Author: Alan Baxter, 2011
Though real-life experience will always beat theory hands down, there is enough information here, presented in a highly accessible, no-nonsense style, that clears up many areas that might be an issue in fiction.
Baxter really takes a broad view – talking about movement, blocking and how fighters’ physical attributes matter. He gives a breakdown on how a real fight is not the same sort of clean, linear type of situation as one expects after having seen movies. Fighters’ concerns are not limited to opponents, but also to the potential dangers apparent in their environment.
People who fight get hurt. If you take a hard enough knock to the head, there’s a chance you might experience concussion – and you’re certainly not going to bounce right up like a jack-in-the-box to carry on fighting as if nothing is the matter.
Baxter touches on the psychology of fighting, and also how the addition of weapons can change the game considerably.
Having hung out with martial arts and weapons enthusiasts, I already see much of what Baxter shares as common sense. What I did like was how he’s ordered the information, so this slim volume is a good refresher, and it certainly helps to have all the information laid out so clearly.
If you’re looking for a *very* basic introduction to hand-to-hand combat, then I recommend this book. It’s certainly proved to be a useful reminder because there’s no way in hell I’m going to try any combat classes – I’m much too much of a shrinking violet for that. (And, besides, getting beaten up is what the characters in my novels are for.)