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The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training for Climbers Paperback – September 1, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Arno Ilgner distinguished himself as a pioneering rock climber in the 1970s and 80s, when the top climbs were bold and dangerous first ascents. These personal exploits are the foundation for Ilgner s unique physical and mental training program--The Warrior`s Way. In 1995, after a thorough search of the literature and practice of mental training and the great warrior traditions, Ilgner formalized his methods, founded the Desiderata Institute, and began teaching his program full time. Since then, he has helped hundreds of student sharpen their awareness, focus attention, and understand their athletic (and life) challenges within a coherent, learning-based philosophy of intelligent risk-taking. Ilgner considers the joy and satisfaction in the effort the journey intimately linked to successful attainment of goals, the destination. Alumni of his courses now include some of the nation s most prominent climbers. Ilgner has run clinics in the north- and southeastern U.S, to California, Canada, and the U.K. He has worked with young competition climbers and written national magazine articles based on his methods. He holds a BA in geology, spent several years operating his own geological consulting firm in the Wyoming oil fields, acted as Chief Financial Officer for an industrial tool distribution company, attended the Army Ranger School, and served a non-combat tour of duty in Korea. He currently resides with his family near Nashville, Tennessee.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Desiderata Institute; 2nd edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974011215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974011219
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a casual acquaintance of Arno's over the years, I was gratified and pleased by how good his book turned out to be. It stands as a high water mark in the human potential genre. Well written and clear, Arno and Achey bring high theory down to earth (or the high cliffs as it were). As most people can imagine the challenge that hard rock climbing is, the lessons in this book could well be applied to help one deal with any challenge. In other words, you don't have to be a climber to get allot out of this book.
Regarding the falling issue mentioned a few reviews back, I have to defend Arno and make it very clear that he does not advocate taking falls willy nilly. What he does advocate is taking responsibility for one's willingness or unwillingness to fall and making that choice based on the best possible information at hand, unfettered by an irrational fear of falling that prooccupies attention and leads to the dreaded 'overgrip'. His fall drills are designed to lesson that kind of fear by making falling a known experience rather than a boogie man that robs one's attention and strength.
Where a climber likes to be on the safety - risk continuum is unavoidably a personal decision. Better to come to that decision with as much skill and information as one can gather. Nevertheless, regardless of how much you know and how strong you are, if you are challenging yourself at the edge of your abilities, you will still have to make your move and shove off into the unknown. That's the beauty of climbing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ilgner's book is definitely not something you'll just breeze through in an afternoon. Some of the concepts are pretty abstract, and a lot of the book's power lies in helping you to look at your own weaknessess and bad habits...which is not something all of us are eager to do. However, if you take some time with the ideas and let them sink in, you may be very surprised and grateful for what you find.

One particularly powerful concept is what Ilgner calls "wishing behavior": wishing that a hold were bigger or that the pro was better or closer to you. Once you become attuned to this you will be amazed at how common, and how unproductive, this kind of thinking is. All around you at the crag (and perhaps in your own mind), you'll suddenly hear voices wailing about how hard and impossible it all is, and how they wish the climb or the climber were different.

Well, the holds are the holds, the pro is the pro, and you are you. That's the challenge you came for, and this book can help you learn to savor it and thrive in it.
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By A Customer on December 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Since the day I started climbing I always felt there was a strong mental aspect to our sport. It became obvious to me when I started following Eric Hörst's mental tips and found jumps in my ability. I felt more powerful even though my muscles had not grown any stronger.
After breaking through small barriers, I realized there was another world of mental training, but I had no idea where to turn. There were authors putting out psychological books for other sports, but climbing has always been more complicated. Arno Ilgner has filled this gap with his new book, The Rock Warrior's Way.
Don't let the cover fool you. When I first picked it up, my impression was that this book was dedicated to old school trad methods. This could not have been further from the truth. This book is for all climbers. Some of his themes are self observation and the importance of separating our identity from our experiences and responding to them with patience and intelliegence.
Ilgner finds a way to make order of chaos. He's found a way to express our mental habits that everyone can understand and he's created simple and effective ways to address our problems. Whatever your level of climbing, you will walk away from this book with valuable lessons.
--Sonnie Trotter, Gripped magazine
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While Arno's book is written in the context of rock climbing, it doesn't take a careful read to see how the training he espouses can be applied to all facets of one's life. In my view, he has done a very fine job of synthesizing the teachings of a wide range of thinkers/philosophers and distilled them into an excellent description of mental challenges and a plan of action to surmount them. To sum up, he advises approaching life/climbing not with a competition or achievement focus, but with a desire to LEARN and a focus on the love you have for the sport. Sounds a bit hokey in a review, I know; trust me, it makes a lot of sense when you read it.

I rarely spend the time highlighting books, but I reread this one in order to heavily highlight and annotate it. Likewise, it will remain on my device for quite some time as I learn to apply his techniques.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best book on training the mental aspects of climbing that I've ever found. Arno really lays it out there in a well conceived and systematic approach. But not to say that it's stiff; no, it's a very organic and holistic in nature and truly inspiring. Climbing is such a wonderful activity / lifestyle, and a poignant metaphor for living and embracing life's challenges. Arno says that the ultimate goal of climbing (and life) is to learn and grow by embracing challenges and using them to change our lives for the better. Seriously good stuff here folks. I can't recommend this book enough.
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