3 out of 4 stars
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Ever since watching old Kung Fu movies late at night in my youth, I have had a fascination with the martial arts which made it an easy decision for me to choose to review Western Long Boxing: The Tao of Ten Gated Changes by Professor Gurjot K. Singh when the opportunity arose. I was expecting a primer into the unfamiliar discipline of Western Long Boxing, but this book is so much more in-depth than I could have imagined.
Of course, the book has many things about learning the techniques used and training methods for understanding and executing the art, but that is really just the beginning. Mr. Singh takes the reader to a much deeper level immersing one in the history and evolution of what is now known as Western Long Boxing. He teaches about the origins of the art and the individuals who learned, shaped, adapted and taught it throughout its existence ultimately leading up to his current practice of it as well. This telling of its history really set the stage for all that was to come in the functionality portion of the book and made for a real interesting read.
The book delves into an all-aspect approach to learning this discipline. Mr. Singh goes through a lot of training information that touches every part of the practitioner’s life to improve at and attempt to master the skills presented. This is definitely not a part-time undertaking to become an adept at this practice. The dedication level for the work that needs to be put into this art is really quite staggering. Mr. Singh mentions many times throughout the book the principle of 10,000 (hours, sessions, etc.) that are needed to become a master at an endeavor. Taking up this discipline will assuredly create a new lifestyle if one hopes to master it.
Interestingly, throughout the entire book, Mr. Singh has many video clips that are linked to YouTube where he shows demonstrations of the vast amount of techniques that he describes in its pages. Many of these are combat techniques like one would expect in this type of book, but there are so many more as well. Training methods, conditioning, sparring sessions, discussions and more are to be found in these supplemental videos. They really helped to bring the written word alive for the reader to see what was being talked about.
In all openness, I have to say that after I finished reading the book and watching the videos, I was really unsure of where to begin telling the reader about this book. It is just packed with such a wide scope of information that I had a difficult time trying to condense all of it down into this review to where it still did the the author justice. Reading his words and watching him in the various YouTube videos showed the obvious passion that he has towards Western Long Boxing and the martial arts in general. And though the read was difficult in spots, where there was a lot of unfamiliar terminology as well as technical data shared, Mr. Singh's aforementioned passion made the overall tenor of the book one of excitement and overflowing energy. This is a pretty rare thing for a lot of nonfiction books in my experience.
One problem that I had with the book was the formatting that made it really difficult to read on my Nook. When opened, it showed six way-too-small-to-read pages that I had to enlarge just to make out any of the words on each page. And even then, it was still a little irritating as I had to then manually scroll to the right to “turn” the page and then every two pages I had to scroll diagonally to the lower left to get to the next page in the book. It really made it a bothersome read because of this formatting issue. Another negative aspect of the book was that it had quite a few grammatical errors throughout its entirety and a good round of editing would really be a great help in this area. There are also a few swear words in the text for those who would take issue with that.
In summary, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives brought up above. If you are somebody who wants to learn more about the martial arts, especially the Western Long Boxing discipline then this would be an excellent book for you to go get and read and reread over again. I also believe that much could be gleaned from it for a current practitioner of the martial arts as well. Mr. Singh has no doubt written a very passionate and technical offering with this book.
Western Long Boxing
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