South African national muay thai champion Gorman offers a concise introduction to this martial art.
Muay thai is one of the lesser-known martial arts, but with the rise of mixed martial arts and other “ring” martial arts, it is sure to gain in popularity—especially, Gorman notes with a measure of pride and caution, since it “is renowned as the world’s most brutal ring sport.” There is little doubt that Gorman revels in both the challenge and the more ethereal aspects of the sport, bringing forth its almost meditative aspects—composure, balance, calmness, breathing—and its sheer physicality: “He nearly knocked me down in the first twenty seconds, hitting me with a straight punch to the face….It was a bit of a surreal experience.” Gorman succeeds in giving readers a rounded sense of the sport, underlining the importance of discipline, commitment and respect—qualities that can’t help but be of benefit in all walks of life—as well as general body strengthening, weight loss, and the joy that comes with being intensely in the moment. For a primer without pictures, Gorman does a yeoman’s job explaining stances, punches, kicks, elbows (“Elbows were taken out of some forms of fighting, because they are considered deadly weapons”—but not out of muay thai), knees and clinches that can be easily, perhaps painfully visualized: “Muay Thai kicking is renowned as extremely dangerous, because we kick our opponents with the bones of our shins,” “Elbows are devastating,” and “a knee to the head will most likely end a fight.” Through all the mayhem, Gorman never loses sight of the fun he’s having, with one eye on the beauty of an ancient art form and the other making sure his chin is down and his hands are up.
A snappy little handbook that could easily lead to deeper involvement in the sport.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)