From the back cover:
“It’s a tough world out there — be prepared!
Fitness and self-defense are yours in just eight weeks when you follow this unique martial arts program. Michael de Pasquale, Jr., founder and Executive Director of the Federation of United Martial Artists, combines for the first time, judo, karate, and ju-jitsu into one quick eight-week training plan.
An ideal book for anyone who wants to feel safer, stronger, and better prepared to cope with increased street crime and recognizes the need for self-protection, it is also a perfect way to shape up and feel fit.”
When I see a title such as this one, and read the above, two things immediately come to mind.
The first thing is that I hope the book won’t be too expensive, since I know I’m going to want to add it to my martial arts book collection. After all, I love collecting books that make such claims, as well as many of the older texts written in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s by American martial art “pioneers.” In this case the book only cost $6.00, a bargain for a book that is out of print.
The second thing that immediately comes to mind–as I blurted out to the gentleman next to me who was also checking out the various new and used martial art books—is why have I wasted thirty plus years of my life learning the martial arts when I could have bought this book in the eighties and learned everything I needed to know in eight weeks?
For a moment, the man gave me a blank look. Then what I said registered. He smiled and we both broke out in laughter. The funniest thing was that this man had trained with the author’s father when he was a teenager, and personally knew Michael de Pasquale Jr. I guess this a small world after all.
Of course at that moment I was relieved that I hadn’t said anything more about what I really thought, but I get the impression he basically felt the same. He even stated something to the effect that if Michael de Pasquale Jr. could write such a book, why did he have to spend so many years at their school. Never passing an opportunity to be sarcastic, I retorted, because you didn’t buy the book.
After a few more minutes of banter about a few other silly titles we went our separate ways. I never even got the guys name.
Now that he is long gone, I’m free to express what I really think.
First of all, I have a real problem, and a true loathing for books like these because of the claims they make. I’m sorry to say this, but there are plenty of foolish people who would actually believe they can learn martial arts in eight weeks if they follow a program like this.
They actually believe they can learn martial arts from a book.
NO ONE, yes, I said NO ONE can learn martial arts from just reading a book, or for that matter from just watching a video. It’s not possible.
They can pretend to learn, but the only people they are fooling are themselves. Although I’m sure plenty of their friends will believe they’ve accomplished something. Such is life.
Learning martial arts requires first-hand training from a qualified instructor. There is just no other way a person can be exposed to the proper body mechanics, tactical information, or any of the other numerous intricacies that comprise the martial arts.
The most a book or a video can accomplish is to aid or augment one’s knowledge–knowledge based on martial art techniques they already have some familiarity with.
Of course most books with titles like this have a disclaimer somewhere within the text that states nothing can substitute actual training with a qualified instructor. What really irked me about this particular text was it didn’t.
In fact the forward, written by Al Weiss, a 5th Dan in Combat Karate, states the following:
“It has been argued that one can’t become a skilled fighter by reading a book. I agree with that argument. But it isn’t necessary to be a skilled fighter to survive the average street confrontation. Confidence, awareness, and a few effective basic techniques, learned from a book and practiced until they become second nature, could help you subdue or discourage an assailant. Of course, the book has to be written by one who has the necessary knowledge, experience, and dedication – someone like Mike de Pasquale Jr.”
Okay, Mr. Weiss agrees one can’t become a skilled fighter from reading a book. We agree there.
He is also right about the fact you don’t have to be a skilled fighter to survive a confrontation on the street. Lots of little old ladies, elderly men, men, women, and children survive confrontations on the street daily.
Now I don’t know what “confrontation” he is referring to since that can mean anything from being verbally accosted, to robbery, to murder.
Common sense dictates one should just walk away from verbal confrontations, so this book and Mr. Weiss’s comments most likely don’t apply.
In most robberies people survive because they cooperate with the attacker and give them what they want; money, jewelry, keys to the car, etc. No possession is worth dying for. Short of saving your life, violence should be the last thing you resort to when you’re being robbed. That’s the standard “police spiel” on the matter, and I’m sticking to it.
In the case of assault, battery, rape, or other violent attack one must do what they feel is right, when and if the opportunity presents itself.
However, this book does not teach practical street related self-defense for those situations. There are no eye gouges, biting, pulling hair, nor even a suggestion you should scream for “help.”
No this book teaches basics blocks/strikes, kata (three of them), judo throws (14 of them) and some jujutsu kata mainly focusing on wrist techniques, arm bars, and basic karate/jujutsu style self-defense sequences.
There is also a section on defense against multiple opponents, which I won’t even comment on. Okay, one comment: learning to fight one person is hard enough, thinking you can take on a multiple number of attackers, especially if all you’ve ever studied is from a book, is ludicrous.
Lastly, Mr. Weiss clearly states techniques must be practice until they become second nature. I think everyone will agree it takes longer than eight weeks to accomplish this, unless all you do for eight weeks is practice only one thing. Clearly, this book depicts more than one technique.
This book is broken up into eight chapters, each chapter being what I assume the author is trying to tell the reader is a weeks worth of study.
The first chapter, called “Week 1,” covers exercises to develop the body and prepare it for learning the martial art techniques in the next chapters. So far so good.
Week two and three cover basic movements such as strikes, kicks, blocks, stances, and break-falls.
If this book is really intended to teach the reader how to deal with street style confrontations, as Mr. Weiss asserts, it is beyond my comprehension why break falls are covered. I guess it’s for those individuals who get knocked down.
In my opinion this section could have been used for many more important things.
Week 4 covers kata, and three kata are depicted. They are the basic karate style kata you would see practiced at any karate school. Nothing special.
The problem with this section is that while the kata are depicted well enough, there is no explanation at all as to what the movements are for. It basically just shows the reader a series of movements, and you’re left on your own to figure out what you’re doing. That makes this information basically useless.
In my opinion this is one of the weakest parts of the book.
Week 5 covers 14 judo throws, throws like ogoshi, osoto gari, tomoenage, uchimata, yoko wakari, taiotoshi, harai goshi, and uke otoshi.
Now I know for a fact, having done judo in collage, that this is more than a weeks worth of study. I also know for a fact this is information one cannot learn from a book.
While the pictures are clear, and the descriptions adequate, it is impossible to learn throwing techniques without someone demonstrating the various body shifts, drops, pulls/pushes, and other dynamics it takes to properly execute one.
Throwing techniques are definitely something that one has to observe others do first, and then attempt under a watchful eye. They are complex. In order to learn them, and have the possibility to actually execute them on a non-cooperative person, one must constantly practice them in front of a qualified instructor who can critiqued form, and make corrections.
Week 6 and 7 covers jujutsu kata, which is how the author titles the self-defense portion of the book. To me many of these forms look more like karate than jujutsu.
Techniques range from defenses for empty-hand attacks to those against an armed opponent, (knife and club).
The techniques themselves are basic, photographed well, and decently explained. For the most part I have nothing bad to say about them. They are what the author says they are, BASIC.
My only comment is that they are not the down and dirty techniques one needs to learn in order to defend one’s life. They are just too formal, to stylized, and lack realism–realism as it relates to realistic street combat.
The last chapter, Week 8, covers techniques against multiple attackers.
I’ve already stated my opinion in regards to the worthiness of this material, and how much success I think one would have if they ever attempted these techniques in the real world. All I can say is whoever attempts these techniques in a real life or death situation had better have good medical/life insurance.
My favorite of all the multiple defenses portrayed is the final three-man attack. In this sequence a single female takes on three men, one armed with a knife, and another one armed with a club. She looks like she is in a lot of trouble.
Of course, she is successful. But if you follow the sequential photos, they only attack her one at a time, not as a group. What’s worse is that she actually looks like she turns her back on one attacker, (the one with the knife), while focusing on another.
This sequence alone breaks so many rules of self-defense, in addition to depicting an unrealistic attack scenario. I wonder what the author was thinking.
If you think I’m ripping apart this book, you are right. Not because of its content, but because of how it was marketed. If this had been intended for a martial artist as a supplement to their training I may have even recommended it, but only for beginners.
However, I can’t recommend it as it is. The title is misleading, and the techniques are not the type one should use to defend themselves in a street fight.
I don’t know Michael de Pasquale Jr., nor have I ever met him, or seen the man in action. All I know about him is what I’ve read, and heard from others. From everything I’ve heard he is a nice guy, and a very talented martial artist, who truly believes in victim’s rights (anti crime/drug work).
Given everything I’ve ever heard/read about Michael de Pasquale Jr., and his reputation I find it extremely hard to believe that he would have ever written a book like this.
Or more clearly stated would write a book with a title like this, and no disclaimer that a book is never a substitute for training at an actual martial art school.
Maybe there is a good reason this book is out of print.
Michael de Pasquale, Jr. is the son of Michael de Pasquale Sr., Grandmaster of the Yoshitsune Waza style of Ju-Jitsu. Michael de Pasquale Jr. began his of study of the martial arts when he was five years old, and presently holds the coveted rank of Ni Dai Soke (Heir to the rank of Grandmaster).
During his career in the martial arts Michael de Pasquale Jr. has accomplished numerous achievements such as:
– Named “Martial Arts Star of the Year” by Official Karate Magazine 1977.
– Creator of the largest martial arts Internet site: Martial Arts Worldwide Network (www.mawn.net).
– Developed his own self-defense style, De Pasquale Combat Ju-Jitsu.
– Publisher/Editor of “Karate International Magazine.”
– Founder of “Federation of United Martial Artists” (FUMA)- crusade against crime and drugs.
– President of the “International Federation of Ju Jitsuans” (I.F.O.J.J.).
– Completed and certified by the FBI Instructors’ program.