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 "Martial Arts Book Review: Hard Won Wisdom From the..." 
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Post "Martial Arts Book Review: Hard Won Wisdom From the..."
Martial Arts Book Review: Hard Won Wisdom From the School of Hard Knocks by Alain Burrese
by: Shawn Kovacich

Being the author of several books on the martial arts and fighting, I am always looking for books of exceptional quality to add to my library. If I have a book in my library, it's definitely worth owning. One such book is Alain Burrese's, "Hard Won Wisdom from the School of Hard Knocks." I had purchased Alain's book several years ago when I had just caught the tail end of one of his seminars on Hapkido. I took the book home and read it a few days later.

Boy was I impressed! Not so much by the book itself, as I was by the author. Alain's grasp of the philosophical aspects of the "war stories" that he recounts shows a remarkable insight into the various situations that we seem to put ourselves in, never once thinking of the possible consequences that could transpire because of our lack of foresight.

Some of the major points that I got out of Alain’s book are as follows.

The lessons that Alain teaches the reader are from his own personal experiences and, liked I stated in the previous paragraph, show a remarkable insight into how doing a couple of small easy things can keep you out of a lot of the trouble that you could easily find yourself in.

Alain has a good solid section covering the use of your hands, elbows, and knees as personal striking weapons to use against an opponent. This is more of a principle based teaching and less of a “How To” section. I have seen way too many books that spent a lot of time on the “How To” sections, but then little to nothing at all on the principles behind the techniques. This is definitely not the case with Alain’s book.

The one section that I was looking forward to was, in my opinion, a little too brief. Although I am sure that this is primarily because my particular field of expertise just so happens to be the section in question. This is Alain’s brief section devoted to kicking. Now although a lot of what Alain has to say on the subject I happen to agree with, there are other things that, shall I say, we share a difference of opinion.

Alain then follows up with a section on going to the ground during a fight, and the possible ramifications of what could happen once this occurs. One point that everyone should agree on, is the fact that no matter how hard you try not to, there is a 90% plus chance that if a physical confrontation lasts much more than a few seconds it will probably end up on the ground. A place you definitely don’t want to be in a self-defense situation. In my opinion, it is best to do whatever you can in order to not end up on the ground, and if you do how to quickly get back up on your feet again.

The next section gives you a brief but informative overview of training methods and fitness routines that you can and should implement in order to not only improve your fighting technique, but also to keep you in shape for normal day-to-day activities.

One section that Alain included in his book that I can’t recall ever seeing in any other books is a section dealing with women. Now you can tell by reading this section that Alain is by his very nature the knight on a white horse racing to save the damsel in distress. I find this to be a very chivalrous attitude and one that seems to be sorely lacking in today’s society. However, having said that, I would like to ask the following question, “Who is to blame for this prevalent modern attitude, the man, or the woman?” I will leave it up to the individual to decide.

They say that hindsight is 20/20, and I happen to agree. However, if you would like to have 20/20 foresight, do the following.

1. Purchase this book

2. Sit down with this book, a notepad, and a pen.

3. Make three columns on the notepad. Mark one "Mistakes," “Options,” and the other "End It."

4. As you read this book, write down the “Mistakes” that were made in each recounted story.

5. Then write down other “Options” that could be used to avoid each situation.

6. And finally, if unavoidable, what other things could have been done to “End It.”

7. After you have done this and have had the time to thoroughly digest it, sit down and write a letter to Alain thanking him for the wonderful book that you just had the opportunity to learn from. I did!

Alain Burrese is not only a black belt in the Korean art of Hapkido, but he is also an attorney and motivatonal speaker. Alain served his country proudly and with distinction in the military as a sniper stationed in Korea. Alain is not only the author of this book, but also the featured instructor in several martial arts and self-defense instructional videos.

Alain can be reached via his web site at:

About The Author
Shawn Kovacich has been practicing the martial arts for over 25 years and currently holds the rank of 4th degree (Yodan) black belt in both Karate and Tae Kwon Do. Shawn has also competed in such prestigious full-contact bare knuckle karate competitions as the Shidokan Open and the Sabaki Challenge, among others. In addition to his many accomplishments, Shawn is also a two time world record holder for endurance high kicking as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Shawn is the author of the highly acclaimed Achieving Kicking Excellence™ series and can be reached via his web site at:

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[Note: Due to a size limitation, the title, above, had to be abbreviated. Apologies to the author and - Admin]
This article was posted by permission.

Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:30 pm
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