Tuesday, July 16, 2013

E-book Review: The Best of Wim's Blog

The full title of this book is - Martial Arts Self-Defense and a Whole Lot More: The Best of Wim's Blog, Volume I by Wim Demeere.

Wim Demeere is a martial artist (MA) whose blog I have been following for more than a few years now. You can find the link in the Blogs I Follow section to the bottom right of this home page. He is more than a martial artist, as everyone is, and is pretty objective about what he writes and is entertaining as well. Based on my links and last non-children book review, you can tell what kind of MA blogs and books that I like. :-)

This review concerns the e-book. I follow Demeere on Facebook as well and was lucky enough to score this e-book for free during one of his promotions. So no conflict of interest here.

"The Best Of..." is more than a collection of blog posts. Demeere has taken popular posts/comments and incorporated them into sections where he explains his view on the matters. Like all blogs the content is a matter of opinion or personal experience. It helps to keep that in perspective and it's too bad people don't keep that in mind when responding or commenting.

The subject spectrum is pretty much what you'd expect: self-defense, MMA vs Traditional Martial Arts, training, what is "real" fighting, etc. However, Demeere presents it all in a concise manner without any nonsensical filler you find in some MA blogs and books. The material is presented from his experiences, so it's different from what you know, or I know, or even others with a long history of either MA training, LEO or other violence experience know. That's what makes it a good subject read. Note that it is not a "how-to" or literary masterpiece - and it is not intended this way.

I found it very useful in that it supported some of my held notions on martial arts and challenged others. A great section for most people is the section on sparring. For example, we are focusing more on sparring during our Summer training sessions. My Sensei and Demeere say pretty much the same thing - sparring at the end of class is primarily time to work on the drills or tactics you have just been taught. Not to beat on each other, which accomplishes nothing.  Unfortunately I see this a lot with some of my fellow students. Luckily my partner is on the same page. When it's time for free-sparring, that's different. Demeere does a great job of breaking down the types of partners who deviate from the script and suggests good ways to deal with them.

You could get all of this information on his blog by searching but it's pretty spread out, plus you'd have to filter through all of the comments. Having it available on my smartphone in airplane mode is important for me, especially when my commuter train goes underground. The guest posts at the end of the book were a nice addition. He asked colleagues (Marc "Animal" MacYoung, Loren Christensen, Rory Miller, etc.)  to write on anything they wanted. All he told them was the nature of his blog and this book, and set no limits. That was a real treat but it looks like you'll have to get the book to enjoy them. All in all the book provides pretty solid advice, common sense actions/reactions, and a level-headedness uncommon in the MA world. Well worth the couple of bucks it costs.

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