Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Warrior Athlete
I have been on the search for concept books for a while. Sure, there are tons of books that show techniques, so many that we are often overwhelmed by the amount of information.
Concept books allow us to examine our body of work, the tools that currently exist in our "toolbox" and reveal to us new ways to apply them.
Such a book is "The Warrior Athlete; Body, Mind & Spirit" By Dan Millman. Millman is a former gymnast and coach and is the author of several other books on philosophy and self-improvement. I picked up two copies at a used bookstore, which is lucky because "The Warrior Athlete" appears to be out of print and I couldn't find used copies on Amazon. If you cruise the used bookstore circut, you may find it, and I think it's well worth reading.
As a comparison, I struggled through Peter Ralston's "The Principles Of Effortless Power". Ralston writes in a somewhat confusing and circular way that just didn't work for me. HERE is a link to that review.
By contrast, Millman has some very straight-foward ideas about mind-body awareness, described in a context easily recognizable to the western athlete. Even though Millman's art was gymnastics, he often refers to Tai Chi Chuan and Aikido. Millman's method is to increase emotional health, release unnecessary tension and experiance whole body awareness. All of these issues and many more are discussed, and they relate to martial artists as well as athletes in other sports.
Here's how Millman sums up one of his concepts:
"The potential for mental training through a natural whole-body approach to training demonstrates how athletics can be a complete educational process. But what I want to emphasize is, all this doesn't take place automatically. If training is not fully conscious or systemic, then mental qualities are only developed randomly and haphhazardly. You must be able to isolate mental qualities before you can develop them".
In this book, Millman provides training ideas that are very similar but far easier to understand than those contained in old texts on Tai Chi Chuan, for example.
It's a great book if you can get a hold of a copy, I'm suprised that it appears to be out of print.