FACING THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD: The Art of Karate for Young People by Terrence Webster-Doyle

FACING THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD: The Art of Karate for Young People

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Not an introduction to karate fighting but, rather, a sermon on attitude and on strategies for avoiding a fight. Addressing young readers and adults in separate sections, the author sounds throughout like the psychologist he is, as he speaks of listening to and watching feelings and of ""coping with conflict"" in ways that minimize physical and emotional hurt. He practices a form of karate that stresses determent: after discussing the history of karate, simple meditation, proper ""mind"" and kiai, Webster-Doyle offers a dozen techniques for defusing a bully's aggression--from walking calmly away to pretending to be ill--and follows up with role-playing scripts for some of these. All the while, he urges readers to be polite, friendly, and sensitive to others, and finishes (in a note to parents and teachers) by proposing that--since movies and TV probably promote a violent, fear-laden atmosphere--""conflict resolution skills"" are more necessary than ever. Unfortunately, none of this is particularly convincing. Despite a few quotes and anecdotes, the author tries to appeal to the emotions with intellectual arguments and is often unhelpfully vague--""if. . .you must fight, hopefully you can do it in a way that is not harmful."" Awkward, unimaginative color paintings neither amplify the text nor give the book visual unity. Many widely available books demonstrate karate's less visible aspects; for a livelier discussion of attitude, steer readers toward Jeannette Bruce's Judo: A Gentle Beginning.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1989
Page count: 90pp
Publisher: Atrium (P.O. Box 938, Ojai, CA 93023)