Book review: Meditation for Warriors

It’s been a while since my last book review, so here’s another one: “Meditation for Warriors: Practical Meditation for Cops, Soldiers and Martial Artists” by Loren W. Christensen.

Some background first.

I’ve practiced mediation in one form of another for almost 25 years now. I started very young and practiced it on and off for long periods. Nowadays, it’s a part of my daily routine, even though it doesn’t take up much time anymore. I experimented with many different ways and have now arrived at a hybrid method that works well for me. It was interesting for me to read how “my” method was both similar and different to the ones presented in this book.

Let’s take a look at it now.

 book review meditation for warriors

“Meditation for Warriors” starts with a brief introduction and some information on Loren’s background. This is the kind of thing most people gloss over but I think it’s critical. First, because then you know Loren was a soldier and cop for decades and practices martial arts to this day. So let’s just say he knows what he speaks of. Second, because he explains the purpose of his book clearly: giving you simple, practical, how-to information to help you meditate. So if you’re looking for a long, scientific treatise on meditation or the latest new-age fad, this book isn’t for you.

The next chapters tackle some of the common myths about meditation, why warriors need it and some nuts and bolts. If you have no experience meditating, or you just started, these chapters will definitely help you focus on the methods that yield results quickly. [Read more…]

Book review: When the Fight Goes to the Ground

A while ago, Lori O’Connel sent me her latest book to review. It’s called “When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-Jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense” and has a cool feature: it includes a bonus DVD with video footage of most every technique she explains in the book. This helps you out a lot if you have difficulty learning new techniques or concepts from reading alone. Even more, the book/video combo is ridiculously cheap for the added value you get this way, so definitely a plus right there.

Here’s a short promotional video with some additional info from Lori herself:

This already gives you a good idea of what the book is all about.

That said, here’s the review:

When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-Jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense

The book is very in-depth and covers many different aspects of the ground game focused on self-defense. It starts in the first chapter with information that gives you a basic understanding of using your ground game for self-defense  instead of MMA or BJJ competitions. Lori covers how to stay safe, which strategies to use and so on.

In the following chapters she covers basics such as bodyshifting and control along with attacking vital targets like the eyes, nose, throat, ears, etc. The typical targets you are not allowed to go for in MMA competitions. She also spends time showing how to do breakfalls on concrete, which is a crucial element for effective street self-defense. No matter how well you can fall in the dojo on mats, that doesn’t mean you can do so on the street pavement. So you should definitely spend some time actually practicing these techniques.

From then on, the book is all about techniques. It starts with defending from the ground against a standing attacker. This is perhaps the most difficult scenario as you have limited mobility and options whereas the attacker has complete freedom of movement. Lori shows many different basic techniques to defend yourself there and hopefully get back up quickly.

Following chapters cover topics like: [Read more…]

Book review: Ender’s Game

I promised this a while ago so here’s my book review of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I also added a link to this book on my resources page. You can find lots more useful stuff there that I both like and use personally, so check it out if you like.

 

Introduction

Before I start, there are a couple things I need to mention. First of all, I listened to the audio version and it was pretty good. If you prefer audio over paper or e-books, you’ll probably like this one too as the production quality is great. The added benefit is that you get an extra piece spoken by the author himself, explaining why he wrote the book, why he refused so many movie deals and more. Well worth it and partly the reason why I write this review.

book review ender's game

Click the image to buy Ender’s Game.

Second, this is a relatively old book as it was first published as a novel in 1985. This shows in certain regards and apparently, the author updated the book in 1991 to make it more relevant to modern times.  But don’t let this stop you from reading it; there’s nothing in the book that is too closely related to the past that it might hinder the story. On the contrary, in many ways it is still relevant today, perhaps even more so than back then. I won’t go into that here to avoid spoilers.

Third, this is a science-fiction book. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll already know about it as it’s one of the classics. If you’re not, consider it anyway. The sci-fi stuff is done well and also not as intrusive as in other books. Once you accept the basic premise, you don’t have to do lots of leaps of the imagination to follow the story. Some authors mess up in this genre, thinking they can get  away with anything. Orson Scott Card didn’t, he got it right and placed the characters, their motivations and thinking, their evolution from children into warriors, all this comes first. So don’t let the genre scare you off either.

 

That said, a quick word about the story:

Ender Wiggin is born sometime in our future in an Earth at war: humankind has started exploring the universe and encountered an alien race that attacked them, starting a series of wars. Earth cleans up it’s act and starts working together on a global scale to avoid being annihilated. They set up a special program to find the brightest children and send these off to military school in the hopes of finding the one who can lead them to victory.

Ender is one of those children and the book follows him on his journey. I can’t really say more without giving too much away so I’ll leave it at that.

 

The relevance to self-defense training

Like I mentioned in my post about The Walking Dead and Self-Defense, I like to use examples from movies to illustrate concepts that are valuable in real life. To a degree, you can do the same things with books with the only real difficulty being the need for the other person to actually read the whole book. As this takes a lot longer than watching a movie, I can’t always convince people to do so. No big deal, I just have to find another movie reference then…

Anyway, why am I so enthusiastic about this book? [Read more…]

Book review: Evolution of Weaponry

Book review: “Evolution of Weaponry” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen

 

book review Evolution of Weaponry by Lt. Col Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen

Click the image to buy “Evolution of Weaponry” by Lt. Col Dave Grossman and Loren W. Christensen

The aim of the book is to give you an overview of the different ways mankind has found to most effective kill his fellow man. As the authors state in the introduction: any weapon that survives throughout time is the result of a Darwinian selection process. If it becomes useless in combat, it is discarded. If it keeps on working or works better than what was used before, then it is kept as a valuable weapon. Evolution of Weaponry gives you an overview of how that evolution actually went.

 

The book starts with a glossary of terms that will be used throughout the rest of the text. Then chapter one covers weapons as a means of overcoming physical and psychological limitations. On a physical level this means the need for force, mobility, speed and distance. Regarding the psychological aspect, the authors explain how man’s innate resistance to killing is an important factor in warfare. They go on to talk about the research behind this statement and all the ways the military have of using a psychological weapon to overcome it, which includes topics like:

  • Posturing
  • Distance
  • Mobility
  • Leaders
  • Groups
  • Conditioning and stress inoculation

Perhaps the most interesting part is the case study, in which these aspects are demonstrated from actual accounts.

 

Chapter two tackles how weapons evolved throughout the ages. This starts with the chariot and the phalanx and goes all the way to the concept of solid, fluid and gaseous phases. In part three, you’ll learn some more about the evolution of combat and domestic violent crime. This chapter explains several key concepts and offers a bunch of statistics to give you even more information. The book ends with a conclusion on the future of weapons evolution.

 

Conclusion:

This book is a good primer on the topic of weapons and everything that is involved with them, primarily their use in war. It gives a solid overview of the most important historical facts and concepts you need to know to get a basic understanding of the topic. Of course, there is a lot more to all this but that’s not what this book tries to cover. You can see it as a starting point for further reading and studying, a map to help you on your way to more knowledge. In that regard, this is a most excellent source of information.

Highly recommended.

Book review: Evolution of Weaponry

 

 

Book review: Wheel Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 2) by Shawn Kovacich

Time for another book review, this time it’s “Wheel Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 2) by Shawn Kovacich

Here’s the review:

Book review Wheel Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 2) by Shawn Kovacich

Click this image to buy “Wheel Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 2) by Shawn Kovacich”

The book starts with an introduction and some words on how to use the book to get the most out of it. Next up are a chapter on the muscles and joints involved in the kick as well as how to stretch and warm up before you start practicing.

Then we get into the meat of the book, the basic principles of the wheel kick. Shawn covers topics such as: [Read more…]