Archive for November, 2009

Book Review: The Book of Martial Power

November 16, 2009 2 comments

In summertime I went on a book binge, and got me a few martial arts books at the Emily Carr library (that’s the one here)

Among the books I picked up was The Book of Martial Power which, I’m not going to lie, had a title that worried me a little. As it turns out, the author, Steven J Pearlman, is talking about power not in terms of physical muscle power, but in terms of physics, so the book is aptly named.

I enjoyed this book. I liked it for three big reasons. The first is that it opens with discussion of basic physics, the sort of stuff you get in grades 9 and 10 and promptly forget about except in rare occasions (of course, if you grew up to become a physicist, this may not have been your experience). We’re talking about levers, velocity and force. I love to see things explained, and this book is chock-a-block full of nice, physics based explanations for why a tiny person can kick a very big person’s tush. Common sense says, forget it, but physics says yes. I love it when physics says yes.

The second thing I liked about this book were the stickmen. Seriously, you can talk to me about movement and leverage all you want, but I’m a visual person. Stickmen. They’re what makes it all make sense.

The third thing I liked was also oddly something I didn’t care much for. No, this isn’t a Zen thing. The author’s very careful to avoid stepping on toes. He takes pains to explain that he’s not saying any one style is better or worse than another, just looking at the physics, guv. At first, it looks like due diligence. Then it looks like tush-covering (fair enough. Who wants 100 members of some martial art to show up at your door and say, “So you think our style sucks, huh?” Heck, who even wants to deal with that once?).

By the third or fourth time it happened, I started to wonder, Are martial artists all prissypants who feel so insecure about their styles that they’ll just assume that if they’re not explicitly described as just as worthwhile as another style, then people don’t like take them seriously? Really?

That’s a little depressing. I sort of thought we might not care about what other people think, because if it came down to it, if some dark-clad stranger strode into our dojo and said, “I think you all suck,” then we could bust it out. I’m just saying. Respect I’m down with. Soothing delicate egos not so much. Still, I didn’t write this (excellent) book, so I wouldn’t have to deal with people coming after me if they felt slighted. And as issues with an MA book go, they’re pretty darn minor.

Categories: Reviews

Long Time

November 16, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a long time since I added anything new to the blog (sorry!), but now life has slowed down a bit, and I’m back to training, and I’ve been mining the internet for various and sundry scrumptious martial arts morsels, so brace yerselves. We’re back. Er, in just a minute.

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