Book Review - Ultimate Training for the Martial Arts

John R. Little and Curtis F. Wong, editors
Contemporary Books, 2001
paperback, $18.95

Great articles from the Inside Kung Fu archives.

Ultimate Training for the Martial Arts is a compilation of training-related articles from Inside Kung Fu magazine. This format, part of the "Best of Inside Kung Fu" series from Contemporary Books, works great for the magazine because it lets the publisher reuse articles from past issues. It also works great for the reader, since each article is penned by an expert on that area.

For example, Thomas Kurz (that guy you see doing the splits across two chairs in those Stadion ads) writes the article on stretching. Tim Tackett, the jeet kune do (JKD) instructor, walks you through wing chun and JKD wooden dummy sets. Chris Lydon M.D., who also writes for Muscle and Fitness, describes proper nutrition.

Some of the articles lack the photos that would make this compilation really great, though. For example, there's an article about pre-Tae Bo Billy Blanks' workout regimen. I'm sure there were great photos of Billy before becoming the infomercial icon he is today--that would've been a great inclusion. But we do get great step-by-step photos from Tackett, Robert Ferguson and Michele Krasnoo (so that's what The Mouse has been up to!), and a bunch of other notables.

Now what would be really fun is reprinting actual pages from the magazine from "the good old days"--ads and all. You could see the trends rising and falling in the martial arts: the ninja craze, legal mail-order weapons, and the recent grappling fad. The ads would almost be as fun to read as the articles. That would be a real "Best of" compilation.

The book does covers a lot of ground, undoubtedly stemming from the vast archive of back issues available. The main areas covered include:

All in all, Ultimate Training for the Martial Arts is a great compilation of useful articles. You'll get a lot out of the training tips and drills, regardless of the style you study.

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