Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake up and live...., June 30, 2008
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This review is from: Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence (Paperback)
Mr. Miller is an obviously well-read man. It is also clear that he has spent much time considering the nuts-and-bolts of personal combat, and how to think and train to maximize his chances for survival.....

What sets this book apart from many "martial arts" texts is the author's utterly pragamatic view of training for personal defense, his emphasis on the mental aspects of physical violence, and most importantly, his complete dedication to discarding those philosophies, mind-sets and techniques (both mental and physical) he considers useless.

While some of "Meditations On Violence" is merely very interesting to read (criminal types and their mental make-up, and anecdotal tales of his experiences as a prison guard, for example), most of it is invaluable to the open minded student of personal combat.

The tendency to believe what we are told by those we grant authority over us is well-known, but rarely examined. Mr. Miller posits from his opening pages, that we as humans should take nothing for granted, especially the way we are taught to conduct the defense of ourselves and our families.

Miller touches on some very obvious (and for some reason consistently overlooked) points in this excellent work, and the golden thread running throughout is this:

Just because someone with a teaching credential said it doesn't make it so.

(Many so-called "martial artists" will cover their ears, wag their heads rapidly, and say "LAH-LAH-LAH-LAH!!" at this point, and this is definitely not the book for them).

To closely examine what you have been taught as a martial artist is to question authority, and while it is possibly the most difficult thing a person can do, it is also the most valuable.

Chapters 2 ("How to Think"), and 6 ("Making Defense Work"), are possibly the best 50 or so pages on true self-defense I've ever read, and these chapters alone make this book worth owning.

If you believe that black belt you got in two years is all you need to be a "good fighter", that sparring in a gym teaches you to fight, or if you are impressed by a wall of tournament trophies, you shouldn't waste your money on this book....

On the other hand, I highly recommend this book if: You are willing to learn new ways to think about your personal practice and the fighting arts in general, and most importantly, are willing to shine a bright light on your training methods (and way of thinking) with the goal of learning something new.
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