Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
A great addition to any martial artist's library and essential reading for instructors.
on 22 October 2013
I decided to buy this book on the strength of the authors other book, Self Defense Tips Everyone Should Know, and because I'm a fan of his blog. I'm glad I did because this is an excellent book, and as luck would have it I have just begun to teach self defence myself, so the book couldn't have come at a better time. Let me say though, that this book is not just for instructors or those who are thinking of teaching (although this is the main focus of it). Students of self defence will also get a lot from this book, for like the authors other book, it is full of insight and information gleaned from personal experience that will enhance your training.
The book opens by asking the question how much experience does a person need to teach self defence. The author draws on his own experience here, talking about his bouncing days as well as getting opinions from some other instructors which really helped to answer the initial question. I'll let you read the book to get the answer to it.
From here the author goes on to discuss combatives and does a great job of detailing and explaining an actual combatives syllabus that anyone reading the book can follow themselves, or structure their own syllabus around it. Students can also compare their own training syllabus against it to see if theirs stands up in terms of practicality and usefulness. The author is not a fan of fluff, either in his writing or in his training, so the syllabus contains only essential techniques and concepts, but as he explains, if you go deep enough there is a lifetime of learning in it. This section also contains many photos that help to illustrate the text. I found them useful, if a little small in size. It is followed by several chapters on training practices and methodologies that I found very useful.
My favourite part of this book was the section on developing students (and yourself). This section is full of great information on increasing confidence, learning to think critically, the dangers of overthink and of course, how to develop a good combative mindset. This is stuff that I have never seen talked about from any instructor as most of them tend to focus only the physical techniques, but this stuff is just as important as the author points out. Just like with his other book, this is where the author's strength lies, in talking about the mental aspects of training and doing so in very practical terms, offering information that is immediately useable.
The book also contains a section devoted just to training drills, which I also found to be very useful. There are many drills in this section that deal with striking, defence, multiple attackers and weapons defence. The drills are well explained and some are illustrated with photos. This is the most practical section of the whole book and self defence/combatives practitioners will get a lot out of it.
The final section of the book has several chapters that expand upon some of the concepts already mentioned in the book. These chapters add more detail and really help you to understand better the material in question.
On the whole I thought this was an excellent book. It's well written (apart from a few mistakes here and there, nothing major) and it contains some of the best information on teaching self defence that I have come across anywhere. I will certainly be keeping this book close at hand for future reference. A great addition to any martial artist's library.