Training and Fighting Skills by Benny "the Jet" Urquidez
First review here.
This is the first martial arts book I ever bought, having been impressed with the Jet's record when I was a teenager.
Ah, let's skip the loop-de-loops and just get to the landing, eh?
The first chapters are brief interviews with Urquidez that gather some wisdom from him on speed, power, timing, target areas, strategy, and nutrition. More interviews are found throughout the book at the beginning of each chapter. The interviews give good insight from the champ that can be found useful. However, a lot of the info is outdated, unrealistic, or just not written well. In those regards, they might be the weakest aspect of the book. Still, one should not overlook a lot of the insights Benny gives here, because they are tidbits that one could live by.
The next chapter, Conditioning, gives a fitness regimen that a person who uses a book for training would find appealing: there's little equipment required, as all of the exercises are calisthenic, and at most would require a chair and/or partner. The quality of this regimen is pretty good for these conditions, as strength, agility, flexibility, endurance, and coordination are all covered in depth, and the level of most of the activity involved is useful to beginners and can remain so through moderately advanced levels. To go through and do ALL of the first chapter in one sitting is a great workout you could literally do anywhere (except a hospital bed. Or in a car. Or in a tree. You get the idea. You could do it on a bus, though. Or an airplane, your bedroom, or a cave full of cannibalistic ninjers.)
Impact is the subject of the next chapter, giving drills that a kickboxer uses to prepare for both slapping and pwning impact one should expect to encounter in a round of fisticuffs. This is an aspect of training that I haven't seen covered in a whole lot of books, and Benny's insights here are pretty useful, I think.
Balance comes next, and given are a number of exercises that involve, balancing on one leg, hopping, kicking, and spinning. Pretty straightforward and useful for the beginning striker.
The next chapter gives techniques for evading and blocking. This includes a few moves that look like tai-sabaki, bobbing, weaving, jamming, absorbing, checking, and specific blocks for several strikes. I like how in-depth this chapter is, giving many options for moving to the outside, inside, parrying, countering, etc. I believe this to be one of the most useful chapters in the book.
Hand techniques are the next chapter, focusing mainly on boxing techniques and combinations. The chapter itself is again, very straightforward and in-depth, but here is where you start to notice weaknesses in the training. There is one elbow strike given. (A whipping over-the-top, which is labeled as "legal in the Orient". Bear in mind this was first published in 1981.) There is, however, a lot of the other hand-and-arm strikes that are found in Karate, such as backfists, hammerfists, palms, and forearm strikes. The combination section in this chapter is good for beginners (like me), giving many 1-2-3's. One won't win a Golden Gloves with this chapter, but it shows a solid foundation that can be built upon.
The next chapter covers foot techniques, and I have mixed feelings on it as well. The weaknesses, as I perceive them, are that there is only one knee attack (a leaping knee to the head, again labeled, "Legal in the Orient"), there are perhaps too many advanced variations on things like front kicks (kick with the ball, kick with the heel, etc.) which aren't really in keeping with the beginner's tone found throughout the rest of the book, and there's a lot of focus put into spinning and jumping kicks, which might be a dead end for anyone who's NOT Benny Urquidez. Finally, while the Thai-style roundhouse is given, it's not given in the most straightforward manner, with variations sometimes given pages apart. The kicking shown here is the most in-depth arsenal in the book, and this could be an asset to lead-footed folks (like me). So while the education given in this chapter can be highly useful, the obvious focus is for folks who are training for a kickboxing event, which might be the only venue for some of these techniques. Again, though, there is a good section in this chapter for combination kicking that'll help build these skills.
The next chapter is called Techniques in Motion. The first part here is dedicated to combos that involve punching AND kicking. This section is pretty good, but personally, I think it could've been helped by showing how Benny moves from punching to kicking range in many of the combinations. Example: Switch jab to left front kick to to right uppercut to left hook to right cross. Practicing this makes it obvious that this chapter is intended for more advanced readers, but the holes in the movement are unusual, considering the high level of detail given throughout the rest of the book. Benny closes the chapter by showing a few more new techniques including some headbutts and Judo throws.
The final chapter is Coordination, and you might not want to make eye contact here. It starts you off with some exercises that remind me of the Last Dragon, when Leroy discovers that he does have the power and starts fluttering his glowing hands around like a purty butterfly to demonstrate how tough he is. I guess I don't see how this'll be a better exercise for coordination of the hands than the smacking around that I just looked at for a few chapters. The partner drills that follow are a mix of the slapping games I played in junior high, some useful drills like distancing, and a little activity where you join hands facing your partner (like you would in a wedding, or partnership ceremony, perhaps) and do tandem jumping jacks. I am not kidding. You look longingly into your uke's eyes and hop, hand-in-hand with him. I imagine it eases the tension to have a jumprope song to go with it. A few more solo drills are involved, including one that looks like clinching a fella and kneeing him in the belly. This chapter left me confused, and strangely aroused.
Anyway, in short here it is:
The Good: Insight from Urquidez, lots-o-pictures, mostly easy-to-follow instruction, user friendly for the lonely noob most likely to use it (like me), good fitness and training exercises, and pretty good technique
The Bad: Very little clinch instruction, not enough knees and elbows, not written as well as it could be, outdated on much of the information
The Ugly: Partner jumping jacks:gaygay:
Would you care to add ratings because we all like ratings?
Crap. Thought I had.
Originally Posted by PizDoff
I gave it a 7 on the presentation quality, because it uses tons of pictures, but never uses any for what-not-to-do or from different angles. So if you don't get it the first time, or are looking for more technical info, you're stuck.
Gave it a 7 on the technique quality, because the instruction is geared specifically for freestyle karate, with a few "legal in the orient" moves. Some of the kicks are a little overly-technical/impractical for most practitioners. No knees, elbows, clinchwork, and not a whole lot of combinations. The strongest aspect of the book is for solo training, but some of the info is outdated.
An 8 for instruction because it is pretty straightforward, uses tons-o-pics. Mostly easy to follow, but lacks some detail.
A 6 for difficulty level, because it is geared mostly for beginners. The training won't get you into MMA-champ-fitness, and the technical instruction would be found incomplete.
Overall, a good tool for beginners and a handy reference for advanced players. Not gonna rock any boats tho.
Very good review! I really consider this more of a time capsule and explanation of continuous Full Contact Karate (more or less extinct now) than something that is a how-to manual for any of the modern kickboxing rulesets. At this point kickboxing wasn't just boxing with kicks but rather Karate men trying to make a realistic continuous fighting art. The "judo throws", backfists, forearms, knees, elbows and "lacking" clinch amongst other things was pretty much what made it IMO karate and not kickboxing, and certainly not inferior. Around the time the book came out karate was turning into what we now know of as kickboxing. Even his video series from the mid-80's is very different from this.
Is some of the physical training outdated? Yes. (But also some of the more "unusual" exercises really should be seen more IMO) Are the techniques outdated? I really wouldnt consider them to be outdated, just of a different mindset.
I don't disagree with what you're saying. It is geared specifically for early-era full-contact karate. However, I was looking at it from the perspective of an instructional piece, so my review reflected that.
Originally Posted by stray_bullet
You're dead-on about the exercises (even the partner jumping jacks, I will defer to Urquidez's greater knowledge). To work through the first chapter in an hour will work you, for sure.
All in all, I see it as an excellent book, and I refer to it regularly. But even though I'm just a noob, I feel that its information is incomplete for today's kickboxing circuits. Great tool for beginners; handy reference for advanced players.
I just ordered the book thanks for the heads up.
This is a great book! Great combinations, insights to training and fighting philosophy and i would recommend it to anyone looking to take their less than combative karate to a combative level with out learning having to switch to a muay thai school or a kyokoshin school. Not that i wouldn't advise that too. Benny let kick boxing world know that, karate can **** you up too if you train it right!
I cant suggest this book enough.
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO