Monday, July 9, 2007
The Men Who Stare At Goats
Pat over at Mokuren Dojo posted This Review of Richard Strozzi-Heckler's book "In Search Of The Warrior Spirit", a book I had reccomended because Aikido is part of the theme. As Pats review suggests, the book touches on the difficulty of an Aikido instructor's experiance teaching a group of Green Berets in a special military program. This program used sensitivity and bio-feedback in an attempt to create a super-soldier. Heckler obviously did not realize how deep the entire program went, which is detailed in Jon Ronson's "The Men Who Stare At Goats". Ronson gives the entire (unclassified) background of "The First Earth Battalion", which used Psychic Spies and other unorthodox warfare with mixed results. For instance, assassin training included developing photographic memories, to walk into a room and know at an instant where every pencil, chair, ashtray or other potential weapon lay, down to minute details. The title refers to a special lab, "The Goat Lab", where a large group of goats were kept. The subject would concentrate his psychic energy on one goat, and kill it while sitting in a room nearby. It is not exactly clear how well this worked, but Ronson's sources said at times it was performed successfully. You can see the obvious implications of this. Ronson travels across the country, interviewing people who were involved in the secret program, including martial artists that train assassins.
Now, most of us don't go for this Woo-Woo side of the martial arts, which borders on the occult. None-the-less, the military (and not just ours) is involved in this stuff. Here is a post from last January I did on "No Touch Knockouts" Which I have witnessed, performed by various Masters, with mixed results. There is a guy on YouTube who is offering thousands of dollars to anyone who can do one of these "no touch knockouts" to him, and I don't think he has had any takers.
The bottom line is, the U.S. military thinks this stuff may work, and has been involved in these types of training programs. I have read accounts of the Russians, who have been ahead of the Americans in all things Psychic, training their elite killers in this also.
Ronson's book opens a view into a dark world of Psuedo-science and the military-occult industrial complex. It takes up where Heckler's "In Search Of The Warrior's Spirit leaves off. "The Men Who Stare At Goats" is a quick read and is suprisingly humorous, considering the subject. It's also chock-full of martial artists that he interviews along the way.