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Ip Man 2 (Special Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
Ip Man 2 (Special Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Donnie Yen
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb follow-up that's almost perfect, 11 Mar. 2011
I was really excited about seeing this film and thankfully it didn't disappoint. I fully recommend the first one, which is one of my all time favourites, and this one is just as good, different but certainly as good. The fighting is as crisp as ever and there is a great fight with martial arts legend Sammo Hung, who also directs the action. The atmosphere is also superb and there's no doubting the film's production values. The musical score also deserves a mention as it really adds to the atmosphere.

I do rate this film extremely highly but it does fall short in a couple of areas. I can't help feeling that the inclusion of a boxer as the main adversary is a bit of a gimmick. I know that the filmmakers originally wanted to include Ip Man training Bruce Lee in this film but sadly his estate didn't manage to get back to them in time so he's only included very briefly at the end. Therefore I wonder if including the boxer was the backup plan.

The other aspect I would have liked to see explored in more depth is the effect that Ip Man's dedication to Wing Chun has on his family. It is addressed well but his wife is too understanding when he comes back with no money and gets in fights. He's not even there for the birth of his son. Maybe I'm asking too much but it feels like a missed opportunity to add the kind of depth rarely achieved in martial art films.

Overall I do highly recommend this film. It's very good and very enjoyable but I can't help feeling that it could have been perfect, it was within its grasp. There's always the possibility of a third one though where Ip trains Bruce Lee but I have read that Donnie Yen isn't keen.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2011 12:00 PM BST

NO HOLDS BARRED FIGHTING THE ULTIMATE G: Elite Exercises and Training for NHB Competition and Total Fitness
NO HOLDS BARRED FIGHTING THE ULTIMATE G: Elite Exercises and Training for NHB Competition and Total Fitness
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for martial arts conditioning, 5 Feb. 2011
I'm a firm believer that conditioning should play a huge part of every martial artist's self-defence training. It's not enough to just have great technique; you need stamina, strength and a never say die attitude. Achieving this isn't easy though as there are only so many hours you can train. This is where a good book on conditioning, like this one, can help maximize your training and add variety to your existing regime.

Firstly there are a great variety of exercises in this book. They cover all areas of the body, there's even a great section on the neck! Most of the exercises focus on lifting your own body weight but there are sections using weights like kettle bells, dumb bells and bar bells

The exercises don't just focus on controlled weight lifting exercises either, as there are also an awful lot of plyometric (explosive) exercises to develop power, agility and fast twitch muscles.

The book is really well laid out and one of the best things about this book are the guidance notes and the amount of photos is has demonstrating each exercise. What's also good is that the book also discusses some other useful areas like breathing, the intensity that you should train at and recommended exercise plans.

The book also has some other areas that I don't rate so highly. The sections on warming up and stretching are a little lacking in depth but this isn't the main focus of the book and they at least give you a taste of these areas. However, the very small sections on `R and R' and `Fuel' are virtually pointless and could have done with just a bit more detail to give you enough of a taste to want to check out some of the writer's further reading recommendations.

I've already been incorporating some of the exercises into my home routine and also dropped a few of the plyometric exercises into class. So far I've been very impressed, especially with the intensity and the speed at which it tires out both me and the rest of the class. The science behind these exercises seems to be solid so I can't see why the long term results won't be just as good as my initial assessments, but time will tell.

Overall I highly recommended this book to anyone new to conditioning or those wanting some new and different conditioning exercises.

Martial Arts Nutrition: A Precision Guide to Fueling Your Fighting Edge
Martial Arts Nutrition: A Precision Guide to Fueling Your Fighting Edge
by Teri Tom
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book that goes deeper into martial arts nutrition, 5 Feb. 2011
This book is great and has a huge amount of depth. If you're anything like me you'll have a basic understanding of nutrition and will no doubt know about the value of drinking lots of water and making sure that you get lots of carbohydrates and protein after a workout. However, I've always had more questions than answers on the subject, although I should say more answers than questions, as there is all too often too much contradictory advice on what's good and what's bad. What was good for you last week can be bad the next.

Thankfully this book doesn't just tell you what you need to do but it then goes into the detail of why, which is usually left out. For example I always read that we should eat little and often, but this book firstly recommends that you should eat something every 3 to 4 hours before discussing what happen if you don't. I.e. your metabolism slows and your body depletes its limited glucose supplies and starts to convert lean muscle tissue to sugar to feed yourself. So you might think that you're doing yourself a favour and losing weight but you're actually destroying the muscle you want to create.

Overall this is a great book. It might be too scientific for some people's needs but it was exactly what I was looking for.

Enter The Dragon [Blu-ray] [1973] [Region Free]
Enter The Dragon [Blu-ray] [1973] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Bruce Lee
Price: £8.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 15 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The film is good but I'm holding back from calling it great. Don't get me wrong, Bruce Lee is amazing so amazing that this film doesn't do him justice. I don't actually believe that he ever did a film that did his skills justice to be honest.

There is no other fighter in the film that can get remotely get close to his skills. The fight scenes with Bruce Lee are wide angle, fast and feature long takes. All the other fighters are shot in close-up with quick short takes and fast editing. The fighters may have been great but this contrast says to me that the gulf between their skills was massive. In all honesty the only great Bruce Lee fight I've seen where he took on an equal is when he takes on Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon. There were some great martial artists around at the time as well, just look at King Boxer that came out the year before. I just wish they'd brought in some more talent.

There have been a number of comments about the poor picture quality but I was very impressed - it is a film made in the 70's after all. However, I can't forgive the terrible sound quality. The music is as good as ever - a great mix of traditional Chinese music and funk. However the dubbing is just terrible and it feels like they have made no attempt to revisit it for the Blu-ray release.

The extras are superb on the Blu-ray and while it does have some that aren't on the DVD Special Edition, it doesn't contain `A Warrior's Journey', which is a feature-length biography from John Little.

Overall this film is a classic but I find myself torn in thinking that Bruce Lee is one of the greatest but this just doesn't showcase him at his best. It gives us a taste but as everyone will agree, he had an awful lot more to show us.

Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
by George J. Thompson
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book for a variety of situations, 8 Jan. 2011
I bought this book for two reasons, one was to help me at work but the second and main reason was to give me some new tools to diffuse potentially volatile situations in my martial arts and self defence training.

The book does a great job at breaking down the art of communication and especially how to calm people down by redirecting their anger and emphasising with them rather than just asking them to calm down. It also discusses how to talk to difficult people and how to bring them round to your way of thinking.

I can see the advice in this book working on so many different levels and in so many different areas. I was originally looking at ways to help me at work and how to diffuse potentially dangerous situations but I got a whole lot more out of it. I find myself using my new skills in loads of different scenarios.

One example where this book has helped me is when I teach the kids in martial arts classes. I find that they are prone to bouts of awkwardness and lack of concentration. However, since reading this book I'm more confident, feel more in control and the children are responding better than I could have imagined.

Overall: A superb book and one I fully recommend to anyone interested in mastering the art of verbal communication for any aspects of their life, whether it's for self-defence, work, chatting down the pub or getting your kids to do things they don't want to do.

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