Martial Mechanics by Phillip Starr is a very nice introductory book for students interested in TMA. The author's premise is that quality TMA is slowly disappearing from the USA and he aims at educating the new student on simple techniques and self-education.
For example, lets say you want to start training or just started training in a TMA and your not sure if the school is legit. Starr informs you of what good solid basics look like. This will aid you in making the decision to stay with the school, that is, if the school's basics are solid, or try again.
Even intermediate students can gain interesting and useful insights, like the chapter on Reverse Breath. I have been taking Ed Parker Kenpo for 5 years and while I am certainly not a master (2nd Brown Belt) I have a good idea on what the basics look like and Starr's right in line with everything I have been taught. Nevertheless, I learned some new stuff which complents my training to include, Reverse Breathing, whipping back knuckle/chop stikes, and some interesting balance techniques. A true martial artist is always a student.
The author's writing style is clear and easy to understand, no "come to my school and I'll show you" stuff. In addition, it has a good dose of humor that makes it interesting to read. A little fluff is nice with lots crunch.
Overall, I rate this book a 7 for new students and a solid 5 for intermidates.
I liked his inclusion of how spinal structure fit in the overall picture.
Yes, the spine discussion falls in line with all the Tai Chi classics I have read as well as my Kenpo training. Although I enjoy and like my chosen martial art, its nice to have re-enforcement from outside sources.
I have also "planted" a striking post in my backyard based on the instructions given in Mr. Starr's book and it works great. The benifits being better striking skills, especially with my left hand and I can feel it as a workout in my forearms.