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4.5 out of 5 stars
109
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 1998
For those people looking for an in-depth guide to Aikido forget Angry White Pyjamas, this isn't the one for you. But if you are remotely interested in a Gaijin's life in Japan then give this a go. The book is an intimate look at the year-long Japanese Riot Police course, one of the most demanding martial arts course in the world. Twigger doesn't go into vast details about the techniques he learns, rather, he lets you into his skull so you know exactly how painful, how strict the course is. What is interesting in the book is seeing how he got through this year of hell, how he coped with the constant barracking and abuse... I know I couldn't. By the end of the book you really do feel for Robert Twigger putting himself through what sounds like hell. Perhaps the best recommendation I can give it is that I was disappointed when I read the last page.
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on 11 June 2009
Robert Twigger writes an entertaining story of his time in Japan, not falling into what I would assume to be the all too easy form of technical jargon, rather revealing the human side of what it takes to survive such a punishing course.

It should be noted that this isn't a book aimed squarely at martial arts enthusiasts, I would heartily recommend this book to anyone. It was interesting to read his physcological journey of ups and downs, being absolutely honest about his fears and character flaws. A man writing a book such as this would be so easily tempted to write himself into infamy.

I myself have never been involved with martial arts, nor do I have a burning enthusiasm for it. Never the less, even I enjoyed this book. A testament to its broad scope.

I recommend this book.
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on 20 July 2002
Robert Twigger captures the very atmosphere of Japan and its mysterious culture in this very delightful and amusing book. It follows the authors year long struggle with the Tokyo Riot Police aikido course, which is held in the legendary Yoshinkin dojo, lead by a series of Japanese and forgien instructors who tend to like to dish-out bone breaking moves with no remorse. What makes this book so great to read is that Robert Twigger started out on this course not even being able to do basic fitness, showing that anyone who has the slightest will to do something will succeed. If you have an interest in aikido add another star to the rating.
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on 6 October 2000
This is an amazing and clearly true account. I couldn't put it down until the final page. In today's TV world were most of us are content to watch life on the box - it is inspiring and refreshing to learn there are still men (and women) willing to experience real life by living it in all its forms. Pain is the key signature of this book. If you have the courage to suffer, you will in the end learn something worthwhile. A seminal book on the Japanese martial arts - and communicated so brilliantly from the pen of a born writer....
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on 29 April 2002
I just couldn't put this book down. It will defintiely be a hit with martial artists who know themselves the cycles of hard training, failure and success. Non-martial artists rarely understand the rationale behind committing onself to a seemingly goal-less and neverending art. In the pages of Angry White Pyjamas, students will see glimpses and reflections of their own struggle to master their chosen art. Top marks - on a par with Moving Zen but with comedy moments.
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on 26 May 2014
Join Twigger and his flatmate in his cramped apartment in Tokyo as they embark on the remarkably life-altering journey toward Akido hell and Aikido blizz. Twigger is an eloquent writer and within the first couple of pages you feel like you are right there with him, sharing in his daily struggles, minor successes, setbacks, and pain. A lot of pain. This book was recommended to me by a fellow Aikidoka soon after I joined the Ki-Aikido club back at uni, and while I found myself stumbling all over the mat and more breaking than making it a lot of the time, this book is in no small part responsible that I got a little obsessed at one point. The combination of reading along as Twigger masters one painful lesson after the other, never without a good serving of humour, makes you cringe at your own relative sissiness and, as you reach the end, want to drop all your commitments of life, move to Japan, and imitate Twigger. Madness! Before you start reading this book, you should make sure that (a) you know where the next dojo is, (b) you know where to get a gi--the eponymous white pyjamas--, and (c) you have some spare time on your hands, because you will not put this book down before you are done and you will want to start learning Aikido as soon as you are half way through.
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on 29 June 2014
Fantastic book, not only for Martial Arts freaks. It is a story of an unfit and over-chilled-out poet living in Japan, who decides one day, after having read some samurai's "words of wisdom", to change his lifestyle. In his flamboyant language he describes not only his hardship while enduring the senshusei Yoshinkan Aikido program, but also everyday struggle of he foreigner in Japan. Great read, I have "swallowed" it over one weekend.
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on 13 September 2000
Like a shout from the concience, Robert Twiggers evolution from a 30-something wonderer to an iron willed akidoka is alarming. Why? because he had the guts (or the foolishness) to complete what he his spirit needed to do. An outstanding peek into the inner world of an outstanding man. Read this book if you have every considered a Martial Art or are looking seriously into getting married
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on 25 January 1999
In particular I wish to respond to the review by dolu@im.se, in which he (or she) complains that 'Angry White Pyjamas' is "self-indulgent twaddle", unsuitable for reading by any martial artists, and that it doesn't teach anything about Yoshinkan Aikido. I feel this is very unfair to what I found to be an extremely good book.
That's the great thing about this book, it isn't intended for an audience of martial artists. Nothing is more awkward or boring to read than a training manual - if you want to learn Aikido, go to a class. If you want to know what it feels like to survive the toughest Aikido training course in the world - read this entertaining book.
It's a well-written account of someone's immersion in a totally bizarre and life changing experience; by turns funny, thoughful or just horrifying. I too got the impression that the author didn't enjoy his time on the course, I also got the impression that he was fiercely proud of his achievement. I don't blame him.
Equally as interesting as the Aikido training is the diary aspect of living in modern Japan, the author seems almost to relish the squalor he lived in! It reminds you that these people are real, they're not Bruce Lee supermen - the author was a Poet... (which may account for the quality of writing, unusual in sports books).
I bought this book on a whim after seeing it picked out on a TV review as one of the best books of the year (Late Review, BBC 2, early Jan 99) - I opened it over lunch to skim the first few pages, I finished it that evening barely having moved from my chair. I think that's praise enough.
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on 18 February 2000
Anybody who is interested in gaining insight into the Japanese mind, studying martial arts in Japan or thinks Aikido is a 'soft' martial art should definitely read this book. The author takes you on a modern oriental odessy with him as he embarks on the Tokyo Riot Police training course, the toughest Aikido training in the world. You can almost feel it as he describes the physical and mental pain in full gory detail, yet he manages to include comedic moments in the bargain. The best book I've read in a long time.
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