The Rock Warrior’s Way
by Arno Ilgner
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About the Author
Arno Ilgner distinguished himself as a pioneering rock climber in the 1970s and 80s. In 1995, after searching the literature and practice of mental training, Ilgner formalized his methods, created The Warrior’s Way®, and began teaching full time.
Ilgner has taught clinics across the U.S.A. and abroad. He holds a BA in Geology, operated a geological consulting firm, acted as CFO for a company, and attended the Army Ranger School. He lives and climbs in Tennessee.
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 Warrior’s Way®.
Here is a comprehensive program for learning how to focus your mental resources during a challenging climb. It includes step-by-step guidance on motivation analysis, information gathering, risk assessment, mental focus, and deliberate transition into action.
Poor use of attention creates fear, which can manifest itself as anything from performance anxiety to sheer terror. By using attention more purposefully we can understand how fear is created, deal with it effectively, and free ourselves to get back in touch with a far more powerful motivating force: our love of climbing. We can then create the kind of unbending intention that leads to outstanding performance. The Warrior’s Way® is a revolutionary program for climbers who want to improve both their performance and their enjoyment of climbing.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Becoming Conscious
2. Life is Subtle
3. Accepting Responsibility
7. The Journey
Twenty years ago, Arno Ilgner and his buddy Steve Petro were working a hard route, Morning Sickness (5.11d) in Fremont Canyon, Wyoming, that was reachy for both. Petro, while an excellent climber, complained daily about being too short for the initial move. Finally, Ilgner blew up, and told him to just accept his height: “You aren’t going to grow any taller and the roof isn’t getting any shorter!” Petro, briefly taken aback, decided to work with what was–instead of wasn’t–available, and sent the route next visit.
Ilgner, a hard Southern climber and runout guru of 30 years, has learned much along the way, compiling a program of mental training for climbers that he has now condensed into The Rock Warrior’s Way. While drawing from his own experience, Ilgner also sought concepts through a wide range of sources, from Carlos Castaneda to the Russian spiritualist George Gurdjieff.
Considering the many books dedicated to climbing training, little writing hitherto has addressed the climber’s mind in-depth. Ilgner’s self-published book is short on frills–the design is basic and the black-and-white photos unspectacular–but long on “warrior” beta, containing thoughtful information worth every penny of the price. Ilgner has managed to convey his experience into a chewy, yet readable and effective, guide to attaining the focused power of the martial-arts student. The book offers a process for a climber–say, facing a runout or a hard route–to prepare for challenges, assess the difficulties ahead, and transition into action.
–Rob Dillon, Rock and Ice magazine