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Lupin1
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1603
Location: NH USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:15 pm    Post subject: How Not to Get Hit by Nathaniel Cooke (Book Review) Reply with quote

Disclosure: through Patrick (KarateForums.com Administrator), Tuttle Publishing provided a copy of the book to me at no cost.

We were well into another Tuesday night class, and a small group of us younger practitioners were off in a corner where we were supposed to be working a new partner drill. We were slightly distracted, however, as one of our newer black belts was yet again regaling us with (questionably accurate) stories of his weekend visiting a few somewhat seedy bars with a friend and the several scraps he had gotten into in the process.

He was just about finished happily bragging it up to me, the only lady in the class, when our instructor caught wind of what was happening. In only seconds, Mr. Smith was in the middle of our group where he swiftly and thoroughly brought the young charger back down with a simple piece of very good, yet often-overlooked advice.

"Even if you did get off with only a few minor knocks this time," he began, admonishing him, "if you had acted smarter and hadn't gone to places like that in the first place, you wouldn't have had to fight and risk hurting yourself and others."

Everyone knows the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The martial arts do an outstanding job of teaching us to deal with situations that have gotten violent, but how often do we as martial artists study or teach our students strategies to prevent becoming involved in those situations in the first place? How Not to Get Hit: The Art of Fighting Without Fighting helps begin to fill in that gap. In the book, Nathaniel Cooke lays out the basics of avoiding a fight to begin with - from recognizing and staying out of potentially dangerous situations, to looking for clues in body language to determine if a person may have malicious intent, to defusing and/or escaping a situation before it turns into a physical altercation.

In the first and, in my opinion, most useful chapter, the book begins by walking us through the most common motivations behind violent acts and how to use body language and context clues to determine a person's motivation. After recognizing the motivations of a potential aggressor, it gives advice on how to respond in the manner most effective for those particular motivations - whether it be talking a person down, giving them what they want, or just getting out of the situation as quickly as possible and by any means necessary. It also offers advice on how to differently handle an individual attacker versus a group of attackers. These techniques could prove a great study for students of all levels and lend themselves well to practical drills where students can practice reading different situations and reacting appropriately.

Another of my favorite chapters consists of a group of interviews with those who deal with violent situations for a living - including a professional body guard, a psychiatric nurse, a police officer and a prison guard. It was a very entertaining read with very practical, real-world advice. Reading this section helped me see the real use in the skills discussed in the previous chapter and how they're put into use every day by a variety of highly trained professions. It was valuable to hear about actual situations in which these tactics were used to diffuse or end a potential altercation. This renewed my motivation to learn them and gave me confidence in their effectiveness.

Other sections of the book include a somewhat dry but potentially useful section listing dozens of statistics on crime from both the United Kingdom and the United States (the author being from the UK and the book being published in the US), a large section with basic, generic self-defense principles and movements in event you do need to fight, and a very useful guide comparing the focuses of different fighting systems and the author's advice for choosing a system that will work for the reader.

While much of the advice presented in How Not to Get Hit could be considered common sense, I believe having the strategies presented in a systematic way, along with anecdotes and statistics to back them up, could make this a decent beginning resource for anyone teaching any manner of self-defense course. Practical skills for danger assessment and non-violent conflict resolution are an area of self-defense sorely lacking, if not missing entirely, in the vast majority of martial arts programs. While this book is certainly not necessary for the development of a curriculum on the topic, I believe it would offer a decent starting point for any martial artist who wishes to add these skills to his own or his students' repertoire.

Buy the book: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk (KarateForums.com receives a small commission on any sales generated through these links).
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Patrick
KF Administrator

Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 27029
Location: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the submission, Devin.

Patrick
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14370
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent book review; I was riveted to it from start to finish...quite an excellent piece of work!!

You gave me a look into Mr. Cooke's mindset on this subject!! After all, it's not always about what to do during a fight, but more what one can do to defuse a possible volatile situation!

From your book review, the scene that took place on Han's Junk in the Bruce Lee classic film, Enter The Dragon, brings the conceptual idea to the forefront of my mind. This is the very concept that I teach to my students, and that is....

It's not about how fast your hands and feet are, but it's about your fast your mind is so that you've the tools available to defuse the situations in a calm manner. Mind like the moon and mind like the water are some of the tools that we train in daily as karateka's,

Your review, each and every paragraph, made me want the book more and more. I will be adding this book to my library!! Thank you!!



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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14370
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It's not about how fast your hands and feet are, but it's how fast your mind is..." That's what I meant to say!! I accidentally typed "your" instead of "how"

Sorry!


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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27735
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review, Devin. It sounds like a very interesting read, and I shall consider this one, for sure.
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