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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 18, 2002
Golden Lion Kempo Karate: I've studied Kempo Karate, Tai Chi, Akido, Jui Jutisitu and Judo over the last ten years. I related to the concepts and stories told by the author. A martial artist knows the commitment, skill, and dedication required to gain a Black Belt, but few really understand the essence of Zen, in their training. The author does not try to explain all the philosophical aspects of Zen or Buddism, instead draws from his own life experiences instances of Zen. Many of these stories are very personal and easy to relate too. The author has a very honest and non-assumption style to his writing; rather than focusing on achievements and personal aggrandizing, he emphasizes his struggles with marriage, tournament fighting, recovery from a bankrupt school, and a brother killed in Viet Nam. I personally found the book to be very inspiring and renewed a desire to be a leader and better example to my students and those around me. The author effectively communicated topics of Zen in a easy to understand concepts and stories. A rare addition to your Marital Art Library.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2000
I read this book from front to back within a matter of days and it was the most uplifting book I've ever read. After lending it to a friend who lost it, I had to re-order it but it was well worth paying for it again. Even my husband couldn't put the book down! Chuck Norris is the most inspirational person I know of in real life as well as on TV. His show deals with his own morals and philosophies that he practices in real life. If I hadn't read this book, I'd never have known he lost a brother in Vietnam. I was fortunate to see the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall when it came to my home town last November. I found Weiland's name on the Wall. Just knowing it was Chuck's brother and having read the heartbreak he went through (and still goes through from the loss of his brother), it was a very moving experience for me. This book should be mandatory in every school in America! Chuck Norris is the epitome of heroism and what all of mankind should be. He would make a great President!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 1999
I have been a fan of Chuck Norris for some time now. I ran across this book in my local library. I read it in just a few hours. I couldn't put it down!! I already had a lot of respect for Chuck, but after reading this book I came away with so much more. He shows us that we can all accomplish anything and that we "are the only things standing in (our) way". I hope my sons can grow up to become men as honored and respected as Chuck Norris. There is so much in this book that we can all take into our lives to improve them. I hope we will. This world could sure use more people like him.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 1996
Written by world champion martial arts master and longtime box office superstar Chuck Norris,"The Secret Power Within" is not what you'd expect from "Walker, Texas Ranger," laid-back law enforcement good guy famous for kicking the crap out of (pick one): Viet
Cong, mafia thugs, dope addicts, horse rustlers, drug smugglers, pimps, child beaters, etc. Of the incredible list of Chuck Norris titles in Amazon's huge inventory, it's unusual to find one on "Self Help/Inspiration" but this book is solid! The author has obviously disciplined his mind and elevated his thoughts and tells his personal story of applying Zen, core philosophy behind all martial arts.
It's an excellent book for developing self-confidence, to achieve spiritual tranquility and to learn more
about Zen's real-life, practical benefits.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2001
Chuck managed to do something here that many other authors find hard to do, write an easy to read book. You'll breeze through each chapter, never bored, never finding your mind wondering off somewhere else, always interested.
Perhaps it is the result of a purposeful mindful life that allows the author to communicate in such a crisp, economical style.
The writing is the first level, zen is the second level.
The 'lessons' about zen may seem thin, but that is a good thing. Many of us tend to over analyze things and therefore favor writings that 'seem' to impart lots of information in long text.
Zen is simple, but it's not easy.
I suppose there have been many readers of this (and other zen books) who never got it at all. I offer the following suggestion to prevent this from happening. Read the book through once, then return again to an individual chapter. Read that one chapter often over a period of time and try to act upon the message delivered.
'The Secret Power Within' is a nice start for all of us beginners.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1999
I have always been interested in Martial Arts and its practice and where it came from out how it has evolved. You get some keen insights for at least two of its practicing fellow martial artist. Unquestionably Bruce Lee was on top of his art and was developing his skills along with Carlos (Chuck) Norris and you get some nice pearls in this wonderful book about Zen, Norris, Lee. Read the book and find the pearls!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
First let me say that I, in general, have a rather low opinion of this particular genre of book. Secondly, I am not a big Chuck Norris (the actor) fan. (Note: On the other hand, I do admire very much Chuck Norris the man, and his many, many accomplishments and the way he has lead his life). Those two things being said, I was very surprised at the usefulness of this particular book. The writing is quite simple, easy to understand and Mr. Norris certainly has some wonderful advice to share. I do agree with another reviewer in that Mr. Norris has obviously been influenced by another writer of some twenty years ago. this is okay though. I know of absolutely no writer in history that has not been influenced in someway by those who proceeded him. Why should Mr. Norris be any different. This work, my Norris is a much easier read than some of the other works in this field and I feel could probably be more understood by the younger reader. Overall I recommend this one highly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I recently re-read this book after an initial reading in 1997 or 1998. When I first read it, I was interested in exploring Martial Arts and found it to be quite interesting.

A few days ago, I picked it up again and was pleasantly surprised at how well the book had stood the test of time. Part biography and part philosophical exposition, this work has good, practical advice for living and facing struggles in the ring, workplace and home. It is a nice introduction to Zen and also provides an interesting look at the author's personal struggles. The writing style is lucid and easy to follow.

It is brief, easy to read, but thought-provoking.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 1999
Among the famous martial artists, Chuck Norris is the real-deal. He is one of the nicest people you can meet (I got to meet him!), and he walks the talk. He believes in a lot of stuff which he lives by, and does his best to be a role model for others- especially young ones.
You won't regret getting this book. He's a great writer also.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2007
THE SECRET POWER WITHIN: ZEN SOLUTIONS TO REAL PROBLEMS by Chuck Norris is Pop Zen, but the book is no less meaningful for that. Norris may not be a Zen scholar; he may not be talking about shikantaza, koans, the Heart Sutra, The Three Pure Precepts, Dogen's fascicles, and all the formalities of active Zen practice (which are as important to maintaining one's focus in the zendo as are learning katas in the dojo), but he does speak with common sense about adopting an overall Zen outlook in one's daily life.

Norris might well be cashing in on Zen in this book, but to the reader it's worth the price, particularly if the reader is not that familiar with Zen. There are too many books that have "Zen" in the title---there are even "Zen Puppy" dog treats---but few of the books that make up the mainstream of the "Zen in the Art of..." and "The Zen of..." genre are as sincere as this book.

Norris, the world famous martial artist and action-adventure actor, really wants us to GET IT---no, not to be "enlightened" perhaps, but to make the spare, simple clarity of the "Zen viewpoint" an active part of our days and to reap whatever benefits this may bring. He makes no promises, but with the ease of experience uses many examples from his own life and from martial arts training and competition to illustrate the advantages of a "Zennish" approach to the challenges that face us.

Some of these stories appear in Joe Hyams' ZEN IN THE MARTIAL ARTS, unsurprisingly, because the two men are friends, they shared these experiences, and, additionally, because Hyams was Norris' sometime text editor.

As an ordained Zen practitioner, I was prepared not to like this book, but I'm glad to say I did. THE SECRET POWER WITHIN is an undramatic and straightforward presentation of streetcorner prajna (translated as Wisdom), which anybody can approach comfortably. It's not THE BLUE CLIFF RECORD, but it doesn't have to be. Even better, it doesn't pretend to be.
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