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The Pyjama Game: A Journey into Judo Paperback – June 25, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'Excellent... a classic in its genre' -- Robert Twigger The Sunday Times 'One of the year's most entertaining sports books, and the best one to be written about a martial art since Robert Twigger's Angry White Pyjamas. It's lively, it's witty and, above all, so persuasively enthusiastic that by the end you'll find yourself feeling an intense urge to try it for yourself' -- James Delingpole Mail on Sunday 'This is damn fine stuff, and will entertain and enlighten an audience far beyond the confines of the dojo' -- Andrew Baker The Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Mark Law is the editor of the online magazine the First Post.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press (June 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845133498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845133498
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,218,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Neil A. Ohlenkamp on October 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I loved The Pyjama Game: A Journey Into Judo by Mark Law. The book is well-written and an enjoyable read throughout, although the title is a misnomer (judo is not a game and the training uniform is certainly not for sleeping). I especially like that it is one of the few books that makes judo understandable to a non-judo audience. Many parts are humorous, others contain tough stories of training and combat, others contain insights into judo history. It is a wonderful introduction to judo for new students as it transmits some of the beauty and magic of judo while paradoxically explaining the rigors of training and heartbreak of competition. For more knowledgeable judoka, the book is a great reminder of the long road we have traveled and the common bond that ties us together regardless of where in the world we practice.

I recommend The Pyjama Game for anyone with an interest in judo.[...]
Quotes from the book:

"The dojo is a place where men can behave like children and children can behave like men."

"Commitment aside, for many people the sport is just too unpleasant. The white suits and the bowing are fine. But not only is there repeated and sudden contact with the mat, there is quite a bit of unpleasant contact with your partner. For instance, just to be on the receiving end of uchikomi, which involves no fighting at all, is uncomfortable; with certain people this drill can feel like skiing into a tree a hundred times. Randori is extremely tiring and sometimes painful. People come to the conclusion that being repeatedly smacked on the floor is not how they really want to spend their precious spare time.
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Mark Law’s book contains two types of book in one volume, unified by the theme of judo. On the one hand, it’s a microhistory of the martial art and sport of judō--and, no, it’s not redundant to say the martial art and the sport because while these aspects overlap they aren’t identical. On the other hand, the book presents a personal account of Law’s experience as a judōka who began his practice at the ripe age of 50. The two elements of the book are interwoven together, and aren’t forced into distinct sections by the book’s organization. The history is obviously organized in a chronological fashion, but personal accounts are peppered throughout, and sometimes stories appear in history chapters.

As a history of judō, Law begins with the pre-history of the art in its ancestor martial art of jujutsu, he travels through the arts influence on off-shoots like Sambo and Brazilian Jujutsu, and he examines how the art has contributed to mixed martial arts—the 800 pound gorilla of present-day combative competitions. Particular emphasis is given to Kanō Jigorō’s role as founder of the art and the evolution of judō as an Olympic sport. Interestingly, besides founding Kodokan Judō, Kanō’s other claim to fame was in being the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). However, he never saw judō become an Olympic event, and—ironically--at least a few among those close to him doubted that Kanō would’ve been pleased with his art’s inclusion in the international games.

While Japan dominated judō when the sport first entered the domain of international competition, it wasn’t long before there were a number of other countries including the Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Cuba, and Korea that were producing first-rate judōka.
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Interesting account of judo history, from an interesting perspective. However I agree with a previous commentator that it would have been much more interesting if he had included more of his personal experiences on the mat. - Day Moss, Rokudan, 48 yrs experience in USA judo
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