TKDT Reviews

The Martial Arts Manual

on AUG. / 04 / 2011 | 0 comments

by Simon Scher
AuthorHouse Publishing © 2010
www.themartialartsmanual.com

Review by Aaron Wayne-Duke

The Martial Arts Manual is presented as a companion to any “true martial artist” by offering insights and instruction on strategy, training and philosophy.  It could also be considered a motivational thesis by Scher, who is an accomplished martial artist.

The book is filled with interesting thoughts and while much of the content seems to be rehashed and rearranged quotes from other sources.  Scher does an honorable job of challenging the reader to think, investigate, research and refine their art or system.  It's a decent gathering of information for the martial artist but it's been said better by other sources.  Sun Tzu's “The art of war” and Bruce Lee's “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” are obviously influences on Scher's work.

A proper bibliography should have been included in this book as there is no credit given to any of the quotes or stories included within The Martial Arts Manual.  If one reads this book, one would have to assume that Scher is taking all credit for the content but again nothing new is really being said.  Scher fails to credit any outside sources in his 100 pages.  

Writing a book about martial arts strategy, training and philosophy is admirable.  Sharing your experiences, thoughts and insights with the world makes you vulnerable to criticism.  Not all martial artists are great actors (no names will be mentioned), great authors or great humanitarians.  Scher goes beyond the physical practice of his art and steps out of that comfort zone with this book. It's one thing to practice martial arts, it is another to transcend that art, strategy and philosophy to others. Although this book falls short in the originality department Scher should be applauded for his effort to contribute to the world of martial arts and the millions that practice them.  

Scher is someone you could probably “talk shop” with for hours.  I would be interested in reading further books from him.  While he doesn't hit a home run on his first at bat, he is off to a respectable start as a martial arts author.

2 out of 5 stars

Bruce Lee Conversations

on AUG. / 04 / 2011 | 0 comments

The Life and Legacy of a Legend
by Fiaz Rafiq
Foreword by Diana Le Inosanto
HNL Publishing © 2009

Review by Aaron Wayne-Duke

Bruce Lee Conversations is Bruce Lee fan's dream come true.  There have been many books written about Bruce and other Bruce Lee biographies but this book is a delightful look at the man through the eyes of his original students, friends, co-stars and colleagues.  Bruce Lee's legacy is also examined and his sphere of influence went far beyond martial arts.

I found the book to be a very easy read as there are many personalities, thoughts and insights that are shared.  This approach gives the reader a different rhythm and tempo than that of a single author.  It's fascinating to hear individuals like former Heavyweight Champion boxer George Foreman comment on Bruce.  Bodybuilder Shawn Ray, BJJ pioneer Rorian Gracie, MMA legend Randy Couture and action star Jean Claude Van Damme also offer their thoughts and comments.

One aspect of the book that is provocative inclusion is the Bruce Lee-Ted Thomas interview and a phone conversation script between Bruce Lee and Dan Lee (no relation).  The Ted Thomas interview is available on Youtube.com.  

There are many great books on Bruce Lee, his art and his influence but this one is one of my favorites.  This book solidifies the legacy of Bruce Lee as a martial artist, philosopher, actor and human being.  The interest in Lee's art and life are comparable to Elvis and this book validates it.  

There are no photos of Bruce in the book and quite frankly there are no need of any.  This book is about Bruce Lee in the words of others.  We have seen his film work and the many photos of his sculpted physique.  Pictures would added little to this project.

4 out of 5 stars

UFC ® : Best of 2010

on AUG. / 04 / 2011 | 0 comments

Blue-ray ™ and DVD
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Review by Aaron Wayne-Duke

UFC fans can now enjoy 2010's best match ups with a 2 DVD collection featuring the sports biggest stars.  This compilation also boasts 10 bonus fights (DVD version) and 25 bonus fights (Blue-ray version).  The Blue-ray has a suggested retail price of  $29.99  while the DVD lists for 19.98.

The phrase “bang for you buck” comes to mind after watching the entire 315 minutes (Blue-ray is about 550 minutes!).  Considering most movies are a little over 100 minutes with some bonus features, the UFC Best of 2010 really offers a tremendous amount of bouts, behind the scene features, bonus fights and a tribute to UFC Hall of Fame Welterweight Matt Hughes.

I am also very happy that this compilation included a look at some of the UFC's rising stars.  Many great fights have occurred on unaired preliminary bouts and this DVD gives the UFC a look at the lesser known athletes in the world's biggest MMA organization.  

Fights included on this DVD include:

Lesnar vs Carwin
Rampage vs Evans
Leben vs Akiyama
Silva vs Sonnen
Rua vs Machida

This DVD is a must for UFC fans.  A tremendous amount of content for the price.

5 out of 5 stars

Zoic Nutritional Beverage by Solis Brands Inc.

on AUG. / 04 / 2011 | 0 comments

ZOIC Nutrition Drink, Belgian Chocolate
www.zoicbev.com
info@solisbrands.com

 Review by Aaron Wayne-Duke

There are many nutritional beverages on the market today and it can be overwhelming if you are a meal replacement or supplement newbie.  Many athletes such as martial artists often need to make weight for competition and these products have found a way into many a training regimine.  

Zoic boasts that a can contains 15g ZOPRO3 All-Natural Protein Blend, is 99% fat free, has no sugar added, contains 26 essential vitamins, minerals, is gluten free, 99% lactose free and US FDA verified Heart Healthy! Products are available in 4 packs and come in several flavors including Belgium Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, French Vanilla and Mixed Berries.  One can is just 90 calories.

The company states on their website that Zoic is“Scientifically formulated, complete performance protein that balances out the best nutritional benefits and is proven to boost energy, build lean muscle, speed recovery after exercise, and maintain a strong immune system.”

They also add that Zoic is perfect for:
Adult Nutrition
Weight Management
Exercise & Fitness
Glycemic Control
Those that don't have the time to eat right or just find it hard keep their caloric intake under control might want to give Zoic the taste test challenge before they stock up on protein powders and tofu.

I sampled all four flavors but found the Belgium Chocolate to be the most satisfying.  I can best describe it's flavor as “watered down” chocolate milk.  For those of us that have had meal replacement or nutritional beverages we can probably agree that “taste” is often where the products fall flat.  It's not to say that the Zoic brand isn't pleasing to the palate but I would recommend serving cold.

ZOIC is sold in 4-packs at a MSRP of $6.99 in the health, nutrition and beauty care (HBC) aisles at many major retailers nationwide.
Pros:  Provides meal replacement or nutritional enhancement without the sugar.  90 calories.
Cons:  Hard to find this product in my area.  Bought it at Big Lots (Closeout Retailer with many midwest locations)

2 out of 5 gulps

Ulimate Training ™ Weapons DVD Series

on AUG. / 04 / 2011 | 0 comments

UltimateTraining on YouTube
Hodgyma Productions

Review by Aaron Wayne-Duke
 
Martial artists or instructors looking for an inexpensive add on weapons curicculum might want to take a look at the Ultimate Training ™ series of dvds available from Hodgyma Productions.  Founded by Michael Hodge, the Ultimate Training ™ series covers a variety of weapons including tonfa, bo staff, sai, sword, nunchakus and kamas.  There is also Ultimate Training ™ Karate and several other dvds available, subject to availability.  The dvds are currently available for sale on auction site Ebay and also Amazon.com.  

The instructional dvd's can be purchased individually or as packages with the latter probably being the best choice for schools and instructors looking to add a free style weapons curriculum.  The dvd's are priced very reasonably and the quality is more than acceptible.

Hodge does a pretty good job of breaking down the moves on each dvd allowing the student to learn step by step.  There is only one camera angle available on the dvd's but Hodge does show front and back views.  The dvds also provide a good menu selection option so that you can jump to a particular point.

Hodge saved money on production as the cricket chirps and traffic noise can be heard several times on the various dvds, but for the amount of instruction he provides it is forgivable.  The audio levels could have been more professionally mixed with a seperate microphone and there are moments where Hodge loses his place and starts over which could have been edited out.

Overall the entire series is hard to beat for the price.  Although it should be noted again that this is not a  traditional weapons series, the forms presented do have traditional roots.  Most of the forms I viewed would be best described as “tournament” style.  There are weapons curriculum videos out there with better production but the price is right if you want to pick up some weapons skills for the tournament circuit or spice up your demos.  The beginning bo staff series DVD was my favorite and a good starting point if you can't decide which weapon to go with.

Pros:  Priced reasonable.  Excellent customer service and fast response to email questions.  
Cons:  Production only provides one camera angle and audio can be hard to hear at times.

3 stars out of 5

 
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