The Rock Warrior's Way

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Mental training is scarcely covered in the climbing literature, yet it is as important to performance as strength, flexibility, and technique. In his unique approach to mental training, Arno Ilgner draws essential elements from the rich 'warrior' literature, as well as from sports psychology, and combines these with his extensive climbing experience to create The Rock Warriors Way. 

Improvement in climbing is often believed to only occur when it involves more climbing and hard training. Improving the mind is far more powerful than any physical work, and quicker.

Publication Year 2004

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The following are basic tenets of the Rock Warrior's Way mental training approach:

1. Our performance is greatly affected by the subconscious, hidden parts of our minds.

2. Improved performance occurs through a process that is fundamentally one of growth, which in the mental sphere, we also call learning. You learn best by focusing your attention on the situation, in an attitude of problem solving.

3. Motivation is a key ingredient in performance, and the quality of that motivation, not just its quantity, matters. Performance is improved by moving away from fear-based motivation and toward love-based motivation.

4. There are two types of fear: survival and illusory. The former is healthy and helpful while the latter is not. It is important to be able to distinguish between the two fears.

5. Death is our "advisor." In other words, awareness of our mortality is a helpful reality check. It reminds us that every action matters, and thus directs our actions toward what's really important, valuable, and purposeful in our lives. Death reminds us that we have no time to waste. This program is called the Rock Warrior's Way because the mental principles it uses have a close kinship with those discovered by those who were in actual martial situations. Death was so likely that unusual mental preparation was absolutely essential. Even in less perilous activities, such as rock climbing, death is still a real possibility, and this truth can help us. Ultimately, for each of us, death is certain. The question, then, is how can we use the unavoidable truth of our mortality to empower us rather than cripple and terrify us?

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