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    "Way of the Warrior" book review

    Amazon.com: The Way of the Warrior: Books



    This new book was written by Chris Crudelli, the British MAist who hosted the "Mind Body & Kick Ass Moves" BBC TV series. It's basically a style-by-style martial arts/combat sports encyclopedia, not an instructional manual. Each section is named for a different region (Japan, China, Philippines/S.E. Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, etc.) and introduced via a historical and cultural overview of the fighting styles of that region, before proceeding to profiles of individual styles.

    The first thing to note is that "Way of the Warrior" is a great coffee table book. 360 very large, glossy, full-color pages containing a huge number of excellent photographs, both reprints of historical painting, sketches etc. and many very dynamic modern pix as well. It's exceptionally well laid out and Crudelli's writing style is fine for the task at hand, clear and straightforward.

    Secondly, Crudelli has obviously gone to considerable pains to be inclusive, in the best sense, although this is kind of a double-edged sword. I own several similar encyclopedias but I have never seen so many individual fighting styles collected into a single volume. I think that many readers will be very surprised at the sheer number of unique and little-known styles that are featured in this book. The slight downside is that many arts basically receive a "once over, lightly" treatment; although some styles/rulesets (MMA, Kalaripayatt, boxing, Shaolin kung fu, etc.) are given impressive multi-page spreads, others must make do with a paragraph or two, which obviously doesn't offer enough space for real analysis.

    The author is non-judgmental about his subjects, simply noting (for example) the major aims and themes of a particular style, whether they be competition, self-defense, physical training/cultural preservation, performance, etc.

    Given the vast scope of this work, some factual errors are inevitable. I've only skimmed many sections but have already noted numerous questionable statements, mostly when the "party line" of a given style is repeated verbatim ("Tae Kwon Do's origins date back 2000 years", etc.) It's also obvious that a great deal of Crudelli's research has been via the Internet, which makes sense in this day and age but leaves many of his presentations open to question.

    Quibbles aside, I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the histories and especially the cultural/stylistic diversity of the martial arts.
    Last edited by DdlR; 12/09/2008 2:27am, .
    Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

    Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

    #2
    I saw a copy of this at Barnes & Noble, but it was wrapped up in plastic so I couldn't open the flap to read anything about it nor could I flip through to get any information on it. So I looked at the cover, then the price, then said screw it. So this review is actually quite helpful to me since I couldn't get any good info on it there! Thanks.
    "Intelligence is nothing more than discussing things with others. Limitless wisdom comes of this." - 山本 常朝

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      #3
      I contributed to one of the articles and so was lucky enough to be sent a complimentary copy. It is expensive new, but there are already some copies turning up in second-hand bookstores. Note that this book should not be confused with Reid and Croucher's similar work of the same title (which is also excellent).

      If you go to the Amazon link listed above you can click the "Look inside this book" button, which will give you an excellent sense of the layout, subjects etc. If you have an Amazon account you can also use the "Search this book" function for more details.
      Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

      Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

      Comment


        #4
        I picked it in Waterstones in Trafalgar Square and put it down fairly quickly. A snapshot with often very small items of very much less than a paragraph. I don't mean to be critical or snide but a little too much a skimmmer rather than in depth look. Chris was given much space in COMBAT and MAI in the UK to publicise his book and his new school.

        Although I thoroughly enjoy "Mind, Body etc" on BBC3 and the re-runs and I respect his skill and personality, there was an oddity in one of the articles (COMBAT-MAI) about someone breaking into his house and pouring petrol over his 9yr old self and threatening to "light him up". Frankly this sounds more like a delusion of a highly stressed and suggestible child rather than a reality.

        Additionally, the producer of "Mind, Body etc" had a letter published in MAI explicity stating that Chris was hired for the series but that other views were entirely his own. I infer a marked disagreement between the two.

        A puzzle.

        Still, he's doing a show in the Forum in Kentish Town (about 150 yards from where I live so I hope to get there and watch (unless they've sold out).

        Comment


          #5
          The book is big and pretty, and would look great on a coffee table. There are, as mentioned above, a handful of glaring errors. Some things were translated very poorly, and the "party line" was taken at face value in many cases. Crudelli also plugs his own martial art in the book, which I guess you can argue for for the sake of being "comprehensive." Just know that if you're getting it, you're buying a coffee table book and not a solid reference book or encyclodpedia.

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            #6
            This is the guy that that beats a thai boxer in a square go in thailand then in a later episode is knocked down from a tap of a 70yr old chi master

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              #7
              Delete

              Comment


                #8
                A quick way to gauge how good the author's research was is to see what he writes about a) the modern Shaolin monks and b) Ninjers.

                Those two topics alone will reveal if he's a serious researcher or just repeats popular opinions.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Bugeisha
                  The book is big and pretty, and would look great on a coffee table. There are, as mentioned above, a handful of glaring errors. Some things were translated very poorly, and the "party line" was taken at face value in many cases. Crudelli also plugs his own martial art in the book, which I guess you can argue for for the sake of being "comprehensive." Just know that if you're getting it, you're buying a coffee table book and not a solid reference book or encyclodpedia.
                  I'd agree with that.

                  Note that CLIO Press is publishing a serious, scholarly MA encyclopedia in two volumes next year.
                  Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

                  Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I saw the book in passing when I was at the local "Barnes & Noble." I quickly dismissed it as another martial arts book by an inexperienced chimp. This was a first glance, mind you. Now that I know who the book is by and the content of it, I may take a look. I still believe it will be filled with the constant rubbish, "Ninjas are extremely deadly." However, I'll give it a shot.
                    From what I've seen on his show, he's very open minded but isn't afraid to be skeptical as well. It was a nice breath of fresh air when he called out one instructor from India, and to have it aired on television.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Eddie Hardon
                      I picked it in Waterstones in Trafalgar Square and put it down fairly quickly. A snapshot with often very small items of very much less than a paragraph. I don't mean to be critical or snide but a little too much a skimmmer rather than in depth look. Chris was given much space in COMBAT and MAI in the UK to publicise his book and his new school.
                      Is that that bookstore on the corner to your right with the big Ben behind you?
                      If it is, i've been there.
                      nice place.

                      Crudelli...i never know what to think of him.
                      He speaks -i believe- Cantonese and some Mandarin, which is really cool, but he also goes on about his rough background etc.
                      I wouldnt buy it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Threadicus Shiticus
                        Is that that bookstore on the corner to your right with the big Ben behind you?
                        If it is, i've been there.
                        nice place.

                        Crudelli...i never know what to think of him.
                        He speaks -i believe- Cantonese and some Mandarin, which is really cool, but he also goes on about his rough background etc.
                        I wouldnt buy it.
                        You are correct, Sir. Yeah, corner of Trafalgar Square with Big Ben straight ahead down Whitehall.

                        Chris is apparently fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. I like him on TV and his approach, it's just that I'm not too sure about his Coffee Table book. Still, I'll have another look no doubt...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Eddie Hardon
                          You are correct, Sir. Yeah, corner of Trafalgar Square with Big Ben straight ahead down Whitehall.
                          Like sort of at the other corner of trafalgar there's another pub with some good fish and chips, can't remember the name though.

                          If im in London you can mostly find me near Leicester square getting pissed in the bear and staff.
                          Not sure if it exists still, its been some years.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Threadicus Shiticus
                            Like sort of at the other corner of trafalgar there's another pub with some good fish and chips, can't remember the name though.

                            If im in London you can mostly find me near Leicester square getting pissed in the bear and staff.
                            Not sure if it exists still, its been some years.
                            Fear not, good sir, it still exists. I walked by it last night on my way to our Christmas (Club) Dinner in Chinatown. :5grouphug

                            Mind you, I seem to recall them trying (Manfully) to chuck out some big geezer who seemed to speak like the transplanted Steve McLaren (UK coach now managing Twente FC). I assume it wasn't you - paragon of virtue that you are. :happy8:

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Eddie Hardon
                              Fear not, good sir, it still exists. I walked by it last night on my way to our Christmas (Club) Dinner in Chinatown. :5grouphug

                              Mind you, I seem to recall them trying (Manfully) to chuck out some big geezer who seemed to speak like the transplanted Steve McLaren (UK coach now managing Twente FC). I assume it wasn't you - paragon of virtue that you are. :happy8:
                              Nah, i dont cause that much trouble.
                              I did make one friggin good joke overthere though.

                              I got to know the place when i had an english girlfriend, she took me there.
                              So over the years and with different girlfriends i used to go there and make it a game to sit on a particular couch( if you come in left at the window) without ever telling them why.

                              So one time i was there with a dutch girlfriend and we had some food and stuff.
                              The guy serving was paying a little too much attention to my liking to our converstion which was in dutch.
                              I asked him wether he could speak dutch.
                              He smiles mysteriously and says no.
                              So i said to the girl: im not buying that, when he comes over with the food play along with whatever i say.

                              so the guy comes with the food and i say in dutch: goddamn i've seen some ugly fuckers in my life but never as pigfaced as this bugger!
                              the guy goes: oi!
                              me: haha! you fucker, you do speak dutch huh?!

                              we had a good laugh about it.

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