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Reflections - Volume 1: Balancing Body, Mind & Spirit Paperback – September 10, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Sifu Freddie Lee started his spiritual journey practicing marital arts at the age of seventeen in 1998. In the year of 2002, Sifu Lee was guided towards the philosophies of Bruce Lee, who introduced him to Eastern philosophy. During his study, Sifu Lee achieved spiritual enlightenment through the study and understanding of the ancient text “Tao Te Ching” written by Lao Tzu. Sifu Lee founded the Tao Of Freddie’s Modern Kung Fu in 2009, a Zen Martial Arts academy that specializes in the advancement of the Body, Mind and Spirit. Some of the wise sages who have heavily inspired Sifu Lee’s spiritual teachings include Buddha, Osho, J. Krishnamurti, Bruce Lee, Eckhart Tolle, Erich Fromm and Abraham Maslow.
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I've been struggling with this review for quite a while now, I've had the book for several weeks. It isn't hard to read all the way through, the English isn't fantastic but it isn't painfully bad, and the font is like 3,000 point, so it is deceptively short and you can get through the whole thing in one dump.
This book pretends to be something it is not. Someone wanted readers to think that the idea for this book was not the author's, but the editor's, as though someone was a huge fan and follower of Freddie Lee and they wanted to write a book ABOUT him, but the content is so sweepingly general it's not hard to see it was produced whole rather than pieced together from longer texts.Iit's clear we are meant to think that someone compiled this over years of research on Freddie Lee, but looking closer and more carefully yields the truth pretty quickly. It says "written by Sifu Freddie Lee" and then "compiled and edited by Ben Nicholls". To help complete this illusion, Ben Nicholls wrote the dedication (they call it "acknowledgements"), there are none by Freddie Lee himself, but Ben Nicholls, going by a different name (Xiaolang), also wrote the prologue. In the prologue it says "This book has been compiled from writings by Sifu Freddie Lee[...]", however this book IS the only "writings" of Sifu Freddie Lee. In addition, I cannot find any evidence online that Ben Nicholls and Freddie Lee are not the same person. The only other thing Ben Nicholls wrote is an instructional pamphlet about growing your YouTube channel for maximum profit. I don't know what Ben Nicholls's YouTube channel is, but Freddie's is not hard to find.
It's not hard to discover evidence, online, that Freddie Lee is an assumed name, his Chinese name is Koti Hu. He chose the name Lee because of the depth of his idolization of Bruce Lee. I'm not sure if Freddie Lee is a legal name he had his birth name changed to, as in legally filed and paid for a name change, although it looks that way because Freddie Lee is the name listed on the business license for his...he calls it a "Spiritual Martial Arts Academy". A lot of immigrants and expats from places like China do change their name to a more anglicized one, I've studied Mandarin and some of the pronunciations are like chewing rocks, even for me, and accents are somewhat of a specialty for me, but Freddie is an American citizen, he was born here, so I think, although I'm not certain, that the change to the name Lee was just for vanity.
The back of the cover says that Bruce Lee introduced Freddie to eastern philosophy, and we're meant to think that Freddie met and studied under Bruce Lee. But the back of the book also says that Freddie began studying the "marital" arts when he was seventeen. I'm not sure what Freddie losing his virginity has to do with anything.
The choice of Ben Nicholls wasn't the best, the book really needs a lot more editing than it got. If Ben Nicholls did any editing, then it is pretty obvious English is not his first language, the whole book reads as though it was written in another language and then translated, but it wasn't, it was actually written in English. That "not quite grammatically correct" rhythm makes the book feel poetic, which brings in a surreal quality as you're reading, it juxtaposes the sacred and profane, sacred being the rhythm, profane DEFINITELY being the content. Imagine if you walked into a McDonald's and found that the menu was written in iambic pentameter.
I cannot illuminate the content for you, Freddie does not ever commit to a viewpoint. Every single clear expression of an opinion is accompanied by an equal and opposite declaration, but with careful reading and a little research, I believe I know the two reasons why.
The first motivation for this dichotomy is the person to which the declaration pertains. For example, Freddie both espouses and condemns forcing a child to [insert activity here]. In the areas of the book where he condemns such an action, it is clear that he is referring to his own parent's treatment of himself, his own parents pressuring him to choose a prestigious career path that he obviously doesn't want. In the passages where he defends it, he is referring to forcing his own children to study Kung fu, and how that would be best for them. He is very careful, however, when DESCRIBING forcing his children to study King fu because it is what is best for them, that overtly, explicitly, he make a statement denying that that is what he is describing. His teaching his children is an attempt not to "leave them behind" like the Buddha. They "need his help and support." He circles back over both views repeatedly throughout the book, defending forcing his children to practice traditional martial arts forms every day by saying that authority is ever-present in everyone's lives, by saying he provides the roof over their heads, food, pays for utilities, etc. He is INCREDIBLY careful not to commit to any one viewpoint without explicitly declaring its exact opposite, the first reason for that is that his viewpoint changes when it's object is himself as opposed to when it's object is other people. Here's the second reason why.
Freddie mentions that "the reason people wish to debate with me is because they see truth in what I am saying. It hurts them within and so they find a need to defend themselves." So we're meant to believe that people disagree with Freddie because A) they actually agree with Freddie, and B) being presented with a viewpoint analogous with their own, they become hurt and confused, and motivated to defend themselves. I don't think Freddie understands why his expressions of his viewpoints brings about so much dissent among his detractors, I genuinely believe, after reading this book, that he truly doesn't understand why people disagree with him, and here's why; Freddie is incredibly careful to explicitly state both a declaration AND ITS EXACT OPPOSITE, and this comes from, discovered in abundance elsewhere on the internet, his many vocal dissenters on the internet. Freddie is constantly preparing the defense against argument of every position he defends. He genuinely doesn't understand why so many people disagree with him because he is deliberately SO CAREFUL not to commit to a single viewpoint. At one point he actually says "What is good? What is bad? It cannot be clearly defined." I've literally never read anything more defensive in my life than this book, and it is clearly a sort of knee-jerk, defensive reflex meant to protect him against his myriad detractors among the martial arts enthusiast corners of the internet. They've been pretty harsh with/pertaining to Freddie.
For those people contemplating buying this book I urge you to do two things before you part with your money:
1. Head to his website to watch some of his videos where he expresses his view points towards other martial arts
2. Read some of the comments here that are NOT rated 5 star, because they are obviously written by the author and not true feedback. Think to yourself: "why are there SOOO many people rating him as 1 star?"
As a martial artist enthusiast myself, my opinion is that he is not a martial artist and definitely not a sifu. From a combative perspective I can tell you NONE of his techniques will work, and I doubt he will be able to protect himself in a physical altercation let alone teach others. If you don't believe me go watch some of his training videos or sparring videos on youtube and ask yourself honestly: "would this really work if I were attacked by a larger, stronger individual intent on hurting me?"
Again, I will be ok with all this if his teachings were good. After all, martial arts is not only about combat, its also about teaching life skills, confidence, respect etc. So far, everything I've read or seen from this sifu has ranged from horribly biased, prejudiced, sexist, racist and illogical. Watch his videos or even read sections of this book and you'll see that he disrespects every other martial arts or any view point that isn't his own. His level of arrogance and ignorance is one I've never seen before.
Sorry, but there is nothing positive I can say about this man or this book. It should be voted zero stars, taken off this site as it is not worth anyone's time.
1. He spreads hate towards other martial arts.
2. Claims that Bruce Lee's own daughter is doing him injustice for perpetuating him as a prolific figure in founding the roots of MMA.
3. DO NOT WATCH his YouTube videos, you're only making him richer by giving him a view. All he does - just as I mentioned in #1, promote hatred against other martial arts. He only does it for the views, for the money.