October 11, 2015

Book Review: Chanpuru - Reflections and Lessons From the Dojo

   Gary Parker's personal memoir "Chanpuru: Reflections and Lessons from the Dojo" is one of Tambuli Media's latest releases, expanding the companies repertoire above and beyond just martial art instructional books.  A wonderful recounting of a young man's journey through traditional Okinawan Karate-do. 

   I sometimes find it easier to describe something via what it is NOT rather than what it is.  Parker Sensei's book does not recount his multitude of street fights on the hard streets of Japan (there are none).  If you are looking for a minute by minute description of his preparation for an MMA fight that will make or break his career... not the book for you.  Incredibly there are a number of common themes obviously absent from Parkers memoir of his training in Okinawa and life after moving back to Georgia, and via these 'voids' if you will is where we get a glimpse of the true martial arts that 99% of us everyday practitioners experience.  

   I found Gary Parker's book a refreshing change from the majority of martial arts (read: MMA) reads out there.  I have a hard time relating to a cage fighter, some bouncer whom has worked the door of London's seedy underground, or the military mercenary who had to use his hand to hand skills in Afghanistan.  But I instantly relate to hours of arduous training, dealing with culture shock under Asian teachers, and the struggle with balancing everyday life when dedicated to training the martial arts.  Minus a handful of editorial hiccups Gary Parker summarizes just such a life perfectly. 

   Trained in Okinawa and then moving back to Georgia, Parker offers insight he has gleamed over the years as a traditional sensei writing about lessons that we quickly forget while training to be unarmed 'killers.'  But how often do we discuss how martial arts have helped our tempers, mental focus, fortitude to endure tragedy and pain?  The day to day lessons of the martial arts often get whitewashed with testosterone laden bravado. 

   "Chanpuru" is a perfect book to snuggle up next to the fire with and reflect on life with a glass of wine or coffee.  A perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays coming up, click here to order Chanpuru and to peruse Tambuli Media's vast book selection. 
  
  

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