Friday, 26 June 2009

The Students Guide.... a review

The Students Guide to Surviving a Traditional Dojo. By Matthew Apsokardu.

A review...

I wish this e-book had been available 2 years ago when I first signed up for karate! Aimed at potential, new and experienced students it starts by answering the most basic questions that a new student may have such as how to tell a good traditional dojo from one that's just trying to make money. The book deals matter of factly with some nitty gritty practical details that are often overlooked by experienced sensei. For example: how to tie a gi and belt properly, personal hygiene issues and the wearing of jewellery.

In an easy to read, well laid out format it informs the student of how to behave in a dojo, how to relate to the sensei and how to get the best out of training. For more experienced students there are tips of how to stay fresh with training, how to train your mind and advice on reading to discover the broader context of martial arts. Many martial art traditions are simply explained and there are several useful illustrations and diagrams.

My only gripe with this book is that though issues about sparring are dealt with in a lot of detail, there is nothing at all about the practice of kata/bunkai or the importance of continuing to practice kihon throughout your martial arts life. This may lead a new student to think that martial arts is just about fighting or that sparring is the most important part of a martial art.

However, overall I think this is a useful starting point for new-comers to the traditional martial arts and covers many issues that you won't find in other martial arts books. After reading this book the new student will have a much clearer idea of what to expect from their martial art and what their martial art expects out of them.

Link to the book here: A Students Guide......

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