Advertisement

Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

‘Peaceful Warrior': Facing Your Demons, With Help From Socrates

Peaceful Warrior“–the movie version of the novel, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior,” written by former Olympic gymnast turned bestselling author Dan Millman–hits theaters up and down the West Coast this weekend. (Over the course of June, it will make its way East as well. To watch some clips from the movie, click here.)

Advertisement

As a former serious gymnast myself, I was impressed with the fact that “Peaceful Warrior” faces head on the fears–both real and psychological–that gymnasts struggle with, especially as they move higher up the competition scale. Olympics TV broadcasts often glorify gymnastics, sensationalizing the extreme disappointments and the exciting and unexpected successes (especially of the women), but fail to truly explore the mind games competitive gymnasts face on a regular basis. It is not uncommon for gymnasts to conjure up all sorts of demons regarding especially difficult moves, as is the case in the movie, where viewers are privy to the nightmares Dan (the main character) has about his routines on the rings.

I remember vividly the fears I associated with particular flips on the beam; with the enormous concentration needed for vaults; and with hitting the spring board just right, to get enough height. I remember playing these moves over and over in my mind, imagining myself crashing in all sorts of horrible ways–in a manner similar to the visions Dan has of himself falling from the rings and mangling his body.

Advertisement

In my case, as the mind games got overly intense and the fears grew too enormous to withstand, I eventually quit. Yet the plot of “Peaceful Warrior” turns instead on Dan’s chance encounter with a man at a local gas station whom he learns to call Socrates (played by Nick Nolte). Socrates teaches him how to quell the demons with Eastern philosophy and a range of Zen meditation techniques (which sometimes come off rather “Karate Kid”-like).

Through Dan’s relationship with this mysterious man who doles out wisdom left and right–such as, “You are not who you think you are”–to a confused and, at first, resistant Dan, Dan learns to master his fears, become the moves of his routines, and overcome a potential identity crisis involving the loss of his Olympic dream and his future as a gymnast. The movie is ultimately of the inspirational genre, yet rather than have it turn on the simple theme of “the comeback,” it explores the notion of becoming spiritually centered as foundational to the possibility of a comeback.

Advertisement

Be warned: Viewers may cringe at the inevitable and rather corny allusions to “The Karate Kid,” as well as the familiar, cliched philosopher-sage advice continually emerging from the mouth of Socrates. (It gets a bit over the top). But the way the film develops the relationship between becoming spiritually centered and finding success in life–particularly in sports (and most specifically, gymnastics)–is intriguing nonetheless. The story is sure to have athletes, both former and current, reflecting on their own self-conjured mind games and demons, and whether Eastern philosophy and meditative practices might be helpful in conquering these common psychological struggles in the world of competitive sports.

  • http://EckerdCollege DR FRANCINE DENNIS-MCCAULEY

    Your review was very appreciated, as I have read the book; since we are in the East, the movie version has not yet appeared here; can it be purchased on DVD? As a former gymnast (Olympic level, 1956 (Melbourne, Australia) I still, (nearly 70 years of age) can Go Back and Feel the Pain and Glory of special moments in gymnastics. My husband Lanham still listens to ‘my stories’ when our family get-togethers occur… Looking forward to seeing the movie and thank you so much for the review. Sincerely, Francine>

Previous Posts

Letterman Bids Farewell Tonight
It's David Lettman's last episode interviewing, so what do you do? Well have his first guest, ever, Bill Murray pop out of a cake - of course! [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW8MY9CD-tQ[/youtube] Murray appeared on the first late ...

posted 9:03:34am May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Finding Neverland - On a Stage!
Calling all fans of Lost Boys!             You loved Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, right? The film about J.M. Barrie in 2004 is back - in the form of a Broadway ...

posted 12:53:47pm May. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Blues Guitarist B.B. King Dead at 89
Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King died Thursday night at the age of 89 in a Las Vegas hospital. King was the son of a sharecropper, and was born on a plantation in Mississippi. He worked his way up from singing in church, performing on street ...

posted 9:27:21am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

'Where Hope Grows' is a Much Watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L10tIzZZrA Kristoffer Polaha stars as a baseball slugger with Detroit Tigers who was forced to retire early due to panic attacks at the plate. Calvin Campbell struggles with alcoholism, depression, and battles ...

posted 8:58:33am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

One Good Fella
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKjent3fFcs Jersey Girl, the Body Guard, and Goodfellas--Mike Starr always plays a wise guy. The graduate of Hofstra University’s latest role is the comedy Dancer and the Dame, a film about a police officer ...

posted 12:13:10pm May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.