The details of "Slapping Dragons" by Wallace Smedley refer to many of the myths in martial arts, noting the book is an effort by the author to address some of them.
I believe that overall, that goal was reached. However, at times I felt like I wasn't sure what the identify of the book was intended to be. Was it designed for novices? Was it designed for experienced martial artists? Somewhere in the middle? I'm still not sure.
I have done martial arts half of the time the author has, so I have no right to claim what he is saying is right or wrong, but considering my experiences and beliefs regarding the martial arts and how they are taught mirror his, I am hoping I am on the right track.
I do have a few quibbles with the book.
First, it seems like it spent too much time on the specific details of the origin of Hung Gar, which is the author's preferred martial art. Very fascinating from a historical perspective, but perhaps too long considering the goal of the section: Not believing all the myths surrounding the origin of all martial arts, or even a specific martial art.
Second, it seems like the readers are hammered repeatedly about chi not being real. I certainly understand and appreciate where the author came from with his claims and experiences, but I believe that part was overdone.
Third, I would have liked to have seen more time spent on myths related to "Reality Based Self-Defense". Those are the ones that are more likely to get someone hurt or killed. While there are certainly outstanding books referenced in the appendix of the book, such as works by Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung, which more than cover the subject, I believe a better balance between those fallacies and chi / supernatural powers in martial artists would have been a plus.
Overall, I found it to be a very good read. As a student of not just the arts but the history of them, it was a quality read from beginning to end. Perhaps just a little bit off from the intended goal, but still a very worth read.