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Heckler, Richard -- In Search of the Warrior Spirit
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1 58430
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 8.0

Description: In a top-secret U.S. military experiment, Richard Heckler was invited to teach Eastern awareness disciplines ranging from Aikido to meditation to a group of 25 Green Berets. This account chronicles his experiences in the training program and his attempts to revive traditional warriorship in a technological society. His book provides insight into the nature of war, the meaning of masculinity, and the need for moral values in the military. This new edition includes Heckler's response to 9/11, his connections to the Pentagon and U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and his reflections on the movie Black Hawk Down, which depicts the deaths of two of his trainees.
Keywords: heckler warrior spirit green beret
ISBN: 1556434251

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Jeff Tibbetts

Registered: October 2002
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Posts: 142
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Inspiring and eye-opening.
Cons: A bit dated.

Overall, this was a great read. The premise seems so outlandish that one might be forgiven for thinking it's a joke, but once you think about what kind of a risk this was for the Army, it's incredible. It might be difficult to relate to if you don't have any military experience or don't generally buy into the tough-guy role. This aspect of it also makes it invaluable to understanding the modern soldier, though. There is a lot less actual Aikido in this book than I figured there would be, and more meditation and other types of mental work. This isn't a bad thing, but it requires a bit of knowledge about what they're doing to make sense of it. If you didn't know any Aikido, this book wouldn't make a lot of sense to you as he doesn't explain any of the techniques much. Likewise, he doesn't go into any detail about what their meditation involves. It's really just a series of anecdotal daily musings about the whole program and the bond that all of the people involved made. It's very gripping thoughout, and it might give you some interesting ideas about ways that Aikido principles can be applied in various different aspects of one's life. It is certainly thought-provoking and may change the way that you view training if you're open to some radical ideas. One small problem with the book is that it's showing its age a bit. Some books really stand up well after time but much of this book has reduced relevence in the post 9/11 world. Not that the issues aren't relevent, but a follow up almost needs to be written. Much of the book is a sort of 'what if' situation and now that we know some of the answers it is time to apply them. Some of the best parts of the book were the epilogues. All in all it was a fun, easy read that had some impact on the way that I view the military, the warrior archetype, and the role of Aikido in the modern world.

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
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