I really liked “The Ultimate Guide to Unarmed Self-Defense” by David Earth Jr. It contains solid advice on self-defense in a well organized manner. The pictures used to illustrate concepts and techniques are clear, and overall I think Earth did a very good job with his goal of providing a combination of techniques, training methods, and strategies designed to provide practitioners with highly efficient and effective self-defense skills. I also liked that in addition to physical techniques, non-physical awareness and prevention aspects were covered.
The first chapter briefly discussed self-defense vs. martial arts, and why the author created a system that he calls “Functional Self-Defense.” Brief, but he makes some good points and it sets up where he is coming from.
Chapter Two: The Truth About Violence. This chapter contains information on the nature of violence, myths of martial arts, and why acting tough is for losers. It's a very short chapter, but worth reading and listening to.
The third chapter on awareness, avoidance and prevention is one of the most important chapters in the book. He provides some good information on these concepts.
Chapter Four: The Covered Blast. This is a fundamental concept to Earth's system, and the way he explains is and illustrates it with photographs is well done, and it is a concept that will serve a person very well when defending him or herself. Others explain the same or similar concept with different terminology, but nonetheless, this is a good thing to learn and practice and I liked how it was presented here.
Chapters five, six, and seven get into functional self-defense training, the MMA base, and Functional Self-Defense. These chapters cover many of the basic physical aspects of Earth's system, and he does a good job of explaining them and illustrating them with photographs. There is nothing earth shattering or really new here, as there are only so many ways to hit, kick, and grapple with another person. The book includes a lot of basics such as boxing punches, kicks, knees and elbow strikes, and so on. It also shows how to combine some of these in situations. However, just because the techniques are basic doesn't detract from the book, because basics are what work, and the material is very well presented in a logical manner with much “fluff” often found in some systems eliminated. This book does focus on aspects for defending oneself, not for sport or competition. As the chapter denotes, Earth does use a MMA base for a lot of his techniques and training methodologies. I do believe that studying the techniques presented here, learning them, and training with them with a good training partner would provide a person with a strong self-defense base.
Chapters eight and nine are shorter and cover environmental applications and physical and mental fitness respectfully. And finally the book concludes with a series of frequently asked questions.
If you are looking for a book to learn a simple and straightforward self-defense system, this book by David Earth Jr. fits the bill. It is one of the better books on self-defense for sure, and an excellent addition to anyone's self-defense library.
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