John Ball has written about other activities (most recently Spacemaster I-1960) and now teaches the art and philosophy of judo-""a new concept of real strength"" through a story which in itself is like another far eastern disappearing trick. After Rod Mitchell, who does ""a lot of reading"", is scuffed up by some local rowdies, he becomes initiated to judo through the gardener's Nisel son. One learns some of the facts in the history of this old skill, its practitioners, its impressive competitions, its slow mastery (Rod at one point wants to quit). Eventually he is able to distinguish himself in ""a little light workout"" with the boys who have bullied him- and he has acquired a lifetime avocation. A lot of the time is spent on the mat, but the moral tone is upright.