- Paperback: 124 pages
- Publisher: 1st Book Library (15 April 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0759672407
- ISBN-13: 978-0759672406
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.7 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,244,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Beyond the Black Belt: Secrets of Advanced Karate Ranks Paperback – 15 Apr 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I must admit, something just irritates me about books printed in "Times New Roman" and print that is justified to the right hand margin causing some sentences to have larger gaps between the words. Just makes for bumpy reading, and that's why you commonly don't see books printed like this. I wish the publisher or author would have chosen a better printed, "reader-friendly" appearance.
The book might be loaded with awesome information and stories... once my eyes adjust to the format, I'll be able to find out. Until then, I thought I'd let other "would-be-purchasers" know what to initially expect after paying ... for a 2002 book with pages that look like they just rolled off of an early 80's computer printer.
The book is an anonymously honest account of Gary's own mistakes and triumphs, and those of students and associates who have come and gone. It shows that there is an escalating battery of neuroses that black belts must overcome in order to achieve the very highest ranks. The book confirms my suspicions that all the black belts who I've seen quit the arts after achieving first degree were afflicted with the same condition: believing a black belt is a finish line.
To students who try (in practice and philosophy) to adhere to the tenets of the traditional martial arts as best they can, Gary's book is a refreshing and sobering look at why it can be said that the martial arts can have as much to do with the mind as the body. One can perfect every move, execute each of them with precision and grace, but fail in battle if he can not control his mind, and show deference and respect to those around them. Black belts must obviously overcome extremes ranging from arrogance to profound and disruptive humility before they can become martial artists in the truest sense of the word.
In sum, while I imagined myself generally familiar with the martial culture and the "bow to your sensei" element of advanced ranks, Gary's book opened up a lot of insight into this often frustrating dynamic. Really, it's not their fault. Every practitioner has to overcome these neuroses to some extent. I have therefore learned to recognize these convulsive reactions to skill in myself, and hope to correct or face them before they become a problem. Overall, it was an extremely entertaining and insightful book.