By Cynthia Rothrock
Literature is sometimes
defined as any writings considered as having permanent value,
excellence of form or great emotional effect. The Martial Artist's Way, written by sifu Glen Doyle, definitely falls
under the category of literature.
Anyone who's met sifu Doyle knows of his up-front opinions, attitudes, and teaching style with regard to martial art techniques. This candid attitude may be the reason he is such a silent influence in both the martial artist and sporting world.
Glen has been the personal martial arts coach for figure skating superstar and former World Champion Elvis Stojko. I have known Glen for the past eight years. I met Glen and Elvis at the annual Wushu/Kungfu Championships in Baltimore, Md., and was quite impressed with their demonstration of kung-fu. Upon getting to know him as a friend and seeing what a great martial artist he is, I had him help me with the choreography for Tiger Claws II.
Upon completion of The Martial Artist's Way, Glen sent me a copy. It was such a fantastic book I asked to write a quote for the back. The Martial Artist's Way does what few martial arts works are able to ..... reach. Not teaching in the way of alphabetically based pictures, but rather on how to think, choose and become an individual in a very socialized arena. The strength of Glen's book lies in its attractibility to everyone. A new student would find helpful hints to lead them to a successful journey in the martial arts. A person studying for a few years would pick up interesting training philosophies which could only better their overall performance. An instructor can look at an entire teaching principle in a different light and be able to catapult students to greater heights.
The book, like Glen himself, is straightforward and unpretentious, with a small amount of humor to complete the package. It encourages, warns, guides, suggests, and instructs the reader through most challenges faced by a martial artist. It teaches, through positive reinforcement and example, how to maximize any and all aspects of one's martial art training.
Outside the physical teachings of the book, Glen also touches on the mental aspect of the martial artist. From a student's psychological profile, to street sense, to the killer instinct, The Martial Artist's Way gives some great analogies to be better prepared, what to expect, and how to control both sides of an equation.
In most day-to-day living, we find it hard to be ourselves. Our opinions and beliefs are sometimes buried because we don't want to look different or odd. Sifu Doyle addresses this problem within the martial arts. He discusses how to make your style your own without insulting your school or instructor. Certain chapters are very motivating, pushing the reader to re-evaluate his convictions about himself, and strive to push toward an individuality that will benefit both the school and his chosen style of martial art.
As a former kung-fu champion in Canada, Doyle knows what it takes to win. In his book, he approaches the subject from three points of view: forms, weapons and sparring. Breaking down the chapter this way, he guides the reader through the three different mindsets one should have. This allows the reader to look inside himself and get an exact sense of who he is, why he is competing and what he wishes to achieve through this competition. This is a great approach to such an intricate area of the martial arts.
Though sifu Doyle might not have intended for it to happen he gives to the trained reader a revealing look at his spirit.
I thoroughly recommend this book. It is a must for every martial artist's library. Check it out.
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Cynthia Rothrock writes a bi-monthly column for Inside Kung-Fu Magazine
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