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on 9 September 2017
Just recently started to get back into Judo after many years away. In the middle of reading this amazing book. Thoroughly enjoying it. 🥋😊
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on 30 March 2017
Great read
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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
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
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 18 September 2016
I really wanted to like this book but it grated with me which left me so disappointed. As a judoka of more than 30 years standing, I found its style and the way the author engaged with the reader really irritating, It fell a long way short of "Angry White Pyjamas" from which I am sure it was trying to leverage some interest with the chosen title, as well as many similar books written by karateka such as "Moving Zen", "A Karate Story" and the recent "Karate Stupid" and "Karate Clever". I even purchased a Kindle copy recently and re-read it to see if I would change my mind. Sadly I did not.
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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 12 September 2015
An entertaining, light hearted look at aspects of the Judo world. Nothing too profound but interesting insights into the efforts some countries have gone to to excel. More of an emphasis on the fighting side, rather than the culture and philosophy - which don't lend themselves well to British humour. It's a fairly fast read and has enough pages to provide a good book's worth of information/distraction. There do not seem to be many other books like this, so it presently enjoys a niche, although the range of possible books in this vein is endless.
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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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