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on 9 July 2009
My first review for Amazon i think, and I have to say how much I enjoyed this tome.
Turned up Saturday lunch time & i had finished it by 3 that afternoon.

If you are a martial artist then i believe this book is of genuine service to you. Rory Miller has to utilise acts of force in his day job & teach these attributes to others. There is a palpable air to this book that what is being discussed is real & valid

Confrontations are not as the average martial arts practioner believes them to be. they are nasty, brutish, quick & surprising. Mr Miller talks us through some past experiences & provides insights & observations on violent incidents.

The book deals with the mindset, situation & aftermath of a violent assault & I think covers more ground than the usual self defence related material. Mr Miller's real life role (Now training U.S. armed forces in theatre, according to his blog) adds substantial weight & realism to the topics he discusses.

I found this book to be a real gem & will look forward to any new work with interest.

Rory, been reading the blog for a few months, excellent & bought this off the back of it, best wishes & you take care.

Matt Richards
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on 10 May 2017
Many questions regarding which martial art is better than the other are answered here. Very good analysis of fighting systems and what they have to offer. This is a go to reference book if you are considering investing time, effort and money in a particular fighting system. At the very least it will moderate your expectations of martial arts. Every martial artist should read this book. If you don't have a robust position regarding the style you practice you will have formed after reading this.
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on 22 May 2017
Fascinating study into violence by an authority on the subject. Discussing some of his inmates' past crimes Miller has actually written some of the most disturbing lines I've ever read. not for tbe squeamish.
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on 24 April 2017
Hands down the finest examination of violence and surviving it available. Entertaining and brutally honest, I would put it top of the list for anyone involved in a potentially violent career path or interested in the world of martial arts
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on 23 March 2017
Great Download Kindle Book.
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on 31 January 2012
a very good thought provoking book written in a good clear manner i recommend anyone who studies the martial arts or even those who are thinking of doing so to read this Mr Miller cuts through a lot of the B.S and has real experience with the nasty side of life and how it is never like the films or tv shows and how sudden and out of the blue most attacks really are.
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on 30 September 2011
the subject of violence is rarely being analyzed in such a great detail, to give a regular person a way to understand it's complexity, roots and dynamics
the book is also a very practical guide on how to shift the focus of your training from sportive or ritual goals towards actual self-defence
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on 5 September 2008
"Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best books on self-protection ever written. I really enjoy books that cut through the crap and give useful (i.e. potentially life-saving) advice in a down to earth and accessible way. Rory has a great writing style and the hard-won information he presents is imparted in way that is very easy to digest. The student in the martial arts can run in to the problem of being given dangerous misinformation by people with no idea of what a real situation involves. There are also those who understand the realties of violence, but are unable to communicate it effectively. Sergeant Rory Miller is one of the rare, and much needed, instructors / authors who has both "been there" and is also able to effectively communicate what the unforgiving world of real violence truly demands. To get to the point, this in an outstanding book that all martial artist need to read.
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on 17 February 2016
At turns shocking, sad, honest - informing at it's best, with a conscience. Good read for the martial artist, or someone concerned with self protection (shouldn't we all be) but possibly off putting, and disconcerting, because it suggests you can never be prepared enough.
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on 23 July 2008
At the beginning of this exceptional book is a black and white photograph of a bathroom with a swirl of sticky-looking muck on the floor and a few little droplets splattered across the side of the toilet. Since there is no color it takes a moment to realize what you are looking at, but this mess is clearly human blood, a LOT of human blood. You don't know what happened but it was obviously something awful. A slowly drying pool of blood is not what one might expect to find at the beginning of a typical martial arts book, but then again real-life violence is not a subject that martial artists typically understand or write about.

Like a pool of blood, violence is a very sobering subject; one that must be treated seriously in order to do any good. Meditations on Violence certainly fits that bill. It is a refreshingly frank, honest, and in-depth assessment that teaches readers how to think critically about the subject, determine how to evaluate sources of knowledge, and understand how to identify strategies and select tactics to deal with violence effectively.

As a corrections officer and tactical team leader Miller regularly tangles with hard-core predators. He describes his job this way: "I beat people up for a living. I can pretty the phrase up a lot, but in the end I get paid (and paid well) to go into a situation, usually alone and usually outnumbered by sixty or more criminals, and maintain order."

This is a guy who routinely survives brutal encounters that would leave the average person physically and emotionally shattered. Unlike most martial arts instructors, he has first-hand experience that separates longstanding myths and heroic fantasies from merciless reality. Using interesting personal vignettes backed up by solid research and undisputable logic he conveys this hard-earned wisdom in a highly effective manner. His insights on how to make self-defense work and overcome subconscious resistance to meeting violence with violence could very well save a reader's life one day.

While the author's no-nonsense tone can be a bit "street" and his examples a bit graphic at times, his psychology degree shines throughout the writing as well. This combination makes for a fascinating read. One of the best features of the book is an informative matrix that addresses various types of violence, demonstrating how they differ from each other and how the lessons from one type may not apply to the needs of another. Other important topics include the dynamics of violence, predator mindset, adapting training to the realities of violence, making physical defense work, and the after-effects a sudden assault or long-term exposure to a violent environment.

Miller's book is extraordinarily well written. Packed with interesting, informative and, most importantly, useful information, Meditations on Violence should be required reading for all serious martial artists, law enforcement officers, security professionals, and anyone else who might have to deal with violence in some capacity. It is illuminating and very likely lifesaving as well.

Lawrence Kane
Author of Surviving Armed Assaults and Martial Arts Instruction; co-author of The Way of Kata, The Way to Black Belt, and The Little Black Book of Violence

Note: this review first appeared in the Jul/Aug issue of ForeWord Magazine.
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