Tuesday, July 22, 2014

5 Minute Book Report: The Martial Apprentice by Roy Dean

I recently stumbled across Roy Dean's ebook The martial apprentice. The price was right as a $0 download on my kindle! The book was not, however, what I expected.

Roy Dean is primarily known as a BJJ instructor. His instructional DVDs are notable for the quality of both instruction and production. He is a black belt under Roy Harris but also holds black belts in judo, Aikido, and Japanese Jujitsu.

Surprisingly, The martial apprentice is not about BJJ. Instead, it is Roy's story of dedicating himself to the martial arts. The book describes:
  • Roy's inadvertent sojourn to Japan as an exchange student.
  • A few lessons about the important of training judo
  • Another sojourn, this time to North Bay Ontario (!) to finish high school, discover the UFC, and become obsessed with Aikido
  • A return to Alaska to train Aikido, work an office job, do some baggage handling, and learn some garage-style BJJ
  • 15 months as an uchideschi in California (followed by additional training) to study jujitsu and Aikido
  • The discovery of BJJ 
  • The importance of belt testing -- particularly shodan -- as a means of discovering your peak performance capabilities
  • Life experiences along the way
Only in the conclusion does Dean mention the next stage of his training. He promises us a follow-up volume that details his experiences with Roy Harris in San Diego.

Overall, the book is very entertaining and deals with some interesting issues such as the best martial art (basically, the one that you're willing to train), the importance of rigorous training, the types of people that train (according to Dean there are philosophers, fighters, and athletes), and the janus-nature of MMA.

If you've spent time training a martial art -- particularly Aikido -- the book is worth the read. It makes an interesting companion to books like Angry white pyjamas and American Shaolin, particularly because it was written by a martial artist who writes, rather than a writer who does martial arts. There is a difference.