In the interest of full disclosure, I was given this book for review purposes.
Title: FMA Education: The Fundamental Core of Arnis De Mano
Author: Louelle C. Lledo Jr., and Andy T. Sanano Jr.
Publisher: Tambuli Media
I've been doing quite a bit of reading up on Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) and this was the next book on my list. I have to say, this was an unusual book, in that it had a specific goal of talking about the FMA Arnis de Mano that is the sport and educational portion of the martial arts of the Philippines. It has been deemed the national sport of the Philippines, and as such this was indeed a necessary book, especially in English when the US has increasing numbers of FMA practitioners.
FMA Education starts with an overview of the physical philosophy that Arnis de Mano exemplifies. It explains the basic ideas that are taught in this particular branch of Filipino Martial Arts. It then goes through the basic ways to break down the types of strikes, and how Arnis de Mano number their strikes, as well as how some other systems do. This is done to show that more is the same in their techniques than is different. After the basic strikes are detailed, then the targets of these strikes. There is also a section on drills to develop these strikes. It finishes up with the rules and regulations for the Arnis de Mano competitions.
I got a lot out of this book despite not being a FMA practitioner. It's most promising aspect was a well thought out plan for teaching the material. This aspect could easily be adapted to any martial art. If you're in the process of laying out the curriculum for a martial art, then this book would be a great template. Look at how the authors have done this, and simply apply the process to your art.
Besides that aspect, the book does a good job at simplifying the ideas to the point where the can be practiced individually until enough skill is built up. Then it gives you more complex drills to practice these more complex ideas again. There are plenty of pictures to show what the ideas being presented look like.
I don't really have any complaints about the book. It is well presented information. The pictures are easy enough to follow. Not being an FMA practitioner, I don't know how simple, complex, or revolutionary the book is, so I can't judge it based on that criteria. However, if you are not an FMA practitioner, or an instructor looking for a way to organize your martial art, I don't know what you'd get from this book...let me know when you read it (in the comments below).
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I do think it has a somewhat limited audience. If you are in FMA, then I suspect this would be a great help to you. If you are into any sort of stick/blade art, this could be a helpful book. If not, you may still get something out of it like I did. I really appreciated the organizational aspect of the martial art, as I've been recently thinking about my own art, and how that is organized. That's why I'm going to give this book 3.5 out of 5 Ninja Stars. Not due to any fault of the book's, because it is a very well presented source of information, but rather for the smaller scale of its intended audience. I would still read this book again, and will indeed be keeping it on my bookshelf for as long as I have one.