Author: Chris Crudelli
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley
Subject: Martial Arts
Year: 2008 and 2010 (2010 smaller format – however it is still approx. A4 page size!)
The Way Of The Warrior is essentially an encyclopedia of martial arts styles.
It’s 350+ pages of beautifully presented images of martial arts, each with a little history including founding masters, moves and weaponry used.
It is a coffee table style book that often gets conversations going with friends and visitors alike and it’s something that you can pleasurably dip in and out of very easily.
Initial impressions of the book are good as it is so large and heavy. Dorling Kindersley are known for their beautifully presented books with great images and this does not disappoint.
The first four pages are devoted to the contents, highlighting that the arts included are arranged by the originating country. This allows easy scanning to locate your own art or one you are interested in. These pages give an early idea of how comprehensive this book is as there are well over 200 styles listed.
Chris Crudelli provides a two page introduction after the contents, highlighting how many warrior arts change and evolve, yet ‘retain their ancient heart’. Crudelli also notes that this book is ‘the culmination of 25 years of training, teaching and research in the martial-arts world, combined with every conceivable modern method of gathering and disseminating reliable information’.
The book then starts with India and South Asia, including arts such as Gatka and Mukna, before moving to China and East Asia, with lots of Kung Fu styles and the Korean arts including Kuk Sool Won and Tae Kwan Do. We then travel to Southeast Asia and Oceania, leading to Japan and Okinawa with their rich history of striking and grappling arts. As we near the end of the book, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia are covered. Lastly The Americas are listed, with styles including Jeet Kune Do, Capoeira and Vale Tudo.
The book is very well laid out inviting you to pick it up and enjoy, particularly, the lush, stunning photographs. Some styles have a few pages of images included, others have none, however the information on all of the styles is consistently presented to an exceptional standard. There aren’t pages and pages of information on any one art and where an art is expanded upon, it is mainly through the use of extra images.
The book ends with a very good martial arts glossary, with brief explanations covering aspects such as Qi, Kata, Guru and Tao.
The Way Of The Warrior is a brilliant book to have around, as it provides so much initial information stimulation on many styles, allowing you to then search and study further using other resources if you so wish. The images can really draw you in and aid with the understanding of the styles. It stands as a fine volume for non-martial artists as well, not only because the pictures are so impressive, but because it can serve as a gentle introduction to the sheer number of styles that exist, and some rudimentary differences between those styles.
This book is a visual treat! While it would have been fantastic to have had more information available about each art, the size and cost of such a book would have probably gotten out of its intended depth. Further information about each style is best left to specialized documents and books.
‘He who overcomes others is strong. He who overcomes himself is mighty.’
‘Perseverance and year round training – in the dog days of summer and the coldest days of winter – is the way to learn real Kung Fu.’
‘Despite the fact that we live in an age of incredible technology, ready availability of quality information, air travel, advanced scientific understanding and electronic communication, the ancient warrior arts – and their associated cultures – are still widely misunderstood’