Sunday, April 23, 2017

Episode LXI-Read My Podcast, No New Taxes

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Intro Music: Theme from Enter the Dragon by Lalo Shifri

Introduction

  Recorded On: 4/23/2017
  iTunes Review
  www.whistlekick.com

Interlude Music: We're Gonna Make It by Hammerfall

Interview: Sensei Jesse Enkamp

  Contact Information
  karatebyjesse.com

Interlude Music: Theme from Enter the Dragon by Lalo Shifri

This Week In Martial Arts
April 26th, 1954
Seven Samurai Premiered in Japan

Contact Information

Email: martialthoughts@gmail.com
Twitter: @martialthoughts
Facebook: facebook.com/martialthoughts

Closing Music: Voodoo Child-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna

3.5 Ninja Star Review for "Fundamental Iron Skills" by Dr. Dale Dugas

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given this book for review purposes.
Title: Fundamental Iron Skills: Tempering Body and Limbs with Ancient Methods
Author: Dr. Dale Dugas
Publisher: Tambuli Media
Published: 2015
Format: Softcover
Pages: 155
Cover Price: $29.99

Take Away: An excellent introduction to the ways of building up your own iron skills

    This book represents a  curiosity of mine.  As I come from a very soft martial art (aikido), I have no experience with the hard styles building up of the body in this way.  I had seen a couple of documentaries where if you look closely, the old karate master's hands were calloused and looked barely functional anymore, but I wouldn't want to be hit with them.   There had to be something in their training that could lead to this.  Then, when reading the Bubishi, translated by Patrick McCarthy, they talked about the medical tinctures or liniments that allowed for them to heal their hands when doing their training.  This awoke a curiosity in me, and led me to this book.

Content


    The book starts off with what iron skills actually are.  If you're like me, you've heard of "Iron Palm" techniques.  Maybe from old Kung Fu movies.  Well, Dr. Dugas explains how iron palm is just one subset of techniques/skills that comprises iron skills.  He then explains why every martial artist would want to train some in iron skills.  He then goes on to explain what prep work is required to actually start training.  The first thing this includes is the creation and use of Dit Da Jau liniment.  These are the "magical" recipes passed down from master to student which enables the hands to heal from the purposeful beatings you give them with iron skills.  The other equipment you'll need is a striking bag and bag stand.  Dr. Dugas includes the different theories on these and how you should select one if you are going to work iron skills.
    The second section of the book deals with training.  How to train to acquire the iron skills, and specific training methods.  But of course training without application is useless, so the author then shows how these skills can then be applied, specifically how it applied in Baguazhan and Southern Mantis, which I think the reader can extrapolate how to apply these in their own arts.

Pros


    This books puts forth some of the more extreme sides of martial arts in a very simple, matter-of-fact way.  It doesn't seem to be trying to convert you to a way of thinking, it just presents you with information.  I appreciate that part of the book.  I also appreciated the application portion of the book.  Once you learn the methodology, its always good to see how your new skills can be learned.

Cons


    There really is nothing wrong with the book.  It is well written, it makes sense, the pictures are easy to follow.  If you are looking for an introduction book to iron skills, this should be the one you get.  If you're not looking, I think there can still be some value.


Conclusion


    If you were looking for a book to start your iron skills training, (or are just iron skills curious?), this would be a perfect place to start.  It beautifully lays out what you need to start, both in terms of materials and initial practices.  The only reason I'm going to give this book a lower rating is because of my rating scale.  I rate on how useful it is to martial artist of any style, skill level, or ability.  I think this book is great, but it may only be really intended for a specific set of readers.  Therefore, I'm going to give the book 3.5 out of 5 Ninja Stars.  I enjoyed reading it.  I learned a lot, and I appreciate the skill set gained by the practitioner, I just don't know if its for me, and my martial art.  Perhaps there's an idea for a Martial Thoughts experiment on my part?  Could be.  If there is, I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Friday, April 14, 2017

5 Ninja Stars for Krav Maga Tactical Survival by Gershon Ben Keren

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given this book for review purposes

Title: Krav Maga Tactical Survival-Personal Safety in Action
Author: Gershon Ben Keren
Publisher: Tuttle
Format: Softcover
Pages: 224
Cover Price: $17.95 ($12.16)

Take Away: A book of amazing pictures masterfully illustrates how to use martial arts tactics in realistic personal safety situations.

    I've reviewed Mr. Ben Keren's previous book (here) and found it a really frank and honest review of self defense situations.  I liked it so much that I interviewed the author on Episode XXIV of the Martial Thoughts Podcast.  When I heard his second book had come out, I was excited.


Contents


    This book continues in the vein of the first one.  It goes through very realistic situations and tactics while using full color pictures to show the tactics and techniques being employed.  The book itself is broken into five separate parts.  The first being striking.  It illustrates simple to use strikes, and more importantly how and when to use the appropriate strike.  The second section may actually be the most important.  It deals with trying de-escalation and how to read the warning signs that the other guy is going to attack regardless of what's being said.  The third section deals with what was left out of the first book: armed assaults.  It details some techniques that could be employed in armed situations, including how to foil/stop a weapon a weapon from being drawn in the first place.  The fourth describes what to do when being grabbed in various ways, and the last section deals specifically with throws and how and when to apply them.

Pros


    The book is really well written in plain language to make it easy to understand.  You get the feeling of the gravity of the situation and techniques without it feel like its trying to scare you.  The author calmly explains what happens to you and the attacker biologically, psychologically, and emotionally when fights occur.  It also gives you an option or two to deal with the confrontation.  So in the end you feel kind of empowered by the knowledge.  
    However, The biggest thing about this book that stands out to me is the pictures.  First, they are in color.  Second, they are set in real places/situations and they are taken in the middle of an executed technique, not "staged" in place as some others tend to be.  

Cons


    I don't think I have any cons.  If there is one specific detail I had to pick on, it would be that this is more of a volume two.  You can read this book and experience it in its glory as is.  However, it would be better suited to have read the first book first.  The first book deals more with the history of Krav Maga, and how to deal with unarmed attacks.  

Conclusion


Overall this book accomplishes exactly what it aims to do.  Using Krav Maga strategy to effect simple self defense tactics in realistic ways.  The book is presented to be useful for anyone.  If you are looking for self-defense and are not a martial artist, this gives you a REALLY good starting point to work from.  If you are already a martial artist, you probably practice some, if not most, of these techniques in your art.  This book might just be there to give you context.  That's why I'm going to give this book 5 out of 5 Ninja Stars.  There is honestly nothing wrong with this book.  Especially if you consider it as volume 2 in conjunction with the first book.  If you teach or take martial arts and want to talk about self-defense as part of your curriculum, both books should be in your library.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

4 Ninja Stars for "True Path of the Ninja" by Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given this book for review purposes.

Title: True Path of the Ninja-The Definitive Translation of the Shoninki
Author: Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami
Publisher: Tuttle
Format: Softcover
Pages: 192
Cover Price: $12.95

Take Away: A great portrayal of what and who the real ninja were.

    I had read another of Mr Cummins, and Ms. Minami's books before (The Last Samurai School, and Samurai and Ninja) and I always appreciate the translations that they provide.  I even interviewed Mr Cummins on the Martial Thoughts Podcast (Episode XX).  The authors job is to translate real ninja scrolls as well as provide comment on them to explain what they really mean.  Their books always provide some background to make sure the reader understands both the context and the connotation that was undoubtedly written into the scrolls.

Content

    The book is a translation of Natori Masazumi's Shoninki.  It includes several sections on how to infiltrate enemy areas, how to gain information while there, and how to in effect, "think" like a ninja.

Pros

    The writing is one of the strong points of this book.  The translations are done very well, to the point that it is easy to read and understand as a modern English speaker.  Before each section of the scroll, the authors give a small, couple paragraph introduction on what is contained in that particular section.  I believe this helped the reader be able to understand each of the translated sections even better.

Cons 

    The one problem I have isn't with the book or the authors at all.  It is with the scroll that was translated itself.  This was the last scroll that a ninja was supposed to be familiar with.  So it kind of glances over some of the more "ninja-like" stuff such as the equipment and weapons.  However, those are found in the other books.  Those items are not in the purview of this particular scroll, so I cannot find fault with that.

Conclusion

    Overall, I had a good time reading this book.  I mean come on...What part of NINJA SCROLL wouldn't be exciting to you?  As I said, the book was well written and the information was easily accessible.  It gave you the big picture aspect of being a ninja in the times when ninja were employed. I enjoyed how they passed down the ideas of infiltration, not by sneaking in all ninja-like, but by disguising yourself as wood cutter, or a begger, and walking around town.  Any book that says "bribe the clergy with gold" has to be good, right?  So overall I'm going to give this book 4 out of 5 Ninja Stars because it is a good read, the subject matter is interesting, and well presented.  I just think because of the way the original scroll was to be used, it felt as if you were missing something when reading it.  

Blog References for the Martial Artist

Hey Everyone,

Here's a link to another website's best martial arts blogs that will help in your training.

http://www.fullcontactway.com/top-blogs-martial-arts-training/

Why did I give you that link?  Well, because they were kind enough to mention Martial Thoughts on their Top 40 list.  I read a bunch of these, and have even interviewed some of the authors of these blogs.  This list is by no means exclusive, and there are some that I read on that aren't on this list.  But this will give you plenty to read up on.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Episode LX-The Only Thing We Have To Fear is Podcast Itself

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Intro Music: Theme from Enter the Dragon by Lalo Shifri

Introduction
  Recorded On: April 1st, 2017
  www.whistlekick.com
  Coupon Code: MA10
  Always Picked Last Review 

Interlude Music: Foreplay/Long Time by Boston

Interview: Coach Kevin
 
Contact Information
  kevin@burnwithkearns.com
  kidsgrowingupstrong.com
  Facebook: Burn with Kearns
  Instagram: Burn with Kearns
  Always Picked Last

Interlude Music: Peace of Mind by Boston

This Week in Martial Arts
    April 1961 = First Real Publication of Black Belt Magazine
      Uyehara Mitoshi, 3rd Dan under Tohei Sensei

Contact Information
Email; martialthoughts@gmail.com
Twitter: @martialthoughts
Facebook: www.facebook.com/martialthoughts

Closing Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix Gayageum ver. by Luna

Monday, March 27, 2017

Episode LIX-Ask Not What Your Podcast Can Do For You


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Intro Music: Theme from Enter the Dragon by Lalo Schifri

Introduction
  Recorded on: Monday March 27th, 2017
  iTunes Review Link
  Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio
  www.whistlekick.com
    Coupon Code: MA10

Interlude Music: Funky Cold Medina by Tone-Loc

Interview: Dan Medina
  Derobio Escrima: A Martial Art of the Philippines
  Review of Derobio Escrima from Martial thoughts
  General Faustino Ablen
  Grandmaster Braulio Tomada Pedoy

  Movies
    Ip Man
    Tai Chi 2 Tai Chi Hero?

  Contact 
    Mr. Escrima on Youtube
    medina.escrima@gmail.com

Interlude Music: Funky Cold Medina by Tone-Loc

This Week in Martial Arts: March 30th 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Contact Information
Twitter: @martialthoughts
Email: martialthoughts@gmail.com
www.thinkingmartial.blogspot.com
facebook.com/martialthoughts

Closing Music: Voodoo Child-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna