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4.7 out of 5 stars35
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 5 August 2007
an amazing book that describes the transformation of mark law from the proverbial 'nine stone weakling' to a man able and willing to face down anyone. it can be read on many levels. as a keep fit guide. as a no nonsense guide to stopping smoking and eating healthily. as the awakening of a middle aged man to what life can hold in store if he lets himself be true to himself. as satire. as a deeply philosophical treatise on East versus West. as the ultimate answer to those who say we should turn the other cheek when insulted. no finer book on judo exists. i doubt there is any finer work on sport as a path to truth. i give this five stars with no hesitation.
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on 5 August 2007
self confessed wimp and chain smoker mark law sets out on an amazing journey of self discovery. he wants to prove to himself he is made of 'the right stuff' and enrols in his local judo club. at first he is the butt of jokes as the 'real' men of the club think he is only there to colllect material for another best seller. you see they know law as the writer, not the man out to prove himself as he hits the buffers of 50. slowly he wins their respect by learning about judo and training hard. he 'bulks up' though he rejects as unclean the steroids some neer do wells use and is no longer embarrassed by his reflection in a mirror. he gains confidence as a man and embarks on the second stage of his voyage. he travels around the world, often in judo outfits, winning the trust and respect of many within the sport. some always dismiss him as a voyeur,out only to write about and not join them. i tend to side with these people and think law never really had judo in his blood. that's only a small reservation. by and large this is the best book ever written about judo and one of the best about sport. i hope it is made into a film. but who would play law!
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on 24 September 2011
Mark Law has an intimate and truly original writing style. It's informative but not at the expense of its lively pace and provided a complete history of the sport. One of the best books I've read in a long time and I read a book a week. Every judo player I know must read the Pyjama Game and if they haven't they'll find out why. Not just for judo players, it is essential reading for martial artists, fighters and athletes from all backgrounds. This book is utterly compelling and an informative account of a demanding, full contact sport!
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on 5 August 2007
Mr Law's book is an inspiration. From a slob who ate and drank too much for his own good he became a lean, mean fighting machine, a force for good not bad. In Britain and abroad he studied the Masters of Judo. He learned wisdom and implacable hostility towards bullies and bad people generally. By the end Law is almost a Knight. I am so impressed that I intend to take up judo myself although my children say I am 'past it' at 56. Law says you are never too old. I agree.
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on 8 February 2014
I bought this at the same time as 'Angry White Pyjamas' by Robert Twigger and 'Waking Dragons' by Goran Powell. I'm a karateka, rather than a judoka, but I figured it would be interesting to read about another style of martial art.

The previous books I have described are very much from the point of view of the writer - they are both probably about 80% the experiences of the writer and 20% history or anecdotes. So, from the synopsis of 'The Pyjama Game', I was expected much of the same, but obviously focussing on judo, rather than aikido or karate.

The book starts well and differently from the others - the writer writes as if you the reader are right there with him in the dojo, preparing to train. He takes us through the etiquette and phrases that we're going to come across, which is most helpful.

But then I'm afraid the descends into one long history lesson, only occasionally punctuated by the writer's experiences. He describes in great detail the work of Dr Kano, who created the style and then takes us through the wealth of great fighters who trained and had both success and defeat at the many Olympic games over the years.

Please don't misunderstand me - this is a good book and will be especially of interest to those who practice judo and want to learn more of where their chosen martial art came from. But for the casual reader or perhaps for someone who trains in a different style, there is a little much history - almost too much to take in.

The writer has certainly done plenty of research and some of it, especially some of the descriptions of training regimes, are interesting, but the book is perhaps wrongly placed - it certainly is a 'Journey Through Judo', but from the way that the synopsis reads it's not really going to be the writer's full experiences of training in judo or his progression from beginner to black belt etc.

To return to the percentages, I'd say this book is 20% writer's personal experience and 80% history or anecdotes about the world of judo. But I give it 4 stars for the obvious effort and research.
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on 17 November 2010
Having been an active judo player many years ago ( I am now 49) I read with some interest Mark Law's book on what is basically is a histroical reference mixed in with 'Judo celebrities'. I did not see the numerous pictures of Mark in his Judo gi as was depicted by a previous reviewer and was thankful for that. What I did read was an excellent mix of how Judo has become embedded in to Japanese life and how the spirit of Judo should not be sacrificed by turning the sport into a media event based on cage fighting or WWF. Conversly to make Judo more appealing it has to be globalised though I am not sure that Kano foresaw Judo going anywhere else but in the schools,colleges and and sports halls of Japan.Ironically it has become appealling because of the characters named in the book and therein lies the paradox.
I fully intended to go back into judo but never at the age of 49. I still retain a good degree of fitness and have always been strong of mind and never saw age as an issue. Whilst not being inspired by Mark I have certainly had my spirits rekindled and regret the time I have spent away from judo.
I would recommend anyone to read Mark,s book to literally find if Judo fits into your soul, because if it doesn't you are proably doinfg it for all the wrong reasons. My reasons are for lost time and to find the harmony within myself that i have somehow lost in other sports.
An absorbing read.
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on 28 February 2011
What a wonderful, wonderful book.

I've loaned it to two of my friends, one hasn't trained for years and the other has only ever considered it. The one who has never trained will be on the tatami tomorrow night, I have the book to thank. The other, I give him a month tops.

It sums up why anyone who does the sport loves it.
Its so well written, it has many wonderful stories such as Kimura on the bridge with 4 yanks that you can't help but smile at but the one on the author is excellent as well, hes went from a lump of cookie-dough or a thin streak of urine to being carved from wood, well done mate, Kano would be pleased.
It is a genuinely great read that I intend to pass on to the teachers in Glasgow and Ayr as soon as I have the chance.
Its not just an informative book but it isn't just a story either. Money well spent. Highly recommended.
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on 26 August 2013
Firstly I must state , I very rarely review books but in this case I thought I would give credit where it is due.
I trained at the Budokwai a good few years ago and remember Mark ( although he probably don't remember me ) as being a total gentlemen and offering small bits of advice where and when it was needed . The book he has written as inspired me to get the gi out again and get back on the mat , as his writing made me realise just how much I've missed judo , especially the camaraderie . I would defy any non Judoka to read this book and not want to give Judo a try !
Well done Mark a great inspiring read - please write another book soon .

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on 16 December 2013
Really well written. It takes you into the world of judo from a normal blokes point of view who came into the sport late in life so is able to appreciate what makes judo so unique from other sports. Having read other martial arts books this one is the best written for my style of reading. The author is a journalist by trade which explains the ease at which he can engage with the reader and add so much humour into a fairly staraight froward subject. Very very good book which could be read by people who have no interest in learning judo but are merely interested about its history and why it has still kept its appeal over so many years.
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on 16 March 2012
This is a great overview of judo from the point of view of Mark Law who enters judo as a recreational club player. The book paints a breif but highly digestable history of judo from its origins, its founder, its hightlights and key players over history. Whilst the battle of the styles and the battle of the nations unfold on the tatami one man's battle towards a dan grade keeps you amused and inspired.

I really want my wife to read it so hse could better understand my decade long obsession with judo!

Read this book even if you are not into judo - great author, great writing and a great topic.
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