The Intelligent Warrior: Command Personal Power with Martial Art Strategiesby Steve Jones is a good book to get one thinking about different aspects of the martial arts and how they can apply to other areas of one’s life. On the cover, Jones suggests that these strategies will help a person win at work, sharpen mental focus, be socially confident, and strengthen your health. I agree that if the proper lessons are learned and applied from martial art training, these “extra” benefits can be gained. But one must remember that martial arts are “martial” and that is the first goal. But I do agree that a person can gain much from martial arts even if the person never uses the skills to defend him or herself. That is one of the reasons I teach, and a reason I enjoyed this book by Steve Jones.
Besides the Introduction and Closing, the book has four main parts: Meditation, Chi Kung, Martial Science, and Martial Art. Each of these sections of the book contain chapters, even if not numbered as such, on various aspects of the topic. While one could expand on all of these, I felt Jones did a good job of presenting his ideas and providing advice on how to incorporate the ideas into one’s own training and life.
The book is definitely more “mental” than physical. What I mean by that is, the book makes you think and is not just a picture book full of moves to practice. Exercises such as breathing, being aware, understanding different strategies take mental concentration and effort more than just the physical. I’m sure that is why Jones used “Intelligent” in his title.
If I have any criticism of the book, it is that it could have used a bit more editing. Some of the passages are not as smooth and flowing as they could be, and in a few different spots the book references something else on page XXX. The page numbers were never inserted when the book was complete. Some of what I felt was awkward in language might just be the differences between U.S. And U.K usages of English. So really these criticisms are minor.
Since I also believe in the study and practice of meditation and chi kung, I connected with the lessons that Jones shared. His background in these and Kung Fu are apparent and I like that he trains for “life” and not just fighting. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants a mental challenge to go along with their physical challenge of studying martial arts, and especially to those who practice the internal aspects of meditation and chi kung.