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Martial Arts Book Reviews -- Best Tai Chi Book Review; Review of Judah Friedlander's Karate Book

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Tai Chi, Angus Clark, 2000

That this book is approaching 20 years old has no effect on the tremendous value that this book could be to anyone interested in the multi-faceted art that is tai chi. From exceptional illustrations and descriptions of body mechanics, to the importance of mobility, to, of course, amazing descriptions and accompanying illustrations of key tai chi postures and sequences. The book has a nice glossary and includes a very effective use of insets to elaborate on key points. Although this may sound cliche, it really is a resource for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. Looks like most copies are available from used sellers…all the better…priceless knowledge for a good price. I actually recommend this book to ANY martial artist and ESPECIALLY to any martial arts instructor. We as instructors really should all be teaching the universal concepts of mobility, movement, appropriate relaxation; and this book can help with that.

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By the way, the author is still very active in movement and wellness. He has a great website at:


I was very impressed with an inset “Learning to Relax.” Being a karate-guy myself, with strength and force being the rule, I was very interested in this section. Teaching someone “how to relax” would be a difficult thing, but not for Angus Clark. I followed what he said, and was very surprised in how just a few short words he could instruct the reader in this critical aspect of tai chi.


“Tai chi is a holistic practice in which the mental component is as important as the physical, and imagination and visualization make an immense difference…”

“To be well based is an essential human requirement. Like uprooted plants, people need a source of energy to tap.”

“Tai chi practice should be alive.”

How to Beat Up Anybody: An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book by the World Champion, Judah Friedlander, 2010

Better known as an award-winning stand-up comic, actor, and star of TV show “30 Rock,” Judah Friedlander has created an amazing parody on the martial arts, karate specifically. Claiming to simply be “The World Champion,” Judah creates a hilarious, very professionally written, well-illustrated, satire that should yank all those martial arts phonies from their high horses back to earth. Quite a different approach to understanding the importance of humility, but it so works!! (Not that that teaching humility was his intent, but we all should learn something from everything, and that was my takeaway)


I couldn’t stop laughing when reading Chapter 10 about how to protect yourself from a home invasion by a ninja. How he came up with such concepts is a mystery to me. He must have had some martial arts training to hone in on some of the esoteric concepts that he satirizes. Regardless, it’s great light reading for adult martial artists.


“I kick him [the bad guy] so hard the entire planet shakes. By the time I land, it’s night.”

“Use your sense of smell to determine which knuckle is on course to hit you first. Remember, every knuckle smells different.”

“When I train at home, I generate so much heat and humidity the pain melts off my walls. The air conditioner is able to cool things down to a nice temperature of 120 degrees.”

Side Note: With such techniques as “The Karate Fart” and a section where he teaches karate to strippers, this book is not for children.

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