Warrior Mindset
Mental Toughness Skills for a Nation's Peacekeepers
Written by Michael J. Asken, Ph.D.
Review by Jesse Seal

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Warrior Mindset is a companion to On Combat; in fact, Dave Grossman and Loren Christensen even helped co-write this book. With that said, there are parts of Warrior Mindset that will be a review for those who have read On Combat, but this only helps fortify and emphasize the importance of the content in this book.

Where On Combat focused on the psychological and physiological effects of combat, Warrior Mindset takes the psychology part a few steps further. Each chapter in this book is dedicated to developing mental toughness. Mental fortitude is something every warrior should possess! The techniques that are discussed in this book are for all warriors, whether you're just beginning down the path, or you've been on it for quite some time.

While this book will help you develop and sharpen your mental toughness, I think it is best suited for those people who tend to think negatively; whether about themselves, other people, situations, or just in general. Asken covers many bases of mental toughness, including the development of mental strength through physical conditioning, all the way to positive imagery, thoughts, and self-talk.

It even explores the topic of arousal, a topic that is talked about in most of our recommended reading books. In Warrior Mindset, however, the topic is looked at from a different perspective compared to Sharpening the Warrior's Edge and On Combat, in that Asken looks at ways to control tactical arousal through mental toughness. He also explains why this important in the follow excerpt:

"Remember the insights of John Giduck who highlighted the value that Russian Special Forces place on being able to remain relaxed in combat and in the face of threat and conflict. He goes on to say that experience from training done by his Archangel Group shows that removing tension from the mind and body increases the force that can be generated by the muscles. It is more difficult to hurt the relaxed combatant and relaxation prior to and at initial engagement can save oxygen and energy to be used later to dominate a depleted enemy [emphasis added].”

Once I reached a more advanced level in my combatives training with James Bullock, I started understanding this concept more thoroughly. This is actually one of the few universal combative principles that I've learned through my training, and this can more accurately be credited to Bruce Lee's "be like water" philosophy. Efficiency and simplicity are key.

While this example demonstrates a physical aspect in regards to combat, Asken goes on to provide various examples of relaxation techniques that you can try and eventually determine what works best for you.

Brad Thor, in his forward, explains how high-level athletes are taught to deal with stress and pressure, and that the same training should be afforded to our warriors. "Master of their minds can and will make the difference between life and death for our warriors," he says.

Warrior Mindset sets out to do three things; improve self-confidence, improve performance of tasks under high levels of stress, and decrease psychological damage from experiencing stressful, life or death, situations. These things should be a priority for all human beings, especially those who take it upon themselves to walk the warrior's path.

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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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