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Angry White Pyjamas
on 2 September 2009
`Angry White Pyjamas' follows an Englishman in Japan as he trains on the extreme Tokyo riot police course. It looks at his time and training in an Aikido dojo and makes for fascinating reading. The style of Aikido he learnt is Yoshinkan and isn't truly representative of Aikido in general, you don't tend to get the overly macho and violent teachers and philosophy in other Aikido schools. In fact this was the one aspect of the book I disliked the most, the cruelty in teaching methods and overall philosophy of some of the people involved in the school were highly dubious. Martial arts are tough and this particular course is renowned for it's strict methods and brutal training schedule, but in the main Aikido is a much more respectful art than what is portrayed here. Saying that, this is still an interesting read about one man's experience in a Japanese dojo and trying to make sense of Japanese society in general and for that alone it kept me reading. As you read you question whether you could handle such a tiring and hardcore course syllabus and by the end of the book you start to wince at every blow the students receive. This is an interesting book about life in one particular school of Japanese martial arts and if you are interested in martial arts it is worth a read. I personally didn't feel it to be as great as some other reviewers here though.
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