Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Harley SwiftDeer Reagan - A Real Life "Billy Jack"

People are always looking to find a hero of some sorts one that will fight for the underdog, or just someone that has accomplished a bit more then themselves.   A not so short trip to the past brings forth memories of the 1970s “Billy Jack” action films that provided an anti-authority message combined with the then-novel martial arts fight scenes which predate the Bruce Lee/kung fu movie trend that soon followed.  If you recall, the films’ focused on the plight of Native Americans during the civil rights movement; and the determination of the leading character, Billy Jack to fight for those rights.  Well, an accomplished American, by the name of Harley Swiftdeer, of Cherokee and Irish decent was apparently the inspiration for the movie.  His impressive credentials are seemingly endless.

Harley Swiftdeer ReaganA national jujitsu champion; father of five sons; a self-made man with Ph.D's in Humanistic Psychology and Comparative Religions; an internationally recognized spokesman for American Indian customs and causes; a man who spent a year in Yuma State prison for killing a man in self-defense.  He is a healer, and teacher, and the leader of the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society, and the leader of the Ten-No-Kishi dojo in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He teaches about spiritual awakening, growth, and healing, and has practiced and taught at least three martial arts in the past as well.

With several books and a variety of training materials available on and elsewhere, Harley Swiftdeer continues to strive to bring ancient beliefs regarding balance and sustainable living to our modern times.   SwiftDeer has led a very full and adventuresome life.   He served in Vietnam in 1994, although he was a decorated Marine Corps he was discharged because of his opposition to the Vietnam War.  He was inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame in honor of his contribution within that field.   He also pursued studies in psychology, philosophy and religion. All of this rich experience and study is integrated into SwiftDeer's style and content of how he carries the Sweet Medicine SunDance Wheels and Keys.

He founded The Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society in 1986 for the purpose of gathering, translating and teaching the Wheels and Keys of the Sweet Medicine SunDance (SMSD) Path of Turtle Island.  For many ancient peoples hair symbolizes knowledge. "Twisted Hairs" refers to those who take knowledge from many sources and weave it together, synthesizing and formulating "braids of truth."  Harley also developed Chulukua-Ryu a fighting art as a synthesis of elements and techniques from the Japanese Karate and Jiu-Jitsu martial arts and 750 techniques learned from different Native American tribes; and Chulukua-Ryu was eventually recognized as a formal martial arts style, which earned him the Golden Life Achievement Award from the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 1994.

Harley Swiftdeer, also called Soke Swiftdeer or Head of Family of the Ten-No-Kishi Dojo and American Indian Fighting Arts Association (Chulukua-Ryu system), is a 9th-degree master of these Japanese techniques, which he combined with more than 25 years of research into the Native American fighting arts – resulting to this new and unique martial arts system, which is the only original American martial arts accredited by the International Society of Black Belts.

Most of all, Swiftdeer is a medicine man.  The role of a medicine person combines the powers and skills of a leader, doctor, magician, lawyer, healer, priest, psychologist, teacher, and father/mother. Obviously, a person doesn't become that overnight.  Swiftdeer began his medicine apprenticeship at the age of eight with his Cherokee grandmother, Spotted Fawn, on a reservation in Texas/Oklahoma.  After Vietnam, he continued his study with the medicine chief of the Navajo nation, Tom "Two Bears" Wilson; and studied with a number of teachers thereafter.

Take time to explore the life and adventures of Harley Swiftdeer Reagan.

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