"The Secret Science of Modern Martial Arts" by Kevin Mills is described as essential study material for any person seeking to expand their knowledge and skills of biomechanics and movement during physical confrontation. I think that is just what this book is. At times it feels more like a text book to be studied, rather than a how to book to follow along with like so many martial art books are. And that is a good thing, a very good thing.
I agree that this book is a fundamental text offering those who study it an opportunity to gain a better understanding of human movement and how this can translate into martial art practice. The author covers a variety of topics in this concise, but informative and educational book.
Areas covered include stances, movement transition principles and propulsion, asymmetrical movement and speed, power principles of strikes, effective blocks, correct anatomical kick alignment, neuromuscular programming, biomechanics of the body, and action reaction. These are not simple topics, and the author does a good job of introducing the principles and concepts and their importance without going too in depth for this kind of manual.
While the book does contain a fair amount of pictures to accompany the text and illustrate principles, I'd have liked to have seen even more. I'd also have liked to have seen even more techniques described and illustrated as they relate to the principles Mills described. That is basically my only criticism, I wanted more. And that is also a good thing. Maybe Mills will follow this up with a volume that expands on the concepts and principles and includes more techniques related to each.
With the above criticism in mind, maybe having fewer techniques illustrated in this book is a blessing in disguise. Rather than be spoon-fed as to what the principles mean, it can be more beneficial to the reader to study the text and experiment and actually feel what the author is describing. In this way, the reader will actually learn and internalize the lessons and have a much better understanding of what Mills is conveying.
If you are a serious martial artist, learning the concepts and principles of movement contained in this text are not only important, they are essential. All of us that practice martial arts are looking for the most efficient and effective way to use our bodies, and this text by Kevin Mills will assist in doing just that.
Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., author of Hard-Won Wisdom From The School Of Hard Knocks (Revised and Expanded): How To Avoid A Fight And Things To Do When You Can't Or Don't Want To and others.