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Stunt Lightsaber Combat For Beginners: The Unofficial Guide to Dueling Like a Jedi
Stunt Lightsaber Combat For Beginners: The Unofficial Guide to Dueling Like a Jedi
by Carey Martell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.99
24 used & new from $11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martially sound Stunt Combat, April 25, 2016
Stunt Lightsaber Combat for Beginners is a great introductory text to sword work with an emphasis on using "LED Sabers" -- the stunt sabers sold by places such as UltraSabers or SaberForge. I was happily surprised to find the techniques in this book martially sound, and not at all flashy which was my perception of choreographed stunt combat. Carey Martell based the work on a 14th Century manuscript, and I really appreciated this grounding in historical combat techniques.

The instruction is clear, and easy to follow, with helpful illustrations. Following this book, you will develop a repertoire of footwork, cuts, guards, parries, and thrusts. There are exercises which allow you the beginnings of choreography, but the techniques are also useful for sparring.

The author is clear that what is taught in the book is not to teach "real sword fighting" saying,

Note that sparring with a stunt lightsaber is not a real sword-fight, but it is no less real than sparring in sport fencing, kendo, or any other kind of martial art sparring. Your goal should not be to reproduce a "real" lightsaber duel, because there is no such thing. Rather you should aim to gain a mastery of stunt lightsaber combat that is fun and worthwhile exercise.

The book is concise at about 70 pages, but is in no way lacking. It would serve well for a beginner at sword work and give a solid foundation for growth.

If you are interested in learning sword combat, I recommend this book.

Midlife Mouse
Midlife Mouse
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Find Fabulous Fiction with Facts and Fantasy., December 4, 2014
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This review is from: Midlife Mouse (Kindle Edition)
Walt Disney had a trait that is shared by this book, he never allowed the truth get in the way of a good story. Wayne Franklin effortlessly weaves fact with fantasy in such a way that it all holds together and becomes more entertaining than a book filled with mere history of the Walt Disney company and its parks.

The characters are engaging and interesting, especially the main character Bill Durmer who narrates the story and among his anxieties being that his life is being orchestrated by a hack writer. A wonderful device that Franklin uses to great comic effect throughout the book, saving the best for a very satisfying punchline.

There is hint for a sequel, which I anxiously await.

The Jedi Religion (The Jedi Academy Online Presents: Book 3)
The Jedi Religion (The Jedi Academy Online Presents: Book 3)
Price: $2.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeker, inquire within., September 20, 2014
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This book by Kevin Trout both explains what the Jedi "religion" is and what it is not, including the question of whether the Jedi Path is one or not (at the risk of being able to write a spoiler for a piece of nonfiction, his answer is, that his answer does not matter).

I often say that validation of the way one does things or thinks, sure does feel good, but one's own evaluation of self-worth should in no way be dependent on external validation. Ironically, I found validation of this view, and many other of the things I have written about here at Jedi Path, and have practiced in my life within the pages of this book.

The author believes as I do, that the Jedi Path should be centered around benefit and utility, though he phrases it as,

"...if the Jedi are viewed and recognized as an official religion it will validate their path in life. That is a sad outlook in my opinion. No Jedi, heck no person should require the approval of others. Whether the world accepts the Jedi as a religion or not should never stop you or anyone from believing in what you want to believe in. It should never stop you from living a lifestyle you find productive and useful in your own life. Validation of the Jedi Path is proven within itself. It is found within the experience, tested and proven with time."

Trout, Kevin (2013-08-19). The Jedi Religion (The Jedi Academy Online Presents:) (Kindle Locations 510-514). . Kindle Edition.

I can give no higher recommendation for this book.

L. Christopher Bird -- Head Windmill Tilter,

the Disney Diaries Volume 1
the Disney Diaries Volume 1
Price: $2.99

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good premise cannot overcome lack of quality, March 1, 2014
First some context for my review. I am a huge fan of Disney Media and Parks, but willing to see faults when they are there. I love the theme park experience both actually doing it, and visiting vicariously through other's accounts of trips to the parks, which is what the description of this book promised. I will admit that this review is based on a partial reading of the text, but if I am not enjoying something, I am in no way obligated to continue through to the end to give it a fair chance, and while there are some gems hidden in there, all the digging one has to do to find them, gives too little reward for too much effort.

The first report, by Larry, seemed to focus on the negative. I actually came away with the impression that he does not enjoy Disney World at all, but visits there time after time to satisfy some sort of compulsion, or he thinks that finding and relaying fault is an enjoyable pursuit. It is obvious he has a clear idea of the "right" way to do a Disney trip, and refers to those who do things differently as "losers".

The second trip report was also by Larry, but not wanting to work through another one, I skipped ahead to Robin's first trip report. This was much more enjoyable, as she seemed to convey joy and happiness, as well as relating the experiences of her young nephew, and a few friendly interactions with other guests (the very young girl dressed as Cinderella she interacted with stands out to me). And while the tone was an improvement over Larry, it did share some of the lack of quality that detracts from this book overall.

It is clear that this book could have benefited by some competent (or any) proofreading and copy-editing. It seems to be self-edited by the authors, and a parsing through an automated spell check was done and it was called good. This leads to many problems which should be unexcusable in a professional work, such as substituting the word "Fist" instead of "First". Even allowing for differences in British and American spellings, this was most evident in Larry's trip report, but was still present in Robin's.

I am also under the impression, that these reports are very "stream of consciousness" probably intended to be posted on an online forum. They have a very unrefined "first draft" quality to them. Reading these on a free forum where they are members of a community I belong to, this could be forgiven -- or even expected. But as a commercial product? They should have gone through some editorial process, and refined and polished these reports.

One of the things I would have left out in the transition from forum to print (or whatever the equivalent of an e-book is) is to remove the use of acronyms. I can understand the use of them in a fan-forum when you are typing off the cuff, and the acronyms are commonly known and used in replies, but again in a published book, it just looks unprofessional. One thing that was very annoying about this practice, is that an attraction would be mentioned, then an acronym given in parentheses after it, only for the acronym to not appear anywhere else in the narrative.

In summary, this had the potential to be good with a little more effort and professionalism, unfortunately, the authors failed to bring this to bear.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 1, 2014 11:49 AM PDT

Frozen 2 Disc Deluxe Edition Soundtrack
Frozen 2 Disc Deluxe Edition Soundtrack
Price: $12.87
76 used & new from $3.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Relive the magic that was, and peek at the magic that could have been, January 7, 2014
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When I saw the first trailers for Disney's Frozen, I was quite nonplussed, I guess you could say it left me ... cold. My feelings began to thaw while watching this movie by the charming and engaging songs and lyrics by Husband and Wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The sense of humor I knew from the music of Avenue Q is definitely there, but in a very family friendly way, as would be expected by Disney, but in no way diminished. While all the lyrics are fantastic I would have to say that my favorite would be "sandwiches". Those that have heard the track "Love is an Open Door" will know what I am talking about, but if you have not yet heard the song, I will not ruin WHY this is just the perfect lyric.

The Deluxe version is worth its nominally more expensive price for the demos and outtakes of songs not used in the production of the film, with some "behind the scenes" commentary by the composers Also included on the second disc, is an instrumental only "karaoke" version of Let it Go, without which we probably would never had seen the "Baby version" cover on youtube sung by a toddler.

Sword Fighting in the Star Wars Universe: Historical Origins, Style and Philosophy
Sword Fighting in the Star Wars Universe: Historical Origins, Style and Philosophy
Price: $7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Think like a Jedi, October 17, 2012
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Sword Fighting in the Star Wars Universe, written by fencer, kendoka, and aikidoka, Nick Jamilla offers a critique of the martial aspects of the Jedi Knight as portrayed in the six Star Wars films in the context of the fictional world created by George Lucas, and contrasted with real-world corollaries of historical swordsmen. Not only does Jamilla focus on the techniques of the sword, but also on the philosophy of the use of a sword or lightsaber.

There is a lot to this book. Jamilla goes into the history of warfare of antiquity and ventures far from the topic of Star Wars. He also goes into critiques of the Star Wars films that venture away from the topic of sword fighting. But this just goes to show the deep interest the author has in both fields; the passages where he is on topic of both Star Wars and Sword Fighting make the book worth every penny of the purchase price. I did notice several errors of facts as they relate to the Star Wars films such as misattributing lines to the wrong character or placing characters or scenes in the wrong Episode, but these are forgivable as it is likely to only be noticed by fans as pedantic as I am, and know the intent of the passage and does not detract from the lessons actually being taught.

I can't help but feel a bit of kinship with the author with our similar backgrounds as martial artists. Many of his observations about the practice of martial arts coincide with my own that I have obtained both in my training and my career as an instructor. One that stands out that I have been trying to articulate recently is in Jamilla's words, "The martial artist eventually learns that the best technique is one that is instinctive and in harmony with the mind and body rather than cognitive and therefore slower." This book will not make you a swordsman, it is not instructional in nature, but it will help you get in the mindset of the mythical Jedi Knight.

Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful than You Can Possibly Imagine (Popular Culture and Philosophy Book 12)
Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful than You Can Possibly Imagine (Popular Culture and Philosophy Book 12)
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Guide to Living Like a Jedi, October 13, 2012
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Star Wars and Philosophy is a book in the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series, which has many entries such as The Matrix, The Simpsons, and many others, but for the interest of this site, we will look at their treatment of Star Wars and if it has direct applications towards the Jedi Path.

This book has 17 essays by different authors divided into four parts. It explores the philosophical questions that come from the Star Wars films and the comparisons to classical philosophical thought. It delves into the philosophies that inform the archetype of a Jedi Knight and the other characters seen in the Star Wars films.

Though such observations such as: "It's thus unlikely that Yoda's admonitions about fear and anger should be interpreted as meaning that a Jedi never feels those emotions. Rather, he probably means that a Jedi never acts from fear and anger. A Jedi acts when reason is in control, when he's "calm, at peace, passive."" seem to speak to the motivations of fictional characters, they have direct relevance to those that would like to model their real life behavior on the archetype of the Jedi Knight.

I HIGHLY recommend this book.

The Way of the Jedi - A Treatise on the Mystical Philosophy of the Jedi
The Way of the Jedi - A Treatise on the Mystical Philosophy of the Jedi
Price: $0.99

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Even for 99 Cents I expected more than "search and replace", April 7, 2012
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I was searching for books on Jediism just to see the market for such things, and I thought for 99 cents a gamble on a vague description was worth the risk. What you get is a short framing narrative claiming that this is ancient Jedi Wisdom translated by a xenolinguist of a long dead language, a copy of the Jedi code, and then the bulk of book is excerpts from the Tao Te Ching with phrases such as "The Tao" substituted with "The Force". And "The Sage" substituted with "The Jedi".

Translations of the Tao Te Ching are in the public domain and you could easily recreate this book from that source making the substitutions I mentioned in about 30 seconds worth of work.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2013 9:49 AM PST

Media Whores
Media Whores
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Microfiction for a microattentive world, November 23, 2010
This review is from: Media Whores (Kindle Edition)
Some were proclaiming cyberpunk's demise before it ever got started. Well you can't put a nail in this coffin just yet, the damn thing just won't stop moving, it won't stop evolving

Media Whores is a 21st century interpretation of a 20th Century genre that explored a future we are living right now. Where Max Headroom promised us blipverts -- commercials condensed to 3 seconds the real 21st century gave us microblogging, a capsule of thought in 140 characters or less. Made In DNA gives us a story for a culture with a decreasing attention span, a piece of microficton originally posted on twitter, one tweet at a time.

The story opens in New Tokioh, a subterranean city seemingly powered and sustained by a steady diet of video depicting sex and violence. No, not two separate genres, but sex so brutal, you don't roll over and fall asleep when its done, you check yourself into an emergency room. It follows the life of a erstwhile cameraman our nameless narrator, as he grabs the attention -- and employment of one of the stars of New Tokioh, the ball-busting Amazon Kurara (no last name). This leads to our nameless narrator documenting (and participating in) the sexploits of Kurara, which about halfway in "gets complicated".

Overall, Media Whores is an entertaining, surprising experience, full of creative portmanteaus and a stream-of-consciousness feel that will draw you into this world for the short time it takes to read.

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