Self-defense, martial arts, and real violence: this book can teach you a lot about all three. While not a traditional martial arts or self-defense book, Working With Warriors: How Three Combat Experts Took Martial Arts Out Of The Gym And Into The Street by Dennis Martin conveys much wisdom about traditional martial arts and their real-life use in the streets. Those interested in violence and self-defense can learn much from the experiences of Dennis Martin and his fellow warriors.
The book is not a “how-to” book by any means. You won’t find picture sequences of techniques, drills, or conditioning programs. Nor will you find much of anything similar to traditional martial art or self-defense books. What you will find is a collection of stories about Martin, and those others he shares about, and the journey through the world of martial art training, working the doors, training others, and scores of actual confrontations and bar battles that teach hard-won lessons that one interested in actual violence and fighting should take heed of.
The stories are told with the grit and honesty in which they were lived. The are engaging, brutal at times, and enlightening to the world these men lived and thrived in . Portions of the book feature Martin writing about the journey he and others followed, while other parts are reprints of different interviews that were conducted in the past. All of them interesting and thought provoking in the areas of martial arts and fighting.
Having had similar experiences to some of those in the book, I found myself nodding along and remembering times I’d experienced the same. Other parts had me shaking my head and thinking, “I’m glad I haven’t been in that one.” It was these latter tales that I probably enjoyed the most, because I was able to learn vicariously through Martin’s and the others’ pain, without having to go through it myself. Not to mention, just shaking my head and going, “dang…” a time or two.
This book isn’t for the squeamish, and it certainly isn’t for those martial artists that believe martial arts are all about peace and love. This book is hard hitting and viscous, and describes real fights just as they happen, violently and brutally. If you are interested in hearing about the journey of men who studied classical martial arts, but made a living in the world of violence and real fights, this is an engaging and interesting read. If you’ve been there and done that a time or two, it’s also a fun read that will bring up some nostalgia. At least it did for me. It’s a book I enjoyed reading, both for the nostalgic reasons and the lessons learned. I thank Dennis Martin for writing it, and I thank my friend Nick for sending me an autographed copy.
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