of deception!
Trauma: parents killed
Awakening: reality of crime and corruption in Gotham
Leaving Daytime World: Bruce travels world
Meeting Mentor: meets Ra’s al Ghul
Crossing Threshold: travels to LoS monastery
Purging Fear: trial of darkness and bats
Test of Commitment: executing criminal
Transcending Training: escapes the monastery
. Revelation of Symbol: sees bat, becomes Batman
Developing Persona: batman costume, gadgets, etc.
Applying Knowledge: begins fighting crime in Gotham
Great Test: defeat major foe
The Dark Knight’s journey can be described as a series of
personal transformations, from less powerful and awakened
states of being to more powerful and awakened ones.
Most of us begin our journey as “sleepers”: people who live
according to the conditioned values and myths of the society in
which they are born. They
Sleeper -> Adventurer -> Warrior -> Magus -> Legend
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
The Dark Knight Path is inspired first and foremost by the
great “dark heroes” and “dark avengers” of fiction. Batman is
the most obvious of these, and the first one to actually be
referred to as a Dark Knight. In particular, we model ourselves
on Batman of the “Dark Knight” movie trilogy:
Begins, The Dark Knight, and the Dark Knight Rises
. This
masterful series brought the Dark Knight’s journey to
cinematic life, and gave the world a powerful new myth for our
time: the Legend of the Batman.
The Batman comics that inspired the films are another source
of inspiration: the original dark avenger from the 1940s,
invented by ...; the dark detective and ... from the Denny
O’Neil/ Neal Adams comics of the 1970s; the darker, edgier
Batman of Frank Miller’s “Legends of the Dark Knight” ... in
the 1980s and continuing to the present. ...
The Shadow is another important fictional Dark Knight worth
studying, since he was such a clear inspiration for the Batman.
Like the Caped Crusader, the Shadow wears a dark cloak and
masks his face; he uses fear, theatricality and a larger than life
image to terrorize criminals; he spent years in the East among
hidden masters, studying mysticism and martial arts, learning
the secrets of hypnotism, invisibility and “clouding men’s
minds”, then putting these powers to work fighting crime. Like
Batman, the Shadow was a wealthy playboy by day, who
employed ingenious gadgets and had a secret “Sanctum”
beneath his mansion from which he directed his campaign
against crime.
There are many other fictional role models for Dark Knights
worth looking at. Mack Bolan of The Destroyer novels and the
Punisher of comic books are classic “dark avengers”, who had
loved ones murdered by criminals and turned themselves into
ruthless vigilante supermen. Many fictional spies and assassins
also fit the Dark Knight archetype: Jason Bourne, Matt Helm,
Quiller, ... Nicholas Hei of Trevanian's great novel Shibumi is a
brilliant example; … Eric Van Lustbader created several
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interesting Dark Knight characters that incorporate Eastern
training and mysticism, such as Nicholas Linnear of The Ninja
series, Jake Maroc of Jian and Shan and Michael Doss of
Zero. In a somewhat different vein, the Character “V” of the V
for Vendetta comics and movie provides an example of a more
political, subversive type of Dark Knight.
All these darker heroes have undergone life-changing traumas
become larger life than life figures; men who are willing to kill
and risk death in the service of their ideals. While their exploits
may be somewhat far-fetched and unrealistic for you to try to
imitate, they can still serve as powerful role models and
sources of inspiration on your path.
In the East, there is a long tradition of larger-than-life,
perfected men – Bodhisattvas, yogis, lamas, monks – who
trained themselves relentlessly in various esoteric arts and
acquired seemingly superhuman powers. ... The Journey East,
or myth of “Shangri-La”, is really a metaphor for the journey
inward – the quest to acquire inner, occult, mystical
knowledge, or seek perfection, in a way that is unavailable in
the West.
This surely explains why so many fictional superheroes have
travelled East, to remote temples and monasteries, where they
learned ancient secrets and acquired fantastic powers under the
tutelage of mystic masters. Many fictional Dark Knights ...–
Batman, the Shadow, Doctor Strange, Doctor Doom, Nicholas
Linnear ... – acquired their special knowledge in the East and
returned to the West to apply it in the service of an ideal. ...
1. Build a better you
2. Find what drives you
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Dark Knight Academy: The Path of Legends
3. The night is darkest before the dawn
4. Be the hero we needed
5. It’s what you do that defines you
6. Be prepared for any eventuality
7. Always be kind to people
8. Always think about others before yourself
9. Give and share knowledge freely
10. Humanity deserves to be saved
Have a vision for your life
Be a lifelong student
Be humane (doesn’t kill enemies or use firearms)
Synergize (team up when necessary)
Become an active citizen
Be the leader
Be the legend
Be the best detective (observe & study)
Think strategically (backup plans, preparation)
Keep on mentoring (your ideas will live on after you)
Organizations should be built around ideas, not people
Build great, everlasting legacies
Actions matter more than intentions
Trust people with the truth
Trust the good in people
You need to risk failure in order to succeed
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Don’t let failure destroy you
Learn from mistakes
Dark Knights are individuals who have devoted themselves to
an ideal and become more than men.
Dark Knights as fully realized spiritual beings who use
physical training and crime fighting as spiritual tests of their
material beings.

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