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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: Drills: Training for Sudden Violence

I was traveling all weekend, which meant I wasn't home when my new copy of Facing Violence arrived. So I contented myself with re-reading Drills: Training for Sudden Violence instead.

I'm now getting deep into Facing Violence, but I haven't hit the drill section of that book, so I don't know how much overlap exists between the two. It hardly matters. The Drill Book is worth getting, especially at the stupidly cheap price that Rory charges for it.

The title is actually slightly misleading. Well...perhaps that's unfair. The title is not misleading. But the book contains a bunch of things that people won't expect. There, of course, lots of physical drills; Rory starts with the one-step, which is the foundational drill he tends to build everything off of, and a whole bunch of variations. If you have done one of his seminars,  you will have experienced some or all of these. In point of fact, having seen the drills in action will enhance the value of this book (though that almost goes without saying), but a reasonably intelligent instructor/advanced practitioner should be able to make sense of most of the material here on their own. Brand new students might have trouble, but I'm not sure that those are the people this book is targeted at.

The reason I stay the title might be considered misleading is that there is a whole of stuff in here that,on the surface, has very little to do with violence. It actually has a lot do with it, but it's big picture, "how do you view/understand/value the world" kind of stuff, not "how do you eye-gouge a mugger" kind of stuff. The latter is what most people expect. The former is, in my opinion, infinitely more useful. Rory's version of the bucket list (and the follow up exercises) are gold for any human being, regardless of their interest in self-defense training. Seriously. Every person on the planet should do those exercises. (And do them right. Don't skip ahead. I did not, and I am glad I did it the right way).

More and more, I am becoming convinced that self-defense training has very little to do with martial arts, and a lot to do with just understanding how to live life. Martial arts are fun and dandy, but there's a huge disconnect. Frankly, it's rather liberating, in both directions.

Anyway. I'm rambling now, and this will detour into non-review territory, so let me sum up.

If you are self-defense instructor or student, buy this book. If you are a human being, it may still hold value (especially at less than $10). If you are meat popsicle, it may be lacking.

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