Actually I am not sure how many words for coconut there are in the Phillipines. With all the languages, dialects and sub-dialects in the PI there must be at least 88. Where am I leading too? If you read around the web you will find some respectable criticisms concerning this book and Mark Wiley, maybe even Wileys ancestry. Mostly this is concerned with the "origin" theories for the Filipino Martial Arts. I think some slack could be given here as, you guessed it, "there are 88 words for coconut in the PI!" Much of the history in the early and mid ages concerning the PI(Phillipine Islands) was oral history, the chain of which has long since died out. Anyways, when looking through the internet and bookstores at all the flakey-bakey, wavey gravey type books out there dealing with Martial Arts in general I have to say this book is a refreshing and educated effort. The first half of the book deals with the physical spiritual and mental aspects of the FMA. There is a history and a close look at the role played in the Independence of the PI by escrimadors, Kalistas and Arnisadors. I found the real strength of the book to lie in the interviews with the Masters at the end of the book. I also find it very telling that many of the martial arts today which have little if any relevance in the street as self defence, hold as their heroes poets, bhuddist priests and assorted high minded ilk. Nothing wrong with this butwhereas in the FMA the heroes are cops, security guards, humble soldiers and in some cases out and out streetfighters, who were ready to accept a challenge at a moments notice and fight any and all who dared to question their skill with the hands, stick or knife. Their skills and legacy come to us today in most cases without the ritual and high philosophical thought as baggage as some of the previously hinted at Martial Arts do. This leaves us today with a very effective and unique martial art. As some people say, Kali is complete, but never Finished, so too should the reader be aware that this book offers one of literally hundreds of explanations as to the origins and what constitues FMA. In light of the criticism levelled against it, in fairness it should also be noted that before this book was written, there were only a handful of books covering this knotty topic. Since Guro Mark Wileys effort has been published and raised such a stink, other such books have made their appearance and voiced their credentials and thoughts to the world. At the time it was easily the best researched and most educated attempt at it's subject matter. It is easy to see that for many in this field of study it was a spur to publish more writings. While I do not agree with all of the ideas and concepts espoused in this book, as an FMA instructor and avid martilist I must say I encourage my students to read this book. You could do much much worse time investments in martial arts books.
Mark Wiley's thorough examination of the ancient and modern Filipino martial culture is ground breaking, exemplary, and extremely well researched (there are 175 books referenced in the bibliography). My wife is Filipino so I've had a long time fascination with the martial culture of that archipelago, but had difficulty finding English-language texts to study prior to discovering this outstanding work. This book covers all aspects of those arts. It is well written and very informative, covering the martial history of the Philippines, the ethos and worldview of the Filipino warrior, structure, rites, and symbols of the indigenous martial arts, typology of weapons, and more. Eighteen masters of the Filipino arts are interviewed, covering arnis, escrima, kali, and a variety of lesser-known arts (e.g., hagibis, sikaran, sagasa, and kuntaw lima-lima). There are some great pictures as well. In 1521 Filipino natives killed the famous explorer Magellan. Learn about the fighting spirit, weapons, and tactics of these fierce warriors, ancient and modern.
Author of 'The Way of Kata' and 'Martial Arts Instruction'