Not long ago at Fort Bragg, N.C., the country’s largest military base, seven soldiers sat in a semi-circle, lights dimmed, eyes closed, two fingertips lightly pressed beneath their belly buttons to activate their “core.” Electronic music thumped as the soldiers tried to silence their thoughts, the key to Warrior Mind Training, a form of meditation slowly making inroads on military bases across the country. “This is mental push-ups,” Sarah Ernst told the weekly class she leads for soldiers at Fort Bragg. “There’s a certain burn. It’s a workout.”
Such acts of meditation allow a small man to smash through heavy, dense, and non absorbent objects with the surface of a single knuckle. I often train my fists just after a yoga class finishes its routine, and I know the students would understand if I told them I was sitting quietly in the corner, convincing my mind that my appendages are not hands, but the shockwaves of cosmic disturbances that feel no pain, and are only capable of smashing through their target. To anyone else, id likely appear insane.
This practice is older than recorded history. To call it “new” is ignorant, and reeks of ethnocentrism.