Sharpening the Warrior's Edge
The Psychology & Science of Training
Written by Bruce Siddle
Reviewed by Jesse Seal

Sharpening the Warrior's Edge pioneered "warrior science" in the modern age of combat and technology. Published in 1995, it paved the way for authors like Dave Grossman and Loren Christenson (On Combat), along with Michael Asken (Warrior Mindset), which reference Siddle's work numerous times.

While I would consider this book an introduction to the books written by Grossman and other warrior scholars, its value is in its simplicity. As a young warrior I see this as a great aid to my own training, but recognize the primary benefit is for those who are instructors. Regardless, this is for anyone who takes their training seriously (as you should, since your life may someday depend on it).

Since knowledge is half the battle, this book is for those who want to prepare themselves for life threatening situations. Bruce Siddle does an excellent job of exploring reaction times, how motor skills play a role in the body's key survival mechanism (fight or flight), and the affects of stress on performance among other things.

Here is a small excerpt from the book, which is explaining the relationship between stress (arousal) and performance:

"The study of the affects of stress on performance led to the development of the Inverted-U Hypothesis. 'The Inverted-U Hypothesis simply proposes that increases in arousal are accompanied in the quality of performance up to a certain point, after which additional increases in arousal result in a deterioration in the quality of performance' (Sage 1984).

Sage successfully classifies skills into several different categories that help put the research into proper perspective for survival training. He classifies task complexity by perceptual and cognitive demands, the terms of the degree of inhibition and precision required, and the complexity of the task movement."

The chapter this excerpt was taken from continues to explore the relationship between stress, motor skills, and performance. This, to me, defines the foundation of a warrior's training, or "sharpening the warrior's edge" (nudge, nudge).

Other chapters of the book will teach survival stress management, psychological aspects of combative training, and most importantly, how to implement the research presented in this book into your own training.

Everything in this book is geared towards making your training better and increasing your chances of survival.

Sharpening the Warrior's Edge is a warrior's manual; police officers, military personnel, and other servicemen and women will recognize the benefits more than most. I also think this is an important book for any person who takes their personal protection and the safety of those they care about seriously (concealed carriers, I'm especially talking about you).

If being a survivor, as opposed to a victim, sounds like something you're interested in, I'd highly recommend reading this book so that you know the difference between effective and non-effective training.  

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About the Author

Jesse Seal is the assistance Combatives Instructor, and has been training in Combative Sciences since 2008. He has also been training and learning through Bullock's Irondom Performance Systems since 2010.

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