July interview with Fred
Fred Saldutti is an Old Warrior and a New
So, before we begin, this is your fair warning
that Saldutti is an iconoclast he pulls no
punches. You may love and/or hate him but he
shoots straight from the hip. Its a quality I
happen to like.
Saldutti told me he is not trying to get rid of
his Old Warrior rather, hes facing
that part of himself honestly and working with it
developing the many gifts from that powerful
When I spoke to him, he had just returned from
The preachers message was around sin
and forgiveness, he began. It was very
enlightening for me, and helped me to open up more
to an avenue of being gentler. Also, I tend to beat
myself up for my Old Warrior ... Im forgiving
this part of me as well.
After 13 years as an initiated man, with 92
staffings and two hot seats, Saldutti has never
been certified as a Co-Leader in MKP.
Ive had ill feelings toward some men
in our Project who I judge have wronged me
yet right now I have a deeper realization that I
tend to point fingers at others instead of doing my
own work. I needed to hear that sermon today. I
have to remember that mens criticism of me is
still their projection and not take it on myself.
The most I can do is to take ownership of me. And,
to the best of my ability, Im sending prayers
and blessings to those who I believe have hurt me.
Now, Im going about my business of taking
care of Fred.
Your humble editor has known this man for a
dozen years. Saldutti grew up in a rough
environment on the streets of Philadelphia with an
Old Warrior father who was frequently violent to
members of his family. Saldutti left home when he
was 15 years old, quit school, got married, and
went to work in concrete construction, where
hes been for forty years. He recently retired
to Reidsville, North Carolina, where I live.
Were in the same I-Group and spend a good
deal of time together hes one of the
most loving and generous men I know. And, he can be
Im aware of my Old Warrior who
slashes and slays a very manipulative fellow
and yet theres a productive part that
gets things done without worrying about the
consequences. Ultimately, theres a shadow
piece in my Old Warrior that is afraid to speak up
and be authentic. My New Warrior has given me an
opportunity to take a look at where my dysfunctions
are or were in my life and speak up without fear.
And, Im better able to take responsibility
for the consequences of my actions.
I ask you, my brothers, is it possible that any
of us are in denial about our own Old Warrior and
the consequences of its presence? Is there an
inclination in you to reflect anything and
everything you hear about yourselves back onto the
man who is speaking? Especially if you're in a
position of authority? Is it ALL just projection,
or are we able to be humble enough to see the
possibility of some truth even from a newly
I heard a man tell me that he enjoyed his recent
NWTA initiation, but preferred the association of
his I-Group because there was less of an
organized military rank-style energy among the
We need structure on our NWTAs, but
thats the catch-22, Saldutti said,
Men dont have to obey and do what
theyre told. I would love to have a rookie
stand up to a leader and say NO
thats not what we should do. Too much of what
we do is fear based with men believing that the
leaders know everything. There are some leaders who
are not willing to listen to a guy with lesser
experience. We need to enroll leaders on our
weekends, and we need to hold them accountable in
clean and safe ways.
Fred, you are advocating anarchy on our
Maybe I am
sometimes I think we need more chaos than control
on our weekends.
But Fred, these certified leaders sign
agreements to be responsible for what happens on an
NWTA. Are you suggesting we abandon that
Yes, I am. For legal purposes, every man
coming to be initiated signs his own waver to take
full responsibility for himself. And, its not
just one or two men responsible on a weekend
its the whole staff.
So, what would a leadership-less NWTA look
It would look like the way Rich Tosi and
Bill Kauth and Ron Herring did it with only
a few men on staff. We all sit down and have a
conversation about whos doing what - a
consensus. MKP International is afraid of stepping
into the fire, afraid of being authentic initiators
of men, afraid of the really edgy Golden side of
Then are we becoming too soft?
Yes, he exclaimed. I started
working at 14 years old building swimming pools for
my uncle. The first day on the job he slapped me
across my head and told me I was doing it wrong.
From then on, I started paying attention.
Thats the word
paying attention. I
didnt want to get smacked again so I paid
attention. I made sure I was aware of my
surrounding from then on.
Here I add one of my favorite Rumi poems:
The Core of Masculinity
The core of masculinity does not derive
from being male,
nor friendliness from those who console.
Your old grandmother says, "Maybe you
go to school. You look a little pale."
Run when you hear that.
A father's stern slaps are better.
Your bodily soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.
He scolds but eventually
leads you into the open.
Pray for a tough instructor
to hear and act and stay within you.
We have been busy accumulating solace.
Make us afraid of how we were.
Lest this idea of masculinity looks one sided, I
will tell you that I know personally the
compassion, the empathy, the love Fred Saldutti has
for men. Hes a man I trust because he owns
his shadow and his gold.
I am a unique individual
compassionate and nasty. I am loving and I am also
hateful. I am a little bit of everything. People
should claim their dangerous side. Ive had so
many men in my life tell me to do things in a
different way and so I tried to change for other
people instead of being the man I was
myself. I am now honoring my Old Warrior and
allowing the compassion of my New
whats the price you pay
for allowing your Old Warrior to be seen by other
The price I pay is that some men are not
willing to take the time to get to know me
get close to me.
What would you say to men who struggle to find a
place in MKP with their Old Warrior?
You no longer have to struggle brother
if its not working, I invite you to
move on to something that does. Or do what I do
keep comin back! I show up in MKP as a
Saldutti has been involved with the Lodge
Keepers Society since his initiation.
I take the time to sit out in the woods
just to be
and listen to the birds chip, the
wind blow, branches drop
that just stops me
enough to keep me grounded. It helps me remember
how insignificant I really am on this planet.
Im a tiny portion of a larger scheme of
things. We are all small and great
theyre both true.
Tell me more what we do with this
authority issue as an initiated man in
a larger organization?
We have to be willing to negotiate with
each other as powerful men. When Im told
its MY way or NO way that
pisses me off. I dont get along well with men
who wont negotiate with me. And, Im not
going to kiss any ass.
So what is Fred actually doing in MKP now? Well,
at our last Greater Carolinas NWTA he was the MOS
Leader and worked his ass off. He regularly holds
lodges on his property for men in the area. And, he
is the champion in our newly evolving I-Group.
My I-Group is my salvation I get a
chance to allow other men to guide and support me
in being healthy. I could walk on this planet
without support, but in 6 months Id be back
doing drugs and alcohol again. My first priority is
being in a mens group. It keeps me in
Wanna know how Fred shows up in our I-Group? His
own words express it best.
When Im in a mens group, I see
the inclination for men to let you off the hook
because they want to be your buddy. I dont do
that. I dont want them to let me off the hook
either. Keep calling me on my stuff. Be there for
Saldutti said he believes I-Groups are a healthy
place where every man can be an equal brother and
share in their leadership skill development.
I thank all you men for showing me who you
are over the years - I would much rather have
dysfunctional men than no men at all in my life.
Thank you for all your perfections and
imperfections. I would not be the man I am today
were it not for all you men.
I just have to ask Fred, why do you still
stay involved in MKP after 13 years as an initiated
man, with 92 staffings and two failed hot
By not getting what I wanted early on,
its ultimately been a blessing for me to take
a deeper look at myself and who I am. Im a
better person because of MKP and because of my
commitment to attending a mens group.
Ive looked at my own projections and done my
personal work. Ive looked at my wounds and my
golden aspects and I claim who I am as a man on
this planet: Im a compassionate, loving,
tender, soft man who at times can be a WILD MAN in
my full masculine energy.
Having met Freds better half, Rebecca, my
esteem for him quadrupled. Shes an angel.
Fred dotes on her.
I have to pat myself on the back:
youve come a long way, Fred. And,
I find great solace in knowing my wife loves and
supports me. She tells me Im really much more
of a pussy cat than a roaring lion.
[Editors Note: Fred has invited anyone
who would like to engage in a conversation with him
to Email him - firstname.lastname@example.org]
© 2008, Reid Baer
* * *
The fame you earn has a different taste from the
fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria
Reid Baer, an
award-winning playwright for A Lyons
Tale is also a newspaper journalist, a poet
with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide,
and a novelist with his first book released this
month entitled Kill
The Story. Baer has been
a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and
currently edits The New Warrior Journal for
The ManKind Project www.mkp.org
He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife
Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.
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