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4.7 out of 5 stars79
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2004
If your a martial artist, or simply just curious about the philosophy behind martial arts, i would say you MUST read this!!! So many lessons can be learn't, and i have found this book a great help in my practice of Kung Fu and Tai Chi. My sifu actually recommended it to me, saying it was an excellent book, and one of which you can go back to and refer to time and time again. (Very true!!!)
Joe Hyams translates Zen, (which can usually be a extremely wide and complex subject), very clearly and simply from his own experiences in our modern western world. There are many excellent quotes, and some amusing stories of masters of old. I hope/intend to make use of the many wisdoms i have learnt from this book.
The only bad thing about the book was it ended far too soon. GO BUY IT!
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on 18 February 2005
As a practitioner in Martial Arts from aged 9 this book has unlocked another thought process in my mind. A valuable source of information and inspiration. The author has displayed the problems that have faced him as a student and as a master and given much thought to resolving these conflicts. You do not need to understand the theory of Zen, this is a simple but deeply moving book of epic proportions. For the Martial Art practitioner the author has an uncanny ability to pass on further direction. This book is vital for the student and the Master and should be mandatory in the Dojang for all to learn from, follow and continually refer to. However as a book on life it is just as valaubale for the non martial artist.
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on 14 February 2007
Must be a classic already? I can't add much too all the positive reviews listed here already, but, despite being a small book and a quick and easy read, it's one of those books that should be read and its contents digested several times, to make sure the important messages have sunk into your sub-consciousness.

Joe gives several accounts of when he trained with Bruce Lee and there are many witty and funny stories in the book. The book covers many Budo secrets and is a fantastic summary of many of the great samurai classics. No matter what Martial Art you study, there will be plenty of material here to improve your performance and help you with the important aspects of breathing, timing and Kime.

Try and get the Bantam July 1982 edition as it is nice and small and can fit in your pocket. Keep it by your bedside to give you something to meditate on before you go to sleep and refer to it often to help you absorb the important techniques within the book. If followed with some persistence, I am certain it could help anyone increase their longevity though the various practices in the book.
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on 31 August 2006
This was a great little book! General anecdotes, ancient fables heard and described first hand and personal stories all mixed together in a great little volume that can easily be started and finished in one day.

The author describes lessons learned both in practicing martial arts and extrapolating to daily life in an understandable and relatable manner. But not just stating these lessons i.e. 'as Bruce Lee said this, I learned that', but actually analysing, discussing and evaluating these lessons from a personal viewpoint. And yes you read right, this guy actually practised martial arts with Bruce Lee... and in his own back yard. Now that is a story in itself!

Some examples of subject matter:

* Unlearning in order to relearn new teachings

* Sensing attack and dealing with fear

* Attacking without give signals of attack (reacting without thought)

* Channelling/ focusing energy

* Interrelation of mind and body (feeling/not feeling pain, healing etc)

* Self control and dissipating anger in a confrontation (winning through losing - very interesting)

These are just a few examples.

This is just wonderful reading: can teach in 100 or so short pages what many other books try - and often fail - to do in 350+ pages. Cannot recommend it enough.
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on 3 January 1997
In Zen in the Martial Arts, Joe Hyam's uses the backdrop of the martial arts and his many unique experiences to show us all the way to a better, more rewarding life. By sharing his experiences with such martial art legends as Bruce Lee, Ed Parker and Bong Soo Han as well as many of Hollywood's biggest stars Hyam's presents in an engaging way the principles of Zen that lead to greater control and inner peace.
Even those who are not fans of the martial arts will appreciate the unique and interesting stories that captivate and teach. Each chapter focuses on a life lesson learned in such an engaging way that I find myself reading this book again and again -- each time gleaning a little more of the wisdom in it. I am amazed at the number of times I thumb back through for a favorite passage or thought. A worthy addition to the library of anyone who seeks for greater direction and understanding in their life -- I would recommend Zen in the Martial Arts highly.
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on 12 October 2006
I ordered this expecting to be mildly entertained but ultimately I thought that I probably wouldn't get a lot of useful information out of it. Indeed it did entertain, and the amount of Zen in it is quite thin on the ground. But when it is used it is with (I found) remarkable results. In each chapter the author will talk about a time when he had a problem with life or training, and how he overcame it through "Zen" wisdom supplied to him by instructors he has trained with over the years. At the end of each chapter I found myself stopping and comparing his stories with my own experiences, and reflecting on how I could add some of the wisdom he had learnt into my own life and martial arts.

This book is not going to change your life in an instant, but will probably make you think about new approaches you could make to training and other perspectives you could consider. For this reason I would recommend it to anyone, but particularly to martial artists as I think they will get even more out of it.
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on 27 December 2000
Joe Hyames was there when the world was introduced to the secrets of the far east. He lived at the forefront of the martial arts world before the bruce lee craze of the 70s, which established martial arts in the way we see it today. Unlike many thugish martial artists Joe Hyams devotes his book to the power of the mind without which all skill will be limited. The chapters of this book are meaningful and illustrated with circumstances to which what he is saying has been applied. Every martial artist must own a copy but the book would have little meaning to a non-martial artist. Applicable for any martial art you practice irrspective of technique. Well done Joe it is a great book.
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on 3 May 1999
This is an amazing book. It changed my outlook on life. The first time I read it, I did it in a day. Since then, I've refered back to it many times. The stories are very well written. This is not only a must for martial arts enthusiasts. The lessons learned in this book can be applied to everyday life. This book is a must.
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on 3 November 1997
There only two books which are required reading in my martial art, Anjing Banfa. The two books are Musashi's Book of Five Rings (not the martial artists version) and Zen in Martial Arts by Joe Hyams. His writing is aimed at the novice and is extremely helpful for those that are just beginning their journey into the martial arts or Zen. While there is nothing astounding for the well versed, this book is short, easy to read, and in language that anyone can understand.
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on 1 September 2007
This book is clear and interesting. The writers style is interesting and you are able to learn from this book. It basically does what it says on the tin and is insightful on a subject which other writers only confuse you more about. Joe writes clearly and is living in the real world unlike other writers on this subject. In the book he refers to various lessons he learned from his own martial arts training and experiencees. You learn lessons he learned whilst training with the late great Bruce Lee. A very good book on a difficult subject which anyone will be able to enjoy and understand.
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