Gr 5 UpLike other DK volumes, this book's strong point is its full-color photographs. One or more double-page spreads are dedicated to each major fighting style. Captions provide bits of information about the history of the martial art and what it emphasizes. Most of the book illustrates, with step-by-step photos, how to perform various stances and self-defense techniques. The photos are fairly good, and readers do get a sense of how judo differs from kendo or aikido. For static moves, like stances, the photos teach fairly well. For interactive movements, such as defending yourself against an attacker, the photos are less successful because they don't show motion or details. Though one could memorize a set of movements, only a video or live instructor can show how they flow together. Also, a live instructor is crucial to make sure students learn techniques safely and effectively. Some of these techniques are fairly dangerous and not meant to be used by untrained students. Still, this book provides a good overview of the myriad fighting arts.Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library
David Mitchell is one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists 2003. His first novel, Ghostwritten, won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and his second, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He lives in Herefordshire, England.