I will take a wild guess here and say that most of my readers have a least a small library of books in the field of martial arts and related subjects. As a kid I particularly liked those that featured many techniques and forms in detailed pictures, as well as those with cool pseudo-historical anecdotes about the origins of the styles presented. Later, as I was growing up and (hopefully) maturing on my path, my focus shifted to training methods and principles behind training systems.
Today’s post is review of a superb work that highlights the foundational meta-principles behind any combative training approach aimed at developing the real world civilian fighting prowess. And what a piece of work it is! I had stumbled into the name of author Varg Freeborn quite recently, through the Conflict Research Group’s page, and one of his interviews hit a chord with me, so I then took a closer look at his own website, and finally ordered the book.
Well, the book “Violence of Mind” belongs to the category of paradigm shifting, game changing pieces (or packages) of information you occasionally run into. The author has a rather unique biography that provides him with some “privileged” insights, and I am certainly glad he chose to share those with the general public. Freeborn’s intimate knowledge of violence lead him to formulating a robust method of preparation for those life events we all (well, the sane ones) hope to never have to deal with.
From the very start it is clear that the book fills some of the large gaps that most other instructors either neglect or are even ignorant about. I got my money’s worth just from either of the chapters on Mission, Orientation or Conditioning, and there are still few others that will make you take a deep and honest look at your training and reassess how it is conducted. For example, how often and how in depth do you consider legalities of the possible application of the material you work on during your training sessions? Or, how about the standards and validation of what is done in those sessions?
|...and his legacy.|
Although his writing comes predominantly from the perspective of firearms training and use, the principles are readily applied to any other domain of practical preparation for self-preservation. Another aspect that I liked immensely is that although the goal of the book is to be critical of the current widespread self-preservation training practices, the author manages at the same time to clearly exude the good-meaning attitude behind it, i.e. it is obvious that his intent is to help the readers adjust their training to the demands of reality, and not self-aggrandizing through mockery of others.
In conclusion, if your involvement in martial arts and general fighting stuff is in any way inclined towards the real world management, beyond recreational practice and sportive applications, you owe it to yourself to get this book and read it…repeatedly!