Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Ruby Reviews Mordred's Victory & Other Martial Mutterings

This non-fiction title is a collection of blog posts by Jamie Clubb, the founder of Club Chimera Martial Arts. I’ve never read the author’s blog but the chapters of this book are plenty long enough (not always the case with books formed from a collection of blog posts) and they group very nicely into the four sections of the book. Also worth a mention is the writing style which makes for easy reading while delivering enough detail to satisfy. The author manages to get his knowledge and experience across without preaching or condescension. Extensive use of reference material provides further credibility and the seven page list of those references provides a great starting point for those who might wish to delve further into martial arts reading.

The first section is titled Martial Mutterings and provides some very interesting background to the various combat sports that are known as the martial arts. If the reader is a martial artist (such as myself, I’m a karate practitioner) then these chapters help to place your sport in the martial universe. Jamie Clubb’s leaning is obviously towards self-defence and he begins to hint that many martial arts are not really practical in that sense, but he deals fairly with the validity of the different disciplines and clearly has a great breadth of experience.

Self-Protection is the second section and here the author begins to deal with his own special area of focus – how to be emotionally prepared and physically secure in the increasingly physically threatening modern environment. The four tenets of Club Chimera – Respect, Awareness, Courage and Discipline – are delved into with unassailable logic. The section concludes with some very interesting suggestions on pre-emptive strikes, proactive training and pressure testing. Having myself trained with four very different karate clubs over thirty years, I can appreciate the acid testing that is needed for effective self-defence. All too often martial artists can become deluded about the effectiveness of their carefully perfected, artistic techniques.

Reality Training for Children deals with the thorny issue of exposing children to the threats of twenty-first century life and finding ways for them to handle such situations. The first step is to train the teachers, as genuine self-defence for children is a rare commodity. Then the author deals with the why, what and how of his approach to reality training for children. He doesn’t give away his trade secrets but just enough to tantalise.

The fourth and final section is Training: Fit for Purpose – a very interesting set of perspectives on attitudes towards and types of training and fitness, including the pitfalls of being led astray by fitness training as an end in itself.

In conclusion, I found Mordred’s Victory and other Martial Mutterings by Jamie Clubb to be a very thought provoking read. Each chapter deserves careful reading and contemplation. Whether you pursue martial arts for fitness, sport, competition, art or self-defence, this book will assist in self-realisation and help any martial artist find their own path. The extensive reference section deserves another mention. Overall, highly recommended. 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review. I have no prior connection with the author (although I am a martial arts fan and practitioner).