I have finished reading Richard Strozzi-Heckler's In Search of the Warrior Spirit that Dojo Rat recommended I read and review and which Patrick Waits (P3) subsequently loaned me. What can I say? Overall an interesting book. It's got all the things that should make for a fascinating read - aikido, Green Berets, hi-tech biofeedback voodoo. The premise is that in the mid-1980's the author got to try to teach a bunch of soldiers aikido, meditation, biofeedback, etc... to see if there was anything in these new age modalities that would make the soldiers better warriors.
Despite the great premise the book fell somewhat flat with me. First, their explicit premise seemed to be to bring the mythical Jedi warriors from Star Wars to life in the form of the United States Special Forces. The project's motto was Vi Cit Tecum (may the Force be with you) and their logo depicted crossed light sabers over a Trojan horse. Those that know me know that this is a pet peeve of mine - trying to take movie spirituality and use it as a justification for some behavior. I had a sensei who used to love to motivate us by quoting wise-sounding sayings of Yoda et al. And sure, I have found over the years quotes from movies that significantly mirror parts of my martial arts philosophy (perhaps most notably, "Power without perception is spiritually useless ..."), but I don't toss these quotes around as resources of wisdom or cite them as guides to belief or action.
Also, on a purely personal note, I went into the book with a couple of expectations, One: I expected that somewhere in the book, the author would come to the conclusion, "a warrior is..." and that would be interesting. He did cite various qualities, like courage, mindfulness, patience, etc... but either he skipped it or I missed it in my reading. Two: and this is related to the first point above. I expected this book to move from point A to point B making some progress and describing it. It didn't. Instead it vaguely meandered through selected vignettes that occurred during the project. To put it into Meyers-Briggs terminology, the book is very intuitive-feeling-perceiving (NFP) and not very sensing-thinking-judging (STJ).
All that is not to say that it is drivel. It is not. The book was thought-provoking and there were many parts that I am going to want to think about a lot. It is the type of book that I will want to re-read more than once. I intend to dissect some of the issues in the book and cover them in future posts, hopefully translating them from NFP-speak to STJ-speak. Stay tuned...