Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge

December 16, 2013 By Nanci J.

Publication Date:  October 1, 1995

Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge is the first text which examines survival and combat performance from a scientific perspective. Author Bruce K. Siddle methodically brings together one hundred years of research which identifies the relationship between survival stress, the heart rate and combat performance.

Most importantly, Siddle explores the psychological and spiritual components which establish the warrior mindset. This pioneering test is a must read for present-day warriors, or anyone involved in use of force, combat, or martial arts training.

Bruce Siddle, in his book “Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge,” explores the deterioration in normal functioning which occurs when a person’s heart rate soars too high under extreme stress.  The effects are fascinatingly awful!

The book underlines the importance of survival strategies for life-threatening scenarios, which are also applicable for general stress-proofing and performance enhancement to meet ordinary challenges.  It is not difficult to identify numerous challenges we face as security guards, which can be very stressful yet ordinary to our line of work. Performing fire procedure in an alarm condition or dealing with verbal abuse from an irate person are examples which come to mind.  If you are like me, these situations cause your heart rate to increase.

In addition to training for skill confidence, Siddle promotes 2 techniques: tactical breathing and visualization.  During the most recent fire alarm that I experienced at my work site, I noticed that my heart was racing as I made the first intercom announcement.  During the 30 second interval before repeating the announcement, I focused on taking slow, deep breaths.  From that point on, I was a smooth operator.  Tactical breathing works, you just have to remember to do it.

I recommend this book.  Although not exhaustive in providing practical techniques for stress management, the book provides useful information which will motivate and perhaps inspire you to try something new or develop other strategies that work for you.  It will also contribute to a deeper understanding and greater appreciation for the rigors of our Condor training.


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