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Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence [Kindle Edition]

Rory Miller
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Finalist - 2008 Book of the Year Award by Foreword Magazine
Finalist - 2008 USA Best Book Award

A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real-World Violence

Experienced martial artist and veteran correction officer Sgt. Rory Miller distills what he has learned from jailhouse brawls, tactical operations and ambushes to explore the differences between martial arts and the subject martial arts were designed to deal with: Violence.

Sgt. Miller introduces the myths, metaphors and expectations that most martial artists have about what they will ultimately learn in their dojo. This is then compared with the complexity of the reality of violence. Complexity is one of the recurring themes throughout this work.

Section Two examines how to think critically about violence, how to evaluate sources of knowledge and clearly explains the concepts of strategy and tactics.

Sections Three and Four focus on the dynamics of violence itself and the predators who perpetuate it. Drawing on hundreds of encounters and thousands of hours spent with criminals Sgt. Miller explains the types of violence; how, where, when and why it develops; the effects of adrenaline; how criminals think, and even the effects of drugs and altered states of consciousness in a fight.

Section Five centers on training for violence, and adapting your present training methods to that reality. It discusses the pros and cons of modern and ancient martial arts training and gives a unique insight into early Japanese kata as a military training method.

Section Six is all about how to make self-defense work. Miller examines how to look at defense in a broader context, and how to overcome some of your own subconscious resistance to meeting violence with violence.

The last section deals with the aftermath—the cost of surviving sudden violence or violent environments, how it can change you for good or bad. It gives advice for supervisors and even for instructors on how to help a student/survivor. You’ll even learn a bit about enlightenment.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"A must read book for LEO’s, Martial Artists...highly recommend!" (Detective Sgt. Tony Urena, SWAT sniper, 6th dan, narcotics officer)

“It’s the real thing!” (Steve Barnes, author, martial artist)

“A fresh voice writing from the trenches on the realities of real fighting. Listen to him!” (Loren Christensen, 7th dan, Police Officer, author)

“One of the best books on self-protection ever written! Outstanding!” (Iain Abernethy, 5th dan, British Combat Association Hall of Fame Member)

“A stark look into the real world [of violence]. Highly recommended!” (Robert Carver, 6th dan, USMC Ret.)

"...required reading for all serious martial artists, law enforcement officers, security professionals, and anyone else who might have to deal with violence in some capacity. illuminating and very likely lifesaving as well." (Lawrence A. Kane, Book Reviewer for ForeWord Reviews, martial artist since 1970)

From the Publisher

FINALIST for National Best Books Award: Current Events - Political/Social, 2008
(Sponsored by USA Book News)

FINALIST for Book of the Year Award: Body/Mind/Spirit, 2008
(Sponsored by ForeWord Magazine)


Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
183 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Civilian and non-martial artist..... June 22, 2008
Format:Paperback
I highly recommend this book to anyone. As a civilian who dabbled sparingly in martial arts most recently over a decade ago, I am in no way an expert in anything that is contained in this book except for the fact that I have been a victim of violent crime. Any one of us could be the next victim of violence and the ideas that Sgt. Miller proposes on preparing yourself to survive assault should be basic lessons for anyone wanting to learn self-defense. Being aware of your surroundings, knowing your E&E routes, understanding that if someone hits you, you will freeze, and understanding that to an assaulter, you are just a piece of meat standing between what he wants and you have. These lessons are important, and in all the self-defense classes for women I've seen, only the first of that list has even been mentioned.

Sections 3 and 4 were enlightening into a realm of human experience I am profoundly grateful that I do not have to deal with or even think about for a vast majority of my life. I am very grateful to the small group of individuals who deal with the criminal aspect of our society and create that opaque veil that shields us from ever having to deal with the thought of humans enjoying hurting and killing others of their species. Law and Policy Makers should really read this section and try to understand it. Then ask the question: Are we making our society better with our incarceration system?

Finally, on a very personal note I found Section 6 to be insightful for its practical look at the problems of training. I am one of those survivor-students that looked for an Instructor to teach me how to never be raped again. I tried Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan Karate and finally Jiu-Jitsu trying to find an instructor that could give me that peace of mind. Sgt.
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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating; a True "Must Read" July 20, 2008
Format:Paperback
At the beginning of this exceptional book is a black and white photograph of a bathroom with a swirl of sticky-looking muck on the floor and a few little droplets splattered across the side of the toilet. Since there is no color it takes a moment to realize what you are looking at, but this mess is clearly human blood, a LOT of human blood. You don't know what happened but it was obviously something awful. A slowly drying pool of blood is not what one might expect to find at the beginning of a typical martial arts book, but then again real-life violence is not a subject that martial artists typically understand or write about.

Like a pool of blood, violence is a very sobering subject; one that must be treated seriously in order to do any good. Meditations on Violence certainly fits that bill. It is a refreshingly frank, honest, and in-depth assessment that teaches readers how to think critically about the subject, determine how to evaluate sources of knowledge, and understand how to identify strategies and select tactics to deal with violence effectively.

As a corrections officer and tactical team leader Miller regularly tangles with hard-core predators. He describes his job this way: "I beat people up for a living. I can pretty the phrase up a lot, but in the end I get paid (and paid well) to go into a situation, usually alone and usually outnumbered by sixty or more criminals, and maintain order."

This is a guy who routinely survives brutal encounters that would leave the average person physically and emotionally shattered. Unlike most martial arts instructors, he has first-hand experience that separates longstanding myths and heroic fantasies from merciless reality.
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92 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars devastates the dojo fantasy June 24, 2008
Format:Paperback
I'd always had a nagging feeling about my martial arts training; though there was no question it was good for my health, I was never too sure it was really relevant to self defense. The scenarios we practiced had nothing in common with the (few) *actual* violent encounters I had witnessed, which were short, brutish, and entirely unfair. (And for some reason didn't involve "Needle to Sea Bottom" or a Gracie-esque arm bar.) Since I live a pretty staid life, my training never gets tested.

Which is unlike the author of this book -- a jail guard involved in physical confrontations on a near daily basis. In this book Rory Miller pretty much devastates the notion that what goes on in most martial arts classes has anything in common with the fights and strategies he's observed in his work. He details types of confrontations, the people likely to be involved in them, and strategies they're using, and the often critical flaws in the way students are "prepared" for them by movies or the dojo.

As such, this is pretty much required reading for anyone taking or teaching martial arts for self-defense.

He doesn't offer a specific training program as a solution -- which is kind of the point. He's asking the reader to chew on the facts, not the fantasies. Fights aren't likely to be fair, or resemble sparring sessions. But they do have predictable participants, patterns and dynamics -- from the "Group Monkey Dance" to the "permission" that people give themselves to go on or give up.

It's a very particular reality he's describing; the book is pretty much a straight download from the author's life and brain.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book a must read.
Very well written and easy to understand. The logic of this book is a must read for any martial art student and especially any instructors.
Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent insights for all levels
An unsettling but healthy dose of reality about the nature of violence, how it happens, and your response to it. Read more
Published 21 days ago by jdavis
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for any martial artist
Rory Miller has loads of real world experience and has thought deeply about his subject. This slim book delivers tremendous value to any martial artist, as a reality check if... Read more
Published 22 days ago by J. Cornelius
5.0 out of 5 stars Self defense
I have practice martial arts for over fourty years and I am a Vietnam combat vet. This book is one I would have eveyone read.
Published 1 month ago by Earl H. Culp
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Enjoyed the perspective,passed this on and it was also well received. However not something my wife would read regarding defensive mindset
Published 2 months ago by Elroy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
With 43 years of training, with a school for 20 and then solo, I'm pretty critical when it comes to books of this kind. I enjoyed Mr. Read more
Published 2 months ago by sanchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
Love Rory Miller's 'voice', and such an interesting and honest retrospective about various aspects of violence. Something I will read again.
Published 3 months ago by lola_london
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
I can not recommend this book highly enough. One of the most important books I've ever read, and i don't say that lightly.
Published 3 months ago by Matthew McKinney
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't get it
I started reading it, and it makes sense, but I almost half in the book and I see no conclusions made... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Eduardo
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
I ENJOY RORY MILLER'S WRITING STYLE. HE HAS A LOT OF INFORMATION I FOUND VERY USEFUL AS A MARTIAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR/PRACTICER.
Published 3 months ago by jarhead64
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