Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review of Waking Dragons by Boran Powell

Waking Dragons: A Martial Artist Faces His Ultimate TestWaking Dragons: A Martial Artist Faces His Ultimate Test by Goran Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book at the right time.

My friends and I were working out preparing for a week of activities in Hawaii. Snorkeling, jet skiing, hiking, swimming...doesn't sound like much, but since we work and live a mostly sedentary life like ours, we'd only last a few minutes at each activity if we didn't shape up. So we started watching our calories and working out mornings and evenings. I started out with swimming a mile a week and worked my way up to four miles a week. We started losing pounds, slimming down, and getting physically fit. We even watched Rocky 1-6.

Waking Dragons is an autobiographical account of a regular guy living a modern life with job and family--the only thing is he's a passionate martial artist. The tale begins with his childhood judo romps and follows him from one martial arts school to another. He accumulates knowledge and trains his body over time, and the story culminates in a 30-man kumite where he has to fight 30 people, one every minute.

As I was reading this book, I related to it on two levels. First, I love martial arts, too. Although I haven't pursued it as seriously, I know what it's like to search for the nearest karate dojo or kung fu teacher everywhere I go and to try one school and then another, learning something new from each teacher and martial arts style. This passion and habit has made all the difference in my life. Second, since I was on this Hawaii fitness program with my friends, I was inspired by Powell's efforts planning his fitness and diet program, balancing the demands of life/work and fitness, and pushing against that wall while working out.

That said, I wonder how well a non-martial artist would relate to this book. I'm thinking if you're one of those readers who's into books about interpersonal relationships or romantic dramas or occult intrigue, this is probably not the book for you. However, if you're looking for a companion on your own journey towards fitness or someone who's experienced and pursued martial arts training, this book is one of the best martial arts literature out there.

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