Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book Review: "How to Win a Fight"

For all the martial artists out there who have friends, partners, neighbors or significant others who have no desire to train at all, I may have found THE perfect gift for them.

Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder's "How to Win a Fight" has just about everything you always wanted to tell them but haven't yet. Complete with comic book-esque illustrations by Matt Haley, it is filled with practical information about winning a fight by avoiding it at all costs and knowing what to do, where/how to strike, when to stop if you absolutely have no choice other than to put up your dukes and defend yourself.

The standard martial arts fare is here: awareness, avoidance and de-escalation - but in simple, non-martial terms that are easy to digest and understand. Using their combined 37-years of experience in goju-ryu, judo, tae kwon do and working security, they detail personal stories and scenarios they either observed or experienced. Broken into three sections - "Before Violence Occurs," "During a Violent Encounter" and "Aftermath of Violence" - it is designed for folks who may think they know how a bar or street confrontation would go down (thanks in part to the colorful representations on television and movie theaters, mayhaps), but who have never actually dealt with the speed and ferocity a real, live violent situation might entail.

But just because it's not written specifically for martial artists doesn't mean you, dear blog reader, won't find it useful. You may train to use some potentially lethal techniques, but would you really ever use them to protect a stranger? Against a child with a weapon? Against a family member? The "How Far Am I Willing to Go" quiz in the introduction makes you think about that. The authors suggest it be taken after the last chapter is read to see if and how your answers changed (a few of mine did).

Aside from being an extremely easy read, the thing I found the most interesting about the book is the chapter on dealing with what happens after you survive that violent confrontation. How should you chat with police? When do you call an attorney? How could your claim of self-defense possibly be viewed by the legal system and why? If you've never thought about that part, you should.

"How to Win a Fight" is a good addition to any martial artist's library, too. Glad I have my copy (signed by the authors, I must say :-). Find yours at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore, Amazon and iTunes.

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