Welcome to The Palace Guard, the tai chi chuan and martial arts blog for intelligent martial practitioners. As the blog develops, I hope to feature other writers with a fresh take on the martial arts and related subjects. For now, I hope you enjoy my posts: feel free to leave comments, or email me at the address available on the profile.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Review: "Meditations On Violence" by Sgt. Rory Miller

You can't doubt Sergeant Miller's credentials: as a Corrections Officer of wide experience, he's spent quality time dealing with some very violent people and situations. His general theories about violence, and his ability to point out weaknessess inherent in  martial training are perceptive and thought provoking. He is also excellent on both the legal ramifications and the "after effects" of violent confrontation, topics often conspicuous by absence in martial writings. Finally, his idea of giving yourself permission to use force or aggression is something I've not seen before, and poses intriguing questions. 
I can't help feeling however that this book is pitched way above what is useful for most people, and perhaps that is the intention. I would have liked to hear a lot more about "street" experiences rather than instances in jails and institutions, for the simple reason that it is unlikely (I hope)  that I will ever find myself cooped up with an armed criminal high on PCP. His vignette of his encounter with the two assailants on his way home was illuminating and instructive, and perhaps I wanted more of the same. I appreciate however that  it's only possible to write about what one has experienced. All martial artists could learn something from this book, and will appreciate Sgt. Miller's efforts in laying his own physical safety on the line to perform dirty, but necessary jobs. Those who enjoyed this book would do well to seek out the excellent "The Fighting Edge: using your martial arts to fight better"  by James La Fond, on Paladin Press, though it isn't easy to find.