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  1. #1

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    Review of Street Sword by Phil Elmore

    Mods- please move this if there is a more appropriate area.


    I should preface this with the following statement, in case Phil accuses me of being biased or putting words/thoughts into his mouth/head.
    This is my interpretation of the following work. It in no way portrays the author's, Phil Elmore, intentions, thought process or beliefs. Everything that follows are my thoughts and mine alone.
    Oh yeah, Phil, don't copy this to your site as I don't trust that you would leave it in it's original form since you seem to rewrite history when it is convenient.

    Street Sword by Phil Elmore.

    I just received my copy in the mail today. It’s a thin book of 83 pages. A very quick read. The cover photo and all photos contained within are of very good quality. The photographer, who Phil credits in the book, did a great job.

    The book is broken into four chapters with an appendix. Chapter 1 is an introduction. Chapter 2 is about the mechanics of the sword. Chapter 3 is about fighting theory. Chapter 4 is about the Swordsman’s path. The appendix gives seven lessons from Musashi.

    Chapter 1: Introduction
    Phil starts with a humorous look at the stereotypical JSA practitioner and the inherent “elitism” of the group. He points out that he will not be getting bogged down in terminology or nit-picking the finer points that would be required in a highly unlikely sword duel. He describes three basic sword types and what a sword does. He is very succinct in his descriptions, and maintains a lightly humorous tone throughout not only this chapter but the entire book. He also answers the question, “why a sword”. He points out that not everyone can own or wants to own a firearm. He points out basic requirements for a usable sword. He even finds time to poke fun at the Highlander wannabes.

    Chapter 2: Mechanics of the Sword
    At the very beginning, Phil points out that he is not worried about exact terminology used as this makes no difference when you are confronted with real life. He provides a section on selecting a sword with a few companies listed which provide “user” swords.
    He briefly goes over the grips used on a sword, both the two-handed “baseball” grip and the single handed reverse grip. One fault I find with the brief discussion of grip that isn’t explained here or anywhere else is the inherent difficulty in single handed cuts with a long blade. There is no information about edge control and its effect on cutting. That being said, his grip requirement is pretty simple, hold in a way that it won’t come out of your hands.
    Now we get into basic sword techniques. This is where Phil’s apparent lack of qualified training can be most noticed. Most of his “stances” seem awkward and binding. His cuts are overcommitted, reminiscent of an action film. Most of the cuts are wide and telegraphed, allowing for the possibility of avoidance and then entrance due to the ending positions of the cut and sword placement.
    He covers draw cutting, which in some instances are appropriate, but never touches push-cuts. He follows up with a story about cutting a box in a class.
    Phil covers overhand/underhand arcs, thrusts, 5 angles of attack and attacking from the low line. He does a good job describing the path of the sword in the various angles of attack and also covers footwork and its integration into the sword use. He follows with photos of the various angles of attacks which once again show awkward, front hand attacks that are over-committed and use very little “body” behind the cuts. Think of a hitter at home plate with his bat swung up and over his LEAD shoulder, hips and shoulders square to the pitcher.

    Chapter 3: Fighting Theory
    Phil briefly discusses a number of items in this chapter, the first of which is blocking, or the “angle parity theory”. He basically says that if someone is using an angle 1 attack on you, you use and angle 1 attack to defend/block the attack, preferably striking either the person or his attacking limb.
    He points out the absurdity in thinking you will be able to draw and cut down your opponent like some modern day samurai.
    Phil covers a little more footwork, to include some simple steps and loading/unloading of the joints and the pulley principal. Think of coiling and uncoiling to generate power and movement. (At least that is my take on it)
    Phil has a section on drawing and attacks and vulnerabilities in stances. A few of the stances I seem to recall from the previously derided Highlander series.
    The most ridiculous, in my opinion, section of this book was the use of the gun and sword together. His explanation for this is the practicality of a ballistic weapon and edged weapon for multiple attacker scenarios. While he rightly points out that a sword will not run out of ammo and can provide a shield of steel to “hide” behind. However, the photos display a firearm being swung around as a sword is being used with the statement that when one is forward the other should be back. It has more of the look and feel of a “street samurai” living out a fantasy. His muzzle is sweeping any number of people standing behind him, quite possibly loved ones being protected.

    Chapter 4: The Swordsman’s Path
    Phil focuses on the legal ramifications of using a sword in this section, transporting and carrying, safety and first aid. In his own forum and on others, I’ve read that the sword is most useful for home defense; however, Phil devotes one very short paragraph to this subject. It mainly consists of his recommendation to use a reverse grip, a shorter sword and watch out for low ceilings and furniture.
    Based on the one little section discussing home use, I would have to assume that Phil’s idea behind this book is the use of a sword for everyday defense out in the big bad world. If this was truly a book devoted to realistic use of a large blade in today’s world, there should have been more space devoted to use in tight confines, or where innocents may be nearby.

    Appendix A: Seven Lessons from Miyomoto Musashi
    Phil covers some main points that he and some others have gleaned from the Sword Saint’s book. On of which is Be a Skeptic. He quotes Musashi in the text, “The field of martial arts is rife with flamboyant showmanship, with commercial popularization and profiteering on the part of both those who teach the science and those who study it”. Phil follows this up with comments about “fear no man schemes” and “desperate but ridiculous attempts to be different” which seem to describe Phil himself.

    In all fairness, Phil has produced an enjoyably easy to read book on the very basics of sword use. He isn’t claiming to be a master of the sword; however, his lack of knowledge is evident and could lead to issues for anyone that actually tries to learn from this book. I’ve spent more money on worse books, so I’m not too upset about my $15. With that being said though, don’t waste YOUR money on this book. It doesn’t teach you anything an idiot with a sharp piece of metal couldn’t figure out on his own in an afternoon.

    Josh Reis

  2. #2

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    You actually bought this book?

  3. #3

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    at this point I think we can all agree that phil is just a really dumb chimp that was dressed up to look like a human as a joke on the martial arts world.


    EDIT: if you are looking for good sword fechtbooks, I can reccomend more than a few.

  4. #4
    Teh El Macho's Avatar
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    Who on Baal's name would buy a book from Phil's, in particular one so craptacularly named "Street Sword"? I mean... "Street Sword", what the ****? Someone watched Blade one time too fucking many.

    Fantasy-fu FTW!!!!
    Read this for flexibility and injury prevention, this, this and this for supplementation, this on grip conditioning, and this on staph. New: On strenght standards, relationships and structural balance. Shoulder problems? Read this.

    My crapuous vlog and my blog of training, stuff and crap. NEW: Me, Mrs. Macho and our newborn baby.

    New To Weight Training? Get the StrongLifts 5x5 program and Rippetoe's "Starting Strength, 2nd Ed". Wanna build muscle/gain weight? Check this article. My review on Tactical Nutrition here.

    t-nation - Dissecting the deadlift. Anatomy and Muscle Balancing Videos.

    The street argument is retarded. BJJ is so much overkill for the street that its ridiculous. Unless you're the idiot that picks a fight with the high school wrestling team, barring knife or gun play, the opponent shouldn't make it past double leg + ground and pound - Osiris

  5. #5

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    Yes I did buy it. Sometimes you have to spend money for entertainment.

    Bluto, don't worry. I would never mistake this for a GOOD sword book.

  6. #6

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    El Macho, you should see some of the pictures in it. Katana in one hand, pistol in the other wearing his trench coat, shemagh and scowling in the snow. makes me want to giggle.

  7. #7

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    Who the hell is going to go walking down the street with a sword:violent1:

  8. #8
    Neildo's Avatar
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    i've done it.

  9. #9
    Teh El Macho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muqatil
    El Macho, you should see some of the pictures in it. Katana in one hand, pistol in the other wearing his trench coat, shemagh and scowling in the snow. makes me want to giggle.
    Good Lord, I stand corrected. Phil had watched Blade AND Firefly one time too many.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bell2Bell
    Who the hell is going to go walking down the street with a sword
    According to Phil, lava-walking homeless people and post-nuclear zombies.
    Read this for flexibility and injury prevention, this, this and this for supplementation, this on grip conditioning, and this on staph. New: On strenght standards, relationships and structural balance. Shoulder problems? Read this.

    My crapuous vlog and my blog of training, stuff and crap. NEW: Me, Mrs. Macho and our newborn baby.

    New To Weight Training? Get the StrongLifts 5x5 program and Rippetoe's "Starting Strength, 2nd Ed". Wanna build muscle/gain weight? Check this article. My review on Tactical Nutrition here.

    t-nation - Dissecting the deadlift. Anatomy and Muscle Balancing Videos.

    The street argument is retarded. BJJ is so much overkill for the street that its ridiculous. Unless you're the idiot that picks a fight with the high school wrestling team, barring knife or gun play, the opponent shouldn't make it past double leg + ground and pound - Osiris

  10. #10
    M1K3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by From Bell2Bell
    Who the hell is going to go walking down the street with a sword:violent1:
    Connor McCloud of the clan McCloud. Thats why you wear the trench coat, to hide your street sword. Phil's sword's name is 'slayer of the homeless'.

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