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Today’s guest is Jeddy Azuma

We go deep talking about:

  • Jeddy’s distinction between a men’s circle, team, and group
  • The advantage of being around good men growing up
  • How to internalize trigger moments and reactions as a father in order to prevent further harm to our children and ourselves
  • How important men’s circles and communities are for fathers
  • Why it’s critical to make time for and commit to your men’s group/team meetings in order to get the best support possible.
  • Developing a good relationship with your son that is based on his respect for you as his father rather than being his best friend
  • What it means to be humble as a man and a father in real life
  • Being clear about your personal values/visions and demonstrating them through your actions and words
  • Allowing our children to see us vulnerably so that they can recognize us as humans and feel safe being vulnerable with us.

Host of “The Rising Man Podcast” and Creator of The Rising Man Movement, Jeddy has been in the field of Men’s Leadership and Empowerment for the past 10 years. As a Rites of Passage Guide, Mentor, and Leadership Coach, Jeddy has impacted the lives of thousands of men on his mission to initiate an entire generation of men into power and purpose-driven service to the world. Despite his many roles and contributions to “Men’s Work”, Jeddy considers his most important jobs to be Father and Husband.

Mentioned on this episode:

Marco Pollo show on Netflix

Find Jeddy Online At:

Web: https://risingman.org/

Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-rising-man-podcast/id1358983618

IG: https://www.instagram.com/risingmanmovement/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/jeddyazuma/

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the DAD WORK PODCAST. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad Work this is episode number 74 men's teams initiation repair and defining the relationship with our kids with my guest, Jedi Azuma. We go deep today talking about jedes distinction between men circle, team and group. The advantage of being around good men growing up, how to internalize trigger moments and reactions as a father in order to prevent further harm to our children and ourselves. How important men circles and communities truly are for fathers. Why it's critical to make time for and commit to your men's group or team meetings in order to get the best support possible, developing a good relationship with your son that is based on his respect for you as his father, rather than being his best friend. What it means to be humble as a man and a father in real life, being clear about your personal values and visions and demonstrating them through your actions and words and allowing our children to see us vulnerably so that they can recognize us as humans and feel safe being vulnerable. With us. Host of the rising man, podcast and creator of the rising man movement Jedi has been in the field of men's leadership and empowerment for the past 10 years. As a rites of passage guide, mentor and leadership coach Jedi has impacted the lives of 1000s of men on his mission to initiate an entire generation of men into power and purpose driven service to the world. Despite his many roles and contributions to men's work. Jedi considers his most important jobs to be father and husband. You can find Jedi online at rising man.org You can also find him on his podcast the rising man podcast anywhere you listen as well. You can find him on Instagram, both rising man movement and Jetty Azuma. That's je D, D, y, a, Zed u m, eight. Alright guys, we're gonna jump into this right away, we have got an excellent conversation here with Jetty I was very interested with what he was doing, because I saw that a lot of the work that I saw from him was right up my alley, and he was very well spoken, he's been in this work for quite a while and he leads teams and initiations and I really enjoyed the the leadership that he brought to, to the space this work in this conversation, I think you're gonna like this one. If you have been getting any value from this podcast, we're 74 episodes in now we have got a ton of content, if it's touched your life at all, I would be so appreciative. And I'm going to ask you to make a request of you that you please pause this and go to the Apple podcast app or the Spotify app, and leave a rating or review. I think on the top of the Spotify app, there's a little star rating there now. And at the bottom of the Dad.Work podcast on Apple, you can scroll down and hit rating in review, that would make a huge difference to both me and any other men listening who haven't found this podcast. Yet. It's one of the ways to please the algorithmic overlords. And I know I hate doing that I hate having to ask you guys to do more, because my job here is to serve. And yet, I would really, really love it if you would help out. If you've been given any positive benefit in your life at all. If you just leave writing, that's fine. If you leave a review even better, I would appreciate it so much. Head on over to Apple or Spotify, wherever you're listening and leave one if you can. And otherwise, let's dive into this amazing conversation with Jenny Azuma. Here we go.

Alright, dads, we're back for another episode of The dad work podcast. I am very, very happy to have JD Azuma with me today. And man, I was just telling you, like, I was looking through your stuff, and we don't know what it is, man, we seem to have gotten a lot of the same experiences, and a lot of the same conclusions. And so I'm very excited to riff because I think we're gonna really get along, and I'm excited to build a relationship with you. So thank you for coming on, first

Jeddy Azuma 3:25

of all, likewise, man, it's

Curt Storring 3:26

an honor to be here. Yeah. And so I love to start with like what your journey through fatherhood was. I, for example, and the guys listen to the podcast know this full? Well, I was a terrible dad. At first because I was triggered out of my mind all the time, and had no tools to deal with that. And so I'm curious about where your fatherhood journey caught you in your life? Was it after you had done some work? Or was it just like, complete blast off? No idea what's going on? Can you just walk me through what it looked like to become a dad in your life?

Jeddy Azuma 3:57

That's a great prompt, man. The first thing that I'll say is, I still have days where I think I'm a terrible dad sometimes. So I don't think I've gotten anything figured out that quite yet. I'm still learning a lot. My, my son is going to be seven in September, my daughter is going to be three in just a couple months. So just for some scale and scope. I've been a bit in the dad game for a little bit here. To answer your question, I was fortunate that I did find men's work. I first sat in my my first men's circle ever when I was 21 years old, back in college, me and my buddies had no idea what we were doing. But we'd been we'd been creating these community gatherings, centralized around potlucks and drum circles and all that but those conversations would eventually evolve and morph into life life reflections, it was more of like a philosopher's circle, and then making it more relevant to our life journeys. And then one night, just a few of my friends who were part of that bigger circle got together it was just the guys eating pizza. And one of them said, Hey, what's so what's really going on with you guys? I could do it. He talked about You know, we're sitting there eating pizza. He's like, Yeah, but what's really going on? Like, what about the things that we don't talk about spontaneously unprovoked, unprompted just naturally happen. So that was like the very first time that that ever happened. And from that point, myself in those same friends, we kept sitting in circles and just talking about life, no direction, no training, it was like that instinctual, organic, this feels right for us to do as men figuring this shit out as we go. And eventually, I got more heavily involved with organized men's work when I was 25 years old. So you know, a few years later, I went on a journey came out to the West Coast for the first time found a men's team. And the first time I sat on a men's team was like, Oh, this is different. This is what it looks like when seasoned men who've had some life experience are sitting down and challenging each other, but also loving each other in a way that only men can. So I was 25. When I got married, right after my 27th birthday, three months later, we were pregnant with my son. So I had the benefit of many years of sitting in circles and spaces. And speaking honestly about my experience, particularly those two years of primer time, right before my son was born, really instrumental had I not had that, I don't know, if I would have survived. I don't know if my relationship I don't know, if my marriage, I don't know what I would have looked like as a dad. There's many other factors that went into my preparation for fatherhood. But even so, I'm still learning so much. And I've been the dad who has lost my temper, I've been the dad who has gone too far, I've been the dad, who is ashamed of the things that I've said or done, because I held the high standard for myself as a father, in spite of all of that. So I don't think there's any way to bulletproof yourself or immunize yourself to having those feelings of being a terrible father, like he said, but I definitely had the benefit of some prep prep work.

Curt Storring 6:54

And that is so helpful to hear, actually, because I'm often interested to hear what it might have been like, for me, just just curiosity, like would it have helped would it have been useful in my journey, and I love the almost giving permission to guys that no matter where they are on their journey, it's okay. Basically, you don't need to have gone through men's group, you don't need to be in men's work, you don't need to be at the beginning or the end, you just need to show up. And at least that's what's been true in my experience, and I have found that it's never too late. And so for anyone listening who's like, I don't know, you know, my kids are in their teenage years now. And I'm just discovering men's work. And like, I have seen and heard of men who are like, 75, and just getting into this work, and their lives are changing. And I have experienced, you know, doing this work with my children and thinking that I was too late, even though they were, you know, 456 when I was doing this, I thought oh, man like this is the the important years. And it wasn't like I can see in my children now that healing myself, and doing that sort of work has been very beneficial. And I was sort of piqued my curiosity, when you said preparation for fatherhood. What did that look like? What did you do to prepare to become a dad?

Jeddy Azuma 8:10

Well, first, I just want to respond to what you said. And then I'm moving to that preparation piece, I don't want to go so far as to say or suggest in any way that men don't need to be doing this work or that they can prolong it, I think there is urgency, it's like, once you're aware that it's available, let's get involved. Because the reality is that whether you have a son or a daughter, or both are multiples, the impressions you're leaving on them are either here is how you can navigate the world as a man, or here is what you should expect from the men that you're going to come in contact with in your life, maybe the man that you'll someday marry, or at least the men that you'll surround yourself with. And, to me, that's imperative for every father to take on. So I just wanted to pump the brakes on that for myself, because I do think it's important for all men to get involved. I don't think that's what you're saying. But I know that as a dad, I can really easily D prioritize the things that I don't think are important. It's like the big fires, like pay the bills, you know, take the wife out for a date night, you're just trying to hit the benchmarks to stay in the game, that something like men's work, especially with when you're a dad, see feels like a low priority. So I just wanted to emphasize that real quick.

Curt Storring 9:21

That's super interesting. And yeah, I was not thinking of that as the intent at all. And so I'm glad you went there. Because if that was came across, I agree completely with what you're saying. And it's one of those things that I don't like to say should you know, like, you know, I wish for you to live the life that you want to live, if that's authentic to you. And one of my very few shoulds is you should be doing men's work. You should be joining a men's group, you should be surrounding yourself with other men, being honest and vulnerable and authentic. And for me, it's changed my life. So much has changed the lives of almost everyone that I've sat with who have read who's really dove in. And so yes, I think you're 100% Right. And I love that reminder, you To dads like all that other stuff, that's important. But this is fundamental. Showing up as the best version of yourself is not selfish, like self care, for example is not selfish. That is the single best thing you can do to model for your children just like you said, Boy or girl, whoever is just showing up as your best self and teaching them what to expect. So yeah, man, I am fully on board. I appreciate that.

Jeddy Azuma 10:22

It's a great segue into the preparation conversation, right? Because you said, Well, what kind of preparation did you have, and this is what I would offer to men who are either already involved in men circles of men's work or considering it is I had no idea what I was carrying into my relationship until I started sitting on a men's team and having them reflected back to me, until I was in a space where I felt safe enough to take my mask off to let my guard down to answer questions, honestly, instead of just getting the right answer, to get the attention back off of me. I had no idea how, how selfish How childish, I was being in my relationship, sometimes, I had no idea how much I was making it about me when I thought I was making it about my family. It's very specific examples of those things, but just general thematics, I was completely unaware. So the preparation, I had the benefit of was being seeing some of those blind spots, having some of those things revealed to me, which generated the awareness so that I could actually intervene and take action. Now, definitely don't bet 1000 on that, even with the awareness, but I feel like it gave me an advantage, a competitive advantage going into fatherhood, where anybody who's a dad listening, you know, that you're just getting, you're just getting hit with curveballs all day long. And if you don't learn how to hit the curveball, if you're just sitting there wishing that they're going to stop coming someday, then you're playing the wrong game. And so I had the benefit of being in a circle with men who were all twice my age who had all been fathers are were obviously were fathers, you know, they had some of them had sons that were almost my age. So there's a lot of experience that I was able to reflect upon. And the difference because I grew up around, I mean, my dad still, in my life, great father, a lot of wonderful qualities that I have embodied and embraced myself, grew up around some really good men. But I didn't have the benefit of being around good men who were taking their mask completely off, who were letting me see the ugly, who were letting me relate to them. Because that's the things that we don't ordinarily relate to. Right, we relate to the things that we want to wear as a badge of honor. And we talk about how well we're doing. But until I started sitting in a circle and hearing about dads who want who, who shared about one and run out on their family, we talked about the times they could remember when they when the kid wouldn't stop crying, and they fantasized about throwing their kid out of a window. That's like, that's real dad talk that a lot of dads aren't willing to have because what happens when you tell people? Yeah, man, I just had a fantasy of bashing my kid's head with a hammer. When we've all actually experienced that, right, we've all actually had that triggering survival moment where we're like, I just got to get this kid to stop crying, I don't know what else to do. And instead internalizing it and becoming a monster, so I'm riffing off a little bit. But to me, it was just the advantage of seeing the reality, St. Pete taken a peek behind the curtains of what fatherhood look like, so that I didn't step in completely blind and, and blindsided.

Curt Storring 13:21

Man, thank you for sharing that. Because that has been my experience as well in men's group is just expanding my understanding of what humanity even looks like, I didn't even know some of these things, I would never have been able to experience them, because that's not my life. And yet here I am seeing this in other men, and it's actually working on me as they share what's real for them. And that is so important, what you said about the intrusive thoughts or the negative thoughts of the triggered reactions. One of the processes that we have done in some of my men's groups for dads is like something I hate about fatherhood. And like, let's go there. Because that's not what we're allowed to talk about. And as we shine a light into these shadows, if you will, it relieves some of that pressure. It's not who you are, you're not a bad person. These are just things that we think about, and it's okay to go there. And why are we so like, drawn to this work at so young, I get that, like you had a friend ask you and you almost invited you into doing this work? But in my experience, there's a lot fewer men who stick with it. At that age, it's typically like oh, that was fun for a little while, and then they go live their life. What do you think it was about you that really drew you into this and stuck with it because I am observing a very sort of chill, calm, grounded man, and I really enjoy listening to you speak even 10 minutes in. And so I see and just have read reading what you have said on Instagram, for example, it's clearly had a really deep impact on you. But why did it stay in the tumultuous pneus of your 20s

Jeddy Azuma 14:50

the first response that comes to my mind is I needed it. I was 23 years old. I was I was perpetually high for three years straight. I didn't even have I didn't Have a break from being high. My drug of choice was marijuana. I was also smoking tobacco and going out and partying. I wasn't like a crazy kind of party, dude. You know, DUIs and the whole the whole bit. I never took it to that extreme. But I was just severely numbing myself out. And the reason why was because I had huge questions about my life about myself about what am I supposed to be doing as a man now, I had a doctorate degree in physical therapy, I was making great money living in the city had all of the box, the boxes checked off that I was supposed to have. But I was ridiculously confused. I had no idea and I had nowhere to go. I didn't know who to ask. So why did it stick as honestly, I was pretty desperate. I knew that I couldn't go on doing what I was doing. But I also didn't have another solution. And that's what prompted that big journey I mentioned before, when I was 25, I quit my high paying job. My after only less than two years of being out of college, I left this amazing community and network of friends that I had created over the past five years. And I went out with a backpack across the country, looking for two things. I was looking for a new place to live, because I knew I didn't want to raise a family in the city. And I was looking for elder men to help show me the way. And it took me four months and a number of train rides and hitchhiking and sleeping on different people's couches to find it. But I did. And it stuck. Because I saw the impact of it. I always tell the story. And I'll say it really quick these the first time I sat in a men's on a men's team, I make that distinction because there's a difference between team and group and circle. When I was on a men's team, and I'm sitting there and I'm like, What the hell am I doing here? I trusted this guy I was staying with to go he said, trust me, it'll be some good for you. I'm sitting there and about, you know, 30 minutes, and we went through some rituals and check ins etc. All of a sudden, we're doing this thing called an interview. And we're going we're going deep, all of a sudden, these guys are like firing off questions at this one guy like Dan is uncomfortable. And at 1.1 of the guys was really challenging the other and I swear to God, I got that feeling in my body like, Oh, they're about to throw hands like this is about to be this about to pop off. You know that feeling in my body? Like, oh, Am I alright, Where's the exit, I got to get out of here. And in the span of five minutes, they went from almost going to blows with each other to being in tears and hugging each other. Because they realize that I actually am relating to you right now. And I was like, What the hell just happened, I remember to drive home with this guy. I was like, What the hell was that, like, I have no idea what that was about. And it stuck with me because because then I saw the power of what real trust can can create. And it's one thing to speak about it, it sounds like you've had that experience in your men's circles in your men's community. It's hard for people who haven't experienced that to really get it, it's hard to talk about. But when you when you feel like you're not alone, like you're really not alone. It's one of the most comforting feelings in the world. In a world where as a father, as a man, as a husband, as a provider, there are so few places to go that are safe, that actually feel like I can take a deep breath. And that's what stuck. Max is really one of the only places I ever felt like I could go and take a deep breath, and then always show up better everywhere else in my life immediately after.

Curt Storring 18:17

Man, I some of the questions I have, you're talking exactly about what you're going into here, which is Brotherhood, which is sitting in circle or team. And actually I'm curious, before we go on, what is your distinction between circle group and team.

Jeddy Azuma 18:31

A group is a loose collection of people who aren't up to anything together, you know, we can have tea, we can chat, I can show up five minutes late, I could completely miss the meeting. And it's all good because we're just a group. A circle to me is like a geometric shape, right? It's like what we do we get together we get together and we position ourselves in a circle. The reason why we sit in a circle is so that everyone can be seen and there's no place to hide. Another way that we sit in circle is that we all sit on the ground, or at the same level so that there's no hierarchy. Sometimes there's a leader or facilitator but we're all stepping into that circle as equals. When it comes to team that's that's that's that's different. A team of people is a collection of people who are up to something together, who have a shared vision, whoever shared reason or purpose, who were willing to make the team more important than the individual. Because by doing that, every individual also benefits but we take care of the team trusting that we're all going to be taken care of as individuals. And that applies to men's work that applies to corporations. I do. I've been doing a lot of coaching in the corporate sector now with startup teams, and it's the same conversation everywhere, man. It's like, what do you guys committed to together? And if you're not committed together, then you're not really up to you're not a team can't call yourselves a team. You got different interests, you're going to be running in different directions. So So yeah, that's a distinction.

Curt Storring 19:49

Beautiful. Thank you for that. And how are you bringing this into the home? How are you showing your children what it looks like to make that intentional commitment to be on a team him. And we'll get into sort of parenting and principles and philosophies and stuff like that, I'm sure. But just on this point, which is super fascinating, how do you maybe model that or bring it home?

Jeddy Azuma 20:12

will stop me if this if I'm not answering the question that you asked. But the way the way that I heard it was, how do I justify making time for things like men's work and men's team in my life? I think a lot of a lot of men who have responsibilities as a husband or partner who also have children at home, you're going to face the test from your partner from your kids saying, Well, you got to go to your men's meeting again, you know, can't you just stay home tonight, or I don't feel for whatever. Whatever reason, whatever the challenge with the test is, and it took a lot of enrollment, for me to consistently honor my commitment to show up for my men's team, especially when my son was born. And now my wife is saying, Hey, we got like, a three day old here and you want to go to your men's team meeting? Like, that doesn't make sense. And I'm like, Well, you know, that forced me to really practice my enrollment there get a lot of support from my men's team, because I'm, I'm calling these guys up saying, You know what, I think she's right, I think she's right, like, I shouldn't be going, I should be here. And just looking at it through a different lens, you know, I'm able to show up as the best version of husband, father, provider, lover, nurturer protector, when I get the support that I need. And so, I wanted to say that because I know how easy it is, as a dad to believe the voice. The other voice that says, No, you should be staying home, you should be here with your family, you should, should, should, should should. But being able to prioritize that make that matter? I don't know if that's what you were asking or where you're going. But that's what popped up in my head when you asked that question.

Curt Storring 21:51

That's great, man. Because I think that answers it in a way because as you show such commitment, it is very obvious just in terms of modeling to your children, that this is what it looks like to be committed. And this must be so important to dad, that he's willing to make sacrifices for the family. Please go ahead.

Jeddy Azuma 22:14

It's allowed. I was just gonna say so this is this is where it fits into this specific question you asked, When my wife saw how I would show up after going to these meetings, because always, even if I wasn't on the hot seat at one of these meetings, I would come home and I had some I like got some insight, you know, it is sometimes you see another man going through a process and you see yourself in that process. And I get everything I need. And no one asked me a question. I didn't even open my mouth, the whole meeting. So that always happens, I always get something from my men's team when I go and I spend those three hours every two weeks with them. So, so enough repetition and evidence of me coming home and my wife seeing you know, I don't know how long it took maybe a year into it. It was definitely after the first year of my son being born. She was starting to like push me out the door saying, hey, it's Tuesday, right? Don't you have a men's team meeting, go, go cuz she could. She knows what it's like if I if I'm not getting that support. And similarly for my children my son has. I'm so grateful that I was able to step into this work more fully as he was coming about that age of having memories that he's going to have for the rest of his life and long lasting impressions. Because he sees how much I prioritize that work. And he maybe he doesn't understand it yet cognitively. But I know he feels the difference of how I show up. Because I'm deeply invested in my purpose. And I'm also getting support by being supported in these communities. So So yeah, man, I don't know exactly how it's gonna unfold. Sometimes I wonder if my son is going to grow up and be like, Oh, my dad was such a hippie, all about the men's work and the spirituality, you know, like it because we always find something wrong with our parents. We get to that. But I believe that the underlying value system and showing him what I value is leaving a good impression on him. I have faith in that.

Curt Storring 24:12

Yeah, man, how do you think about that, because that is really the assumption, right? Like, we're gonna find something wrong with our parents. And I think that is true. I think as fathers dealing with our own father wounds, it's so interesting to be in the space where we see our own creation of that wound in our children. And my thinking on it is, if I can sort of develop the so called secure attachment, and if I can give my sons the tools that they are going to need to unearth and heal from whatever wounds I will cause in their perception, then, maybe we can still have that great relationship that I never had with my dad through my teenage years in my early adulthood. And Does anything come up for you on that like regret just giving them tools, showing them what it looks like and being there with presence? So they're like, even though maybe my dad was a hippie like, man, do I ever love him? And man? Did I learned so much from him? What comes up for you?

Jeddy Azuma 25:05

Well, you know, on my podcast, I always ask guys to define what does it mean to be a man? Because I don't think that there is a textbook definition that we all subscribe to when we think of what does it mean to be a man? And when we get into deeper conversations of fatherhood, same thing, what is what does it mean to be a father to you, to you, because you're the only judging jury that matters when it comes down to it at the end of the day. But if you never take the time to define that for yourself, then you're hitting a moving target. So my first question would be, how do you define a great relationship? Because if that's what we want, if I want a great relationship with my son, later on in life, well, then what would be what would be a great relationship? Describe it, like actually take some time, sit down, close your put your phone down, and just think, what is a great relationship with my son, when he is a grown man look like? Or if you or your daughter for that, for that matter to and then reverse engineer it from there? What's it what what's it going to take to create that great relationship? I don't believe that a great relationship with my son is him growing up and thinking that I'm his best friend, I want my son to love me. I want to have mutual respect and love going back and forth between both of us. But I think that for me, part of fatherhood is having that dynamic tension between a father and a son. I don't want to create chaos where it doesn't belong. But I also don't want to become this obedient people pleasing, trying to give my son everything that he wants and needs because I know what the consequences and costs of that are, too. I think a lot of guys are like, well, I want my son to be my best friend. It's one thing to have your son be interested in the things you do and do those things together, go on hikes, I want my son to come camping with me and for us to enjoy that together. But I don't want him to grow up and say, oh, yeah, my dad's my best friend. I'll feel like I failed. Honestly, I'll feel like I failed. And maybe some dads will disagree with me. And, frankly, it's it's up to you to decide what that great relationship of father, a father is, with your child, son or daughter.

Curt Storring 27:04

That is amazing. I really like that distinction. And I want to go maybe a little bit deeper on that. Like, what does that relationship look like? Can you explain dynamic tension a little bit?

Jeddy Azuma 27:13

Yeah, well, people who don't know me also know that I do a lot of Rites of Passage and wilderness work. We, one of the things we do in rising man is we take men out for four days. So the wilderness fasts. And so I have a great respect and admiration for the wisdom of nature. And oftentimes I look at humans and laugh, and I say, man, we are the one species who is like the, you know, the red haired stepchild adopted from an alien family, when it comes to the rest of the species on this planet, we are so different. At least by the way, we're showing up modernly not by our not by our natural nature, but the way we show up now compared to all the other animals. So when I think of nature, there's like nature's nature's violent, right nature, nature is aggressive, there is a range of emotions that is expressed by the animal kingdom on a daily basis. As humans, we've taken that range of emotion and we've shrunk it down to such a small part of the spectrum that this is the only place that is safe, which, as you know, kind of creates this opposite effect, right? Well, now it's no longer safe to just be a human, I have to operate within this box, the confines of this box and expectations. Otherwise, I'm fill in the blank, right? I'm a danger to society. I'm a menace, whatever. So when I think about nature, I think about the the young buck challenging the old book, right? At some point, it's like there's only there's only room here for one of us, young man. And we're going to see who who earns the right to be the to be the master here. Now, take it with a grain of salt. I'm not saying that, you know, because the animal kingdom has males in like this kind of like patriarchal type of deal. I'm not saying that's not what I'm suggesting. I'm saying I'm focusing in on where there's this tension between a father and a son that exists everywhere else in nature. So why would we expect that shouldn't or couldn't or have to exist in human communities? I think that it can be navigated with grace, because obviously we have, I believe we have a higher emotional intelligence than most other species. But at the same time, there's something that is also reptilian in us. It's natural for a son to push up against his father. And if I can create a safe, safe conditions and circumstances for my son to push up against me, I believe he's better prepared for the world. I don't want to create chaos and fight my son and be the villain in his story. But I will, if it's going to help him have a better life than I did. I will if it's going to better prepare him to deal with the uncertainties of the future and the world that I'm handing over to him. I'd rather have my son say wow, Sometimes my dad was a son of a bitch. Like he could really, he really challenged me and I didn't like him. But I respect that because when he's a father, that's what I really want. If I'm boiling it down, Curt, when he becomes a dad, I want him to have the same experience that I did, where I started to respect and appreciate my dad's so much more. Once I became a father to a son, and I was like, oh, oh, my dad was actually kicking ass when I thought he sucked. He was awesome. That's the experience that I want my son to have. So that even in those moments where I really do push him, and he doesn't like it, and he, you know, curses me out and complains about me to his mom, or his buddies or his uncles, that someday he'll come around and say, Whoa, thank you, dad.

Curt Storring 30:45

Dude, that's powerful stuff. And how are you? I'm not even sure what the right question here is. But how are you guarding or shoring up your own reserves, in anticipation of being there to be the wall against which he bashes up against to challenge? Is there more you're doing or is simply being deep, deeply present and deeply in your team's enough?

Jeddy Azuma 31:14

I'd say that's the that's the simple answer. Like the catch all is I'm doing my work, right. I'm showing up on my team. I'm constantly looking at myself. Having I think one of the most understated qualities of a man is humility. And we talk about humility, a lot, hashtag humility, you know, people write and post about it on Instagram, but what does it really mean to be humble? To admit that I didn't get something right? You know, I could have made a better choice there. This just practicing humility is one of those things for me staying staying curious, staying interested in my own process. So that's like another again, another kind of overarching thematic. To me, there's training for the body that I think goes way overlooked, especially, it's definitely been accelerated by COVID. And the need for us to lean on virtual meetings and virtual communities for the support that we have. It's made men's work very intellectual. And I think there's, I think there's some problems with that some consequences and cost to that. Because where do you experience anger? I don't know about anybody else. But I don't experience anger in between my ears, like that's where the thoughts are generated. But anger is a full body experience. And if I don't have a relationship with my anger, that's when I become dangerous. So there's a lot of work that needs to be done within the body. So that when my son, who doesn't have the same training or preparation in his body for anger happens now, man, my son's six years old, and he will get angry, like, angry, wants to hit his sister wants to hit me wants to hit his mom, and it triggers the kid in me, that's like, dude, I'm gonna punch you back. And of course, I don't, because Cooler heads prevail, but it rings that up in me. So if I don't work with my anger, in safe places, and I bring that home to my family, whoa, that's, that's when it becomes dangerous. So there's work that needs to be done with the body. And I could, I could talk about that all day. I mean, that's, that's what we do behind closed doors, when we go out on our retreats, and we do our four days we do our weak lungs, that's the kind of work that is only available when you're in person can't do that on the screen. So there's work for the body, there is work for the mind, right? Like just being able to generate that calm meditation breath work, an unveiling these old traumas and traumatic patterns to understand them better, so that I don't just hand it over to my son like a relay race. Because that that happens by default, if we don't do that kind of work. And then I think also just, I don't know where to categorize this work, but being being really clear about my personal vision, my values, and then in embodying that in my actions, and in my words, I don't know what category that falls under. But to me, that's, that's the through line of all of this stuff, if I'm not getting more clear on those things, and then actually, it's not about putting it down on paper, it's about living it in my life. If I'm not doing that, then I'm really not preparing myself for those challenging dead times that are, you know, off on the horizon.

Curt Storring 34:13

Yeah, just being able to feel into everything that's coming up and just be present with yourself. So that, like you say, you're not reacting in that anger space, and being able to almost be the runoff. It's building the internal challenge against that anger that is representative of your son's external challenge against you as father. It's almost like this internal version of that. And I wonder how your relationship to your father fits into this. Do you see yourself in your life coming out from under his shadow and extending into your own life? What is your relationship with even forgiveness as you were mentioning before in that, like, wow, he's a man. He was doing his best and like, now that I've got a son like, oh shit, I shouldn't be so hard on What does that look like to you as the son in preparation for raising a son?

Jeddy Azuma 35:06

It's a great question, man. You know, the father son thing is such an interesting dynamic. I love father work, because there's so much rich territory in there. And I'm fortunate I have a great relationship with my dad. And even my, probably my prevailing story coming out of childhood and into adolescence and adulthood about my dad was that he wasn't around, because he was a businessman. You know, he traveled a lot. He worked, you know, he was, he was usually leaving the house when I woke up, and he was coming home after dinner. A lot of days. That's my memory of him. But my dad also made time everywhere else that he could to show up for me. One thing that stands out in my mind is my dad. I was very active in sports. I played like every sport and all I ever wanted my dad to be was a coach on my team, because all my friends, dads were the coach of every team, right? The football coach, basketball coach. So I remember, I don't know, maybe I was 10 or 11. I was like, Dad, I just want you to be a coach this year, I really want you in the dugout with me. And I had I had this picture, you know, they do like Team pictures. And, you know, they got us in our uniforms. And then they got the dads in the back row. They're all wearing their hats and their polo shirt. And the other dads are wearing like jeans and sneakers. And my dad is wearing his dress pants and wingtips. And I'm like, fuck yeah, dad, like, cuz I know what that means. Right? He rushed home from work, to make it to Team pictures. And he also did that, obviously, for practices and games, you know, he was regularly showing up and like his business attire, when he threw the Polo and the hat on, I was like, I look back on that. I'm like, damn, Dad, you were doing really well. So I'm fortunate because I don't actually have a lot of like traumatic or negative memories about my dad. The only time my dad ever put hands on me was when I was I was probably 16 or 17. And I had a younger brother who was six years younger, and he would push my buttons. And one time I just like, let him have it. And I was like really going in and like and I was I was beating him up, you know. And my dad grabbed me and like pinned me up against the wall just like that, that sheer instinctual. And even in his eyes, like I could tell he was like, angry at me. But then he caught himself like, whoa, we just we just crossed the line. Like we've never done that before. Actually a really vulnerable and intimate moment now that I think about it. But I didn't have a lot of those traumatic experiences with my dad. I know a lot of people do. Whether you never even met your dad or your dad was abusive, or alcoholic or something else. When those things go unresolved. We just we're just destined to repeat them. And so I you know, when I think about this, you know, this question of like your mate having a good dynamic or resolving some of those issues. Part of it is just realizing that our fathers, we're all human. At the end of the day. I'll share one more piece here and I'll see if you want to redirect it because they're ever seen that show Marco Polo on Netflix. You catch that one night, it's a very underestimated show, a lot of people didn't dig into it. I like it, my wife likes it. And the you know, the whole storyline is you know, getting Gus Khan's grandson. The Con in this show is like this, you know, master of the Eastern world, right? Like he has concubines he does whatever he wants, drinks, whatever. And Marco Polo is the historical Marco Polo figure who came over from Italy and traveled and became a merchant. He kind of becomes this associate of the con, and Marco Polo. So journey was about following his father and following in his father's footsteps, because his dad was this, you know, supposedly world renowned adventurer, Trader merchant. And what's happening in this one scene is he's witnessing his father the image he had of his dad because he still had his dad up on this pedestal. He watches his dad just completely become the opposite of what he thought he was and essentially show his true colors. And he has that letdown moment. So the next scene Markopolos standing next to the fire, just staring empty into the flames, you could tell he's like, Who is this guy? This guy that I've been striving to be I don't even He's nothing like what I thought he was. And the con just comes over very casually, probably a little bit buzzed and says, I remember that day. And Marco Polo is kind of confused. He's like, what he's like, the day I realized that I needed to become the man I wished my father would be. And I was like, Oh, damn, Marco Polo, like Netflix. You just killed it right there. I actually put it in an Instagram story because I was like, Yo, this is like entertainment. But here's some real talk right here. How many? How many men can relate to this experience? So bringing it all the way back here I am going on another one. It's so important for us to see our parents, both parents mom and dad, as humans to have that grace with them. And hope that someday our kids will do the same for us. You know,

Curt Storring 39:55

that's that's exactly a man like I sometimes will lead into this topic with the question today. dads like, what would it feel like, if one day your children came to you and said, Dad, I forgive you. Like, for me, that would be, wow, that would be so meaningful to me. Because even though I have forgiven myself, for the man I once was, I knew I was doing my best, my best just wasn't very good. And I got better to hear that would be so, so wonderful, personally. And so I lead them in then to like, Could you see your father the same way? You know, could you forgive him? Could you see the 1% innocence in your father, maybe see him as a young boy, maybe see him as the baby who came out with no issues other than the environment that he had to go through what might have happened in your father's life, to make him the man he became. And I think that's a great entry point into that understanding that he's just a man. And then to strive to be the man that you wish he was. Man that is, so that is so good. That is powerful shit. And to come from this, you know, Marco Polo and Netflix. Unexpected? That's amazing. Yeah, do you have any more thoughts on that before we I'm

Jeddy Azuma 41:10

just gonna share, share real quick story here cuz I think it's relevant, especially when it comes to fatherhood, men's work in general. But fatherhood, I always like to take an opportunity to share something that I think most men or fathers might be uncomfortable sharing. But I know I'm not unique. So I, I before I became a dad, I had this image in my mind of the Father I would be I would be this like Zen dad who never lost his cool who just like, I would sit and meditate with the sunrise in the morning, and my son would come and sit on my lap and meditate with me, I, I even told my wife, I was like, we're gonna have these Zen Buddha babies that are monkey jumpers, but really poised. And then my son came out and man, if he wasn't the wild animal, Tarzan that boys ought to be, I don't know what else it looks like, and pushed my buttons and triggers at every corner. His third year of life was the most challenging for me so far, because I mean, your three is always really challenging, right? They're just like, angry about everything, temper tantrums, but his temper tantrums were very violent. And they would just go on and on and on and on and on. So one day, he's having a temper tantrum. And I find myself just trying to restrain him because he was breaking things, trying to hurt his mom trying to hurt himself. And I was just like, exerting my physical dominance over him, right, like not trying to hurt him, but just like, squeezing him, because, cuz I didn't know what else to do. And it got to a point where I was squeezing him. And he got angry at that. And he just like, bit me, like right here, I'm kind of pulling on the side of my neck. He just hit me as hard as he could on the side of my neck. And it My reaction was to throw him off of me. And I threw him a few feet. It wasn't like I launched him across the room, but I threw him. And he landed on his bed, bounced off of his bed and hit his head on the wall. And I looked at me, he looked terrified. He was like, What the heck just happened. he's three years old. And I had that, that sobering moment. Amidst all of the cast that was just happening. I was like, What did I just do? And I even saw that his head made this little impression in the drywall. So I definitely, like, tossed him with enough force to do that. And I just, like, completely sunk. In that moment. I'm the worst father and on the whole face of the earth, how could I possibly do this? Who am I to be making a podcast talking to men about what it means to be a man if I can go to this level with my three year old son? Who the heck am I? Alright, that I'm sure many other people have had for one reason or another. And the reason I'm sharing this story is because, you know, very shortly after I go in my shame spiral, checking in on my son trying to make sure he's okay. He's going to his mom, I'm in tears. I'm just like, what, how could I possibly let this happen? And then my son, you know, I'm outside. I'm like, trying to like gather my pool and letting tears out. He comes up to me, and he just kind of like grabs me by the hand. And we look at each other, and we're both crying. Now. We're both crying. And now I'm telling him how sorry, I am just telling you like, I'm sorry. That's, that's not okay for daddy to do. I wish I didn't do that. I didn't mean to hurt you. I'm going to do my best to make sure that that never happens again. Just owning it. Right? And here's this three year old little magic man just looking me in the eyes telling me it's okay. You're good, daddy. You're good daddy, like for you, essentially. But the words the limited words he had. He was forgiving me. And we were reconciling in that moment. So yeah. You know what you said before? I do pray that someday, you know, because who knows whatever other transgressions I might have as a father towards my son might arise. There's a lot of time, but to begin to not wait for that reconciliation to happen to not wait for that resolution to know that we have access to that right now. Just by taking simple ownership of humanity. That's that's one thing. I don't think my dad really let me see. I had that relationship with him that he I only let him see it saw him cry a couple of times in my life twice, when when his dad died, and then when we thought my mom was going to die when she had cancer, but I didn't really get to see the humanity in my dad too much until I was much older. And so that's one thing I would like to encourage more fathers to have with their sons, and just children in general, let them see, let them see the human side. Now, don't wait.

Curt Storring 45:26

Man, thank you for sharing that. I know that is a vulnerable thing to share. And I am like, that could have been a story from my father and experience, you know, the tantrums, the rage of the hitting, not knowing how to stop it. And trying to utilize like some basic tactics I had just learned, but generally being physiologically nervous system overwhelm to such a point that I just lose it. And my losing it is probably very similar, like I'm holding I'm holding does something. And I don't know if other guys listening have had this experience. But when you get hit, and you're just not expecting it, at least in my body, and my body is experienced, and that just makes me lose it. And I have had the same sorts of experiences, where the chill just gets lost, and you do something, you push them too hard, or you let go of him too hard, or you grab him too hard. And then the shame spiral is I relate so hard to everything you just said. And one thing that I just like, what I'm feeling right now is this deep desire to continue to be a net like that, and not to be overwhelmed, because I'm continuing to do the work to not be overwhelmed. But to just realize that that is part of the life, we get to live with our children and ourselves. And that we're not this, you know, neatly buttoned up suit and tie every day like, Oh, I've got it all together, kids, how are you today, and I hope your day was fine, because I can't deal with it. It's not. It's this, like really real vitality of messiness, and life. And like I experienced the same sort of thing where I go to cry, and feel terrible about myself, I apologize. And then I've had the same thing like, Oh, you're not a bad dad. And it makes me cry harder, because he loves me so much. And that is beautiful. And to be able to repair and accept responsibility and humility, as you mentioned, it's a fucking superpower man, like as a father to be healing and repairing the ruptures as they happen. I just I personally, I feel light compared to how I used to when I bought it all up. There's never resentment building in my body, it's always dealt with right away. Is that something that you've experienced as well, just as soon as possible repair repair?

Jeddy Azuma 47:43

Yeah, definitely, as soon as possible. The repair mode, sometimes it's not available right away. Sometimes I try to move to repair faster than my son is ready for. And it's interesting, because that also happens in my relationship with my wife, she wants to move into repair faster than I'm ready to sometimes. So it's like a good mirror of that what it's like to be on both sides. But yeah, definitely repairing reparations like that, that that is all essential. modeling that because now now I see my son being able to do that more genuinely showing remorse. And because otherwise, it's so fascinating men watching these patterns develop in our kids. My wife is also very involved in the industry, right? She's been she's been a coach before I even know what coaching was. So we're hyper aware of, are we creating traumas in our children? And did we did did I just did we just do the thing that's going to screw him up for the next 20 years? We're always like, probably to it to an excessive degree sometimes. But But yeah, we're I mean, we're trying to shape our children as best we can. And the reality at the end of the day is that nobody makes it out alive. Like there's, there's nobody who's ever made it to adulthood and said, Oh, man, my parents, ah, the best kind of got everything that I needed from them. Oh, they nailed it. 100% a plus, like, you're not going to be the first perfect parent in the history of parenting. So, let it go. And that also doesn't excuse us from doing our best. That's the that's the the balance point here is just because I mentioned that I've been more physical than I ever thought I would be with my son at times. doesn't make it okay for me to keep being that. I'm definitely not not saying that's okay. But I also I also say that being a parent now, especially if small children, I can understand why people go to those lengths. I can understand I can understand why people physically discipline their children or, or beat their children like don't take it too far. I can even understand how some people some men have gone to those really extreme lengths where like these guys who become headlights, right? They they they shoot up their whole family. That's what it looks like, when we're not doing the stuff that you and I talked about earlier in this episode, going in doing your work, getting the support going to places where you can relate about your experience, if you're not letting that pressure off little by little as you go, then you become a headline. That's that's the, that's the outcome at the end of the day, a human being can only contain so much. And that's one of the things that makes me really passionate about this stuff, Curt is that it destroys me every time I see one of those headlines. Because it's also reinforcing that men are evil. Right? Every time you see a school shooting, aside from my compassion and my heartbreak for the families and for the people who lost their lives, I'm also heartbroken over the young person who thought that they needed to handle their problem by going and shooting up a bunch of their classmates. Right. But that's not the that's not the common thing to do. That's not the acceptable thing to do. So it's it's so important, it matters so much to me that we create these spaces for men for fathers to go to, because I just want to see happy thriving families. I want I want my kids to grow up in a world where that's more the norm than the outlier. Yeah,

Curt Storring 51:19

100% agreement that is such, just like the the real reason behind other like, you know, the selfish reason is, I want my kids to live in that world. And the sort of more broad reason as I want everyone to live in that world. You know, like imagine two, three generations from now, if our children have the tools that we are now finding, or relearning, whatever it may be. What could that look like? Like, oh, my goodness, if we reach enough men, there, that's why it's so easy to get up Abaddon out of bed every single morning doing this heart centered work way more than it was for my previous business, which was just a business. And yeah, I'm so appreciative of you, man doing the work you're doing and just being able to lead from the heart, but also, in a way that's very grounded. And I think for me, that's where I find my power and masculinity is to be able to operate from the centered groundedness of having a wide open heart. And also being able to draw it in and be able to get shit done. On the other hand, there is this pendulum of men that I see in sort of the space the industry, as he called it, where it's either like, all emotion all the time, you're always operating in that you're wide open, and it's just like, Ah, it's, it's too much sometimes. Or it's like, alpha, bro, like, just go do your business and shoot guns and like, you're cool. And I didn't find any of these like marrying of the two extremes. And I've just experienced like the the grounded middle, where I can choose to operate on one side of the pendulum or the other has been my strong point. That's where I feel most in charge. That's where I feel my power. That's where I feel I can give to the world. And maybe like, Do you have any thoughts on that? Or is that just some we should leave and move on? Because I've got a couple other things too.

Jeddy Azuma 53:03

I'll speak real quickly to that one. I think it's essential to have versatility as a man. I know everybody works with the traditional four archetypes of masculinity King warrior magician lover, but I was raised and maybe maybe you got this a little bit too because I know samurai brotherhood. They've got the they've got that background in this. And Justin Sterling's work. So are you familiar with the 3d man? That make its way man 3d Man, three dimensional? No. Okay, so it's another archetype system, right? And it's old school, right? So maybe the millennials won't get the references but Gandhi, right. So that spiritual, heart centered, big picture type person, okay. And then there's Clint Eastwood, right. So the edge, the assertive, sometimes dominant part of ourselves. And then there's curly curly from the Three Stooges, the light hearted, joyful lover playful. It's got the same elements as the four, four primary archetypes of masculinity. But then at the same time, it's a little bit different. And I think that being able to go in and out of those dimensions, and to call upon whichever one is most appropriate in the moment, being able to detect, hey, I need to bring some more of my curly on mine, because right now, it's really heavy in the room, or I need to draw my boundaries, because we're getting it's getting a little bit loosey goosey around here, that the character versatility is really important for every man to have. So, so yeah, that's, that's what I would say to that last one.

Curt Storring 54:24

Yeah, thank you for bringing that up. I remember doing a process around that, like two or three years ago, okay. And I didn't I didn't know what was called. So thank you. And that brings up I have been trying to find like, what's the what's my triad experience that I want to like, try to fit into and balance. And I've been going like, I think where I land personally, is a combination of caveman, Warrior, and monk. Like if I can embody three of those. I think I'm very grounded and versatile because, first of all, what does my inner caveman want? That's who I am as a human being what is the most fundamental biologic? Need or feeling that I have? And then can I fight and get for what I want? can I protect my family? Can I go and fuck the world, if you will, with my sort of masculine solar energy? And then finally, can I just like sit and chill? Can I get my nervous system under control? Can I just like be at peace with the universe? And so I love playing with these games man, like, what sort of archetypes are you bringing up into your life? And they're actually very important tool, even though they can seem a bit ephemeral a bit like, you know, how do I apply this to my daily life? But doing these thought experiments, like you said, and just going, like, where do I need to operate more for what do I need to bring to life and this situation can be so helpful?

Jeddy Azuma 55:42

Absolutely. Yeah. I'll just say I agree, because good, I know, you got a couple other things you want to squeeze in there?

Curt Storring 55:50

Yeah, I know. We've got like five minutes left here. And I want to touch very briefly, obviously, on initiation. Were you briefly I know. Wrong question. I was right. But let me let me just tee this up around to you then. If you're open to one time, maybe just talk about what you do now. Like where maybe even where men can find this because I have talked to another man Nicky Wilks, who leads men's initiations, and I am so interested in getting this right for my sons. And I never had anything like that. So what what are some of the fundamental points that you work with or that other men can start thinking about, as they maybe find you online as they look towards initiation for their sons?

Jeddy Azuma 56:36

Yeah, I talked about this a lot. So I'm pretty good at dialing it in. So the greatest wound that we have as humans is belonging, because where we come from is that we depended on each other, we were social animals. And so the need to belong is one of the most fundamental fears, right? Do I belong, that fear, like social death, right, getting canceled right now is like one of the premier fears that people have, because it affects that sense of belonging, which would guarantee our safety and our sense of having a space in the community. So initiation is really just a remedy for that wound of belonging. You know, if we want to define it, initiation is gaining entry or acknowledgement for being part of an exclusive group of people. Oftentimes, there's a shared experience that people go through in order to gain merit, or to gain recognition as a member, right. So for example, you get initiated into fatherhood, when you have a kid, right and going going through that process, like you become a dad. That's to me, that's an initiation. The way we do it is we do four days solo wilderness fasts, where we send men out there, we put them in their spot, and by completing four days and four nights of solo time in the wilderness, without any distractions or contact, we see you as an initiated member of our rising man community. That's how we do it. There's many different initiations. Sometimes it's seen as a rite of passage, a ceremonial death and rebirth. We work in both realms where they intersect, where rites of passage and initiation meet. But since you asked about initiation, initiation, for me is just the remedy for for belonging, not feeling like we belong, because when we do feel like we belong, and we're seen and acknowledged as a member that has value, and something to give back, then, and then anything becomes possible, we become unstoppable, we become a relentless expression of the human spirit. When we don't have that sense of belonging, that's, that's really what it is right? The yearning for initiation and belonging, it's a feeling in our bodies, how many of us has kids wanted to go out and prove ourselves so that we could earn the respect of other people? I mean, that's why there's gang initiations. That's why there's fraternity initiations and some of these unhealthy initiatory practices. So all that I'm preaching, and what rising man is all about is reintroducing healthy initiatory practices for ourselves, and for future generations.

Curt Storring 59:03

Beautiful. Well, thank you for doing that work, man. I'm excited to learn more about that. And I know I gotta let you run now. So where can people find out more about you and your your movement? Or do you do you consider it a movement? Do you consider it

Jeddy Azuma 59:15

as a man doing it? Yeah, that's our that's our IG handle @risingman movement, because that's really what we see ourselves. As you know, we're, we're a organization of people who are striving to see this difference in the world. And so to me, that's how I define a movement. So @risingmanmovement on Instagram, that's where you can get all the information about the podcast, we've got like for over 400 episodes now. So go check that out. And all of our programs as well, we were heavily based on leadership and rites of passage work, so people who are interested in that. And then just for me, personally @jeddyazuma I'm in and out on Instagram. I'm not like a big social media type. I try to be sometimes but anybody can reach out to me one thing I do is I do answer my messages. Sometimes it takes a little while, but I do answer personal messages because cuz I still appreciate and enjoy human contact. So hit me up @JeddyAzuma and if you're not if you're not an IG person risingman.org is where everything I'm up to live in right now.

Curt Storring 1:00:10

Beautiful Man I really appreciate you and I really like you to be honest coming across really real for me so thank you for spending the time with me today man

Jeddy Azuma 1:00:19

right on correct Yeah, I could tell you're a great man and a great father and I appreciate you having me on here today man I really enjoyed it. All right, thank you man

Curt Storring 1:00:33

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod. That's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL dad.work/pod to find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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