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Fighting Science: The Laws of Physics for Martial Artists
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Manufacturer: Turtle Press
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 796.8
EAN: 9781880336724
ISBN: 1880336723
Label: Turtle Press
Manufacturer: Turtle Press
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 272
Publication Date: 2002-06
Publisher: Turtle Press
Studio: Turtle Press

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Editorial Reviews:

Size and strength will take you only so far in martial arts. If you want to reach your maximum potential on the street or in the ring, you need to go beyond conditioning and focus on getting the most out of every technique. In Fighting Science, Martina Sprague teaches you everything you need to know to successfully apply the laws of physics for maximum power in every technique.

Start with ten fundamental fighting concepts to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses and identify your strengths. Once you have a solid overview of these strategic concepts, move on to a detailed look at how things like momentum, rotational speed, friction, direction, impulse and conservation of energy can work for or against you. Not a science whiz? Don’t worry about it. Martina breaks down each idea, giving you easy to understand examples and hundreds of practical applications for stances, striking, kicking, defenses, footwork, movement, throws, takedowns and grappling. This book is supplemented by hundreds of photos, detailed glossaries, summary and review sections and even quizzes to test yourself on what you’ve learned. Whether you’d like to gain a detailed understanding of the laws of physics for martial artists or just want a few hundred ways to get the edge on your next opponent, this is a must-have book.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Combat Is Not An Exact Science
Comment: First of all, I skimmed through the book before buying it, so I knew what I was getting into. I wasn't ever expecting a textbook on physics. I was expecting a book that explained the BASIC physics behind GENERIC martial arts techniques to improve my own understanding of them, so that I could "tighten" them up.

I was GREATLY satisfied.

Now, I teach reality-based martial arts (self-defense), and studied under the late, great Grandmaster David German, the inventor of the T.A.I. system of martial arts, inductee into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and winner of multiple Grandmaster and Master awards (for martial arts). It's hard to impress me when it comes to all things martial arts related. I was very much impressed with this book, however.

For those that were not impressed, I am seeing complaints of "flawed" physics on the one hand, and, on the other, complaints concerning the level of "instruction" this book provides (or fails to provide, as it may be). In both cases I can only shake my head in disbelief. First of all, Martina Sprague never claims to provide a vast and deep understanding of physics in this book. In fact, she comes right out in the beginning of the book and lets the reader know that the aim of the book is to provide a handful of GENERAL principles that can be applied to almost every martial arts technique at any time, in order to help you maximise your profits (or minimise your losses).

On this point I'd like to add that as an instructor, I always try to give my students the most bang for their buck. I do not teach thousands of fancy techniques like most (aesthetic) schools do, nor do I care to delve into the esoteric aspects of martial arts. The students that come to me either know right of the bat or learn quickly that what I teach is not a "style" that one practices to impress or win awards at point tournements. I literally teach what I believe to be the best ways to survive life or death situations, on the street (or anywhere), against one or more armed (and/or unarmed) assailants, at any moment. My students train as they fight, and fight as they have trained (hopefully). Anyone that is familiar with the realities of a street-fight (or mugging, or attempted rape, etc.) knows well that not only are specifics and fine techniques thrown out the window during such an encounter (no matter how much training one has), but that "analysis paralysis" is a real threat - if one can even muster the mental fortitude to analyse ANYTHING at all.

For those looking for specific techniques and complicated physics calculations are not only going to be dissappointed when they read this book, but if they're trying to apply those things to actual combat they are going to be dissappointed at best, hurt/maimed/killed at worst. A real fight is far too fast, too chaotic, too unexpected, and too uncomfortable (mentally and physically) for anything other than the most simple and direct techniques to work. For techniques that are relevant to a reality-based combat situation, Martina Sprague's book is very, very useful!

P.S.: I would also recommend the Fighter's Fact Books by Loren Christensen.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Comment: This book did not meet my expectations. I do not know what I was expecting but do know this was not it. The book covers some good but basic points and may even be a refresher or helpful reference for some. But ultimately if you have any "fighting" skills from some sort of formal training, then you are already familiar with much of this information. I do have to say I always read the reviews on books before I buy them, just to have an idea of what the product will be like. But will still buy a title with not so good reviews, much like when you hear about a bad movie but want to see it for yourself to judge it on your own standards. Well I wish I listened to some of the reviews on this book. I also bought another book by the author that has not been released yet called "Norse Warfare: Unconventional Battle strategies of the Ancient Viking." I really hope this book is going to be better. I gave the book four stars, because I think it could be of help to the novice fighter. Also I would like to add, I am a knuckle-dragger not a scientist and can only say what I know of science and what I read in the book made sense to me (for the most part). If there were major errors in the science and theory presented in this book, then I missed the errors and if there were minor subtle error I really for sure missed them! So the bottom line is to take my review for what it is worth to you.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: poor or no explanations of planes, levers, biomechanics
Comment: The title is deceiving. There are no explanations of levers, planes, moments of inertia, etc. In a nutshell, all throws are based on the principle of the moment of a couple, that is, initiating rotation about some point by applying equal and opposite forces; there is no science behind the writing in this book. There are excellent judo books which show sound principles of throws and sweeps.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Knowing 'why' a technique works makes it work better
Comment: Most martial artists know that Miyamoto Musashi, arguably the greatest swordsman of all time, advocated quickness and power as superior to strength and speed. As a practitioner, I have known for years that sheer size and brute strength meant very little to accomplished martial artists, yet I never truly understood why. Having finished this excellent book, now I know.

Sprague's tome helps us reach our full potential in the fighting arts, martial sports, and even in every day conditioning by successfully explaining in straightforward terms how the laws of physics can be applied to generating maximum power from martial technique. She describes how things like balance, momentum, rotational speed, friction, direction, impulse, and conservation of energy can work for or against us in executing striking, kicking, throwing, grappling, and joint manipulating techniques. That pretty much covers all the bases, huh? There are tons of great illustrations, summaries, and even quizzes to supplement the materials. This is an easy to read, easy to implement text that can only help you become a better martial artist.

Lawrence Kane
Author of Surviving Armed Assaults, The Way of Kata, and Martial Arts Instruction

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Disappointing... and sometimes wrong
Comment: This book was generally disappointing. It explains in a very qualitative way why certain martial arts strategies are effective. Although the book purports to be 'The Laws of Physics for Martial Artists' (front cover), there isn't a single numerical physics example. Chapter headings such as 'Conservation of Energy' may sound very scientific, but I'd hardly call dominating the center of the ring a scientific strategy.

What is even worse is that some of the science is wrong. For example, at the bottom of p.42 (top of p.43) the author advises keeping your hands and feet far apart when doing push-ups because this will 'spread your weight over a large surface area with less force per square inch.' - thus making the push-ups easier. Anyone with a decent knowledge of high school physics knows that this is entirely spurious; the force per unit area depends upon the area in contact with the floor and not how far apart your hands or feet are kept. The fact that such a simple concept is lost on the author casts serious doubts on her credibility.

I agree that this might be a useful ideas book for the newcomer to the martial arts who has a decent knowledge of physics and who is therefore able to spot the scientific mistakes. It is also worth noting that one of the 5-star reviews is by the author. The review by 'Zuelquorneen' is worth a read too...

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