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Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence
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Product Description

Veteran correction officer Sergeant Rory Miller distills what he has learned from jail house brawls, tactical operations and ambushes to explore the differences between martial arts and the subject martial arts were designed to deal with: Violence. Miller explores the complexity of violence, critical thinking, and the mind of the predator. He offers martial arts training guidance and resources, discusses how to overcome personal fears, and how to deal with the aftermath of violent encounters.

Customer Reviews:

  • A Martial Study
    Sgt Rory Miller was an unknown quantity to me before I read this. He was spoken of very highly on the Uechi Eastern Arts forum, and this volume has made big waves in that community. Meditations on Violence lives up to its name. It is a deep look into interpersonal violence: what causes it, what forms it takes, the perpetrator's motivations, and the means of surviving it. It is a challenge to the martial arts world: to stop living a fantasy: find out what works, and teach it.

    Violence is a topic most people are uncomfortable with. Just having this book on your desk at work is enough to get raised eyebrows, stares, and/or a quickening pace from passing co-workers. The author, on the other hand, is very comfortable with this subject. He categorizes violence, separating it into several fields, a few of which he excels in. When violence happens, and you are on the receiving end, it is a safe bet that your attacker has planned this out in their mind, in advance, and you are already three steps behind in the equation. You are behind the curve.

    If you claim to teach self defense; if you wear a black belt; if you are a martial artist; at the end of the day, you are a Priest of Mars: a person who is supposed to be able to survive, even excel when things get physical, and show others the way. He offers a plethora of training strategies to increase the survivability of martial artists.

    Sgt Miller will not teach you `secret' techniques or how to finish a fight. He might teach you how to stop one before it starts; how a criminal selects their victim; what it feels like to be subjected to a planned attack you never saw coming; and how to (mostly) avoid walking into one. He'll teach you what criminals are like (he's around them every day). He'll teach you about things you may not have heard of before: the OODA loop, Hick's Law, the `Go Button,' the Golden Rule of Combat, and knowing the difference between strategy, tactics, and techniques. He also addresses fear: fear of getting hit, fear of hurting others, and the fear of dying.

    The fear of human violence is a powerful force in many lives. One of the most valuable contributions this book can give you is the permission to do whatever it takes to survive a life-and-death encounter. This may sound campy to some, but a large number of people don't feel they have the right to harm or end a human life in defense of their own. Giving someone permission, even symbolically, can empower them to change the way they react to the world.

    The author has seen a lot of stuff I hope I never do. As a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, and as a martial artist, I am a Priest of Mars. I am also a medic, and I have seen the aftermath of some of the kinds of violence he lived through. Sgt Miller has performed a great service in bringing this information to light. Along the way, he bared his soul. That takes an awe-inspiring level of courage and self-awareness.

    Thank you, Sgt Miller.

    (A note on the construction and editing: the book itself is well-made. The cover conveys the material accurately, the binding is solid, the photos are clear, and the paper is suitable for its purpose. The editor missed only one spelling error that I noted, likely a simple typo. On the other hand I found four juxtaposed words dispersed throughout the text. This did not detract from the material, but it was enough to blink for a second and wonder what the author was trying to convey.) ...more info
  • Fantastic Book


    Meditations on Violence is a collection of thoughts, observations, and insights from Miller's years of martial arts training and exposure to real violence and real criminals. It's a short text, coming it at under 200 pages, but those 200 pages are packed with good information on a wide variety of topics, including the criminal mind, the complexities of real world violence, ideas about training methods and the aftermath of violence. All of it is information that is valuable for anyone who is interested in, or concerned about, self-defense. I absolutely loved the chapter on "how to think", in which Miller does a fantastic job of laying out how to scratch your own mental programming and really examine not only what you believe, but why you believe it.

    Miller has a very calm, introspective, but casual writing style. I really enjoy it--it almost feels like I'm sitting around having a conversation with him, instead of reading words on a page. He uses a lot of stories and analogies to help illustrate his examples, which resonates with my own learning style, and I think makes things a lot more memorable. It also helps that he frequently can attach a personal experience to his ideas, which lends a lot of credibility to his thoughts and concepts.

    He does not present himself as a know-it-all; indeed, he makes it quite clear that there's a lot he doesn't know (including how to ride a motorcycle, I think). It doesn't matter. The best thing that this book does is that it makes you think. It will force you to really, really, examine your training. It may even make you examine your lifestyle. For me, it has done both. If nothing else, I'll look at the bibliographies of books a lot more than I used to.

    This is not a book of techniques--someone looking for another wrist-lock variation or a different take on how to throw a punch may not get much out of this. Someone looking to enhance their safety and survivability will find it invaluable.

    I do not, as of yet, have a "required reading" list for my students, but the day I put one together, this will unquestionably be on it.
    ...more info
  • A very useful exploration of some of the myths of violence
    I had the opportunity of watching a presentation the author gave on how police are trained to handle potentially violent situations while balancing competing needs. I found him to be a compelling speaker, so when I found he had a book out, I bought a copy. It is a quick read and packed with useful information and interesting insights. In fact, I would recommend this book most highly because so much of it comes from the author's personal experience-- as he says in the introduction: "This book is about violence, especially about the difference between violence as it exists 'in the wild' and violence as it is taught in martial arts classes and absorbed through our culture."

    I found his book to be engaging and thoughtful. He explores the difference between the structured violence of sport and the wild violence of an ambush as well as talking about the effects of both short-term and long-term exposure to violence. I really appreciated that the author seemed to stick to what he personally knows--whenever he would touch on aspects of violence where he did not have first-hand knowledge he was up front about it....more info
  • I really can't say enough - great book.
    If you train and practice in any system for a SD situation, you should read this book. I found it extremely helpful with many, many tips that can be applied to whatever you train.

    Buy it for yourself, then lend it to the training partners you like. Let the guys you train with that you don't like figure it out for themselves....more info
  • Experience +Traning = A Great Book
    Sgt. Rory Miller has accomplished an outstanding feat of education and instruction. Excellent job, Miller....more info
  • For those who know everything, those who know nothing, and everyone inbetween.
    I love this book! It's a "must read" for anyone who has ever wanted to know anything about self-defense or the psychology of violence. Really. Miller does such a great job exemplifying the book's concepts with his own real-life experiences. It taught me more about what to expect than what to do, although he covers both. No matter how much fighting or defense skills one has so far, most of us have very little real experience with the psychology of malicious intent or violence. And without awareness of this facet, one can be paralyzed by fear and denial in the moment that action counts most. It's not just for the martial artist or self-defense instructor. It's for everyone. Everyone. Learn from someone else's experience in violence so that you can avoid your own. Information never hurts more than it helps--so READ IT! How's that line go again...oh yes, "Knowing is half the battle." ...more info
  • Read this book now
    If you are interested in Reality Training then read this book.

    I read and watch a lot of anything connected to martial arts.

    I am very interested in teaching a method that might help my students protect themselves or others.

    I am only saying this so that you readers know I have read and seen a lot of material to compare Sgt. Rory Miller's book "Mediations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" to.

    Trust me this book is solid gold.

    This book is a gleaming gem for any martial artist who wants to present honest real training.

    Not only is the material solid gold but I must commend Rory on the excellent writing and editing. The book reads well and flows from one topic to the next with ease. A quality piece of writing.

    The book gives you a lot to think about and hopefully will make you run back to the drawing board to either make sure what you are doing and teaching is where you want it or it will help get you there. I know that is where I am going.

    Careful reading though many cold buckets of water will be tossed your way.
    ...more info
  • Miller's incites into violent conflict and the criminal mind could save your life
    Miller's Meditations on Violence could easily be considered required reading for anyone serious about protecting themselves from violence. It doesn't matter if you are LEO, military, a martial artist or just wanting to learn to defense yourself this book is worth reading.
    Anyone in those communities could benefit from the information presented within.
    It doesn't show dozens of techniques or go on and on with stories about fighting, it breaks down the real threat you; Violence.

    The unique aspect of reading this book is in the manner the material is presented. First and foremost the author reminds you that they DO NOT have all the answers. There are many stories of actual incidents as backup but much of the material is not based in theory but factual observational data about the nature of VIOLENCE and those who utilize it.

    It takes you through the beginning states of it and how to distinguish between a Macho situation (the "Monkey Dance") and the violence level of a sociopath intent on causing harm.

    It asks you to objectively analyze your training and compare it to the potential situations you can find yourself in.
    Is it taking a drunk out of a bar or fighting for your life against an armed thug?

    It takes you through the physical (chemical adrenaline affects) and psychological (emotional after affects) of a violent confrontation.

    It shows you the mind of the violent sociopathic THREAT you imagine you may be training against, so you can realize just how dangerous such people are.

    The end section of the book takes you through improving your own drills and training methodology to deal with the unpredictable and dangerous nature of a potentially deadly street fight.

    The book ends a note about which touches on the way violence changes human lives and how to deal with it.

    No matter your style, experience level, or job training, IF YOU ARE SERIOUS about protecting yourself I advise you to read this book. It holds information valuable for LEO, martial artists, instructors and even victims of violence itself.

    I personally found the section on how to deal with the victims of violence to be a true gem I have rarely, if ever, seen in a civilian book on self defense. As someone who has taught martial arts to others, I found the information invaluable in improving the way I teach.

    If I could sum it up, I would say the following:

    This a timeless book on unbiased and effective self defense....more info
  • Excellent book recommended for anyone interested in the martial arts, or wanting to improve their LEO training
    This is an outstanding book. Buy it, read it, learn from it. There is a lot to be gleaned from the author's experiences- this book gives you that opportunity. Whether you are a martial artist, law enforcement professional or just someone interested in the subject and wanting a good read, this book has something for you. There is a lot more to violent confrontation than just the physical act of doing harm or protecting yourself and the author outlines this with clarity, drawing from years of experience. That spark of understanding, something that is lacking from many other works on the subject, makes this book stand out from the rest. The author does this in a way that is both readable and comprehensible, without leaving the content shallow or dry. This book should be required reading for anyone entering into the field of law enforcement to "cup-check" their training and to anyone stepping into a dojo. Five stars....more info
  • A very useful exploration of some of the myths of violence
    I had the opportunity of watching a presentation the author gave on how police are trained to handle potentially violent situations while balancing competing needs. I found him to be a compelling speaker, so when I found he had a book out, I bought a copy. It is a quick read and packed with useful information and interesting insights. In fact, I would recommend this book most highly because so much of it comes from the author's personal experience-- as he says in the introduction: "This book is about violence, especially about the difference between violence as it exists 'in the wild' and violence as it is taught in martial arts classes and absorbed through our culture."

    I found his book to be engaging and thoughtful. He explores the difference between the structured violence of sport and the wild violence of an ambush as well as talking about the effects of both short-term and long-term exposure to violence. I really appreciated that the author seemed to stick to what he personally knows--whenever he would touch on aspects of violence where he did not have first-hand knowledge he was up front about it....more info
  • The Reality Of Violence
    As a firearms instructor one of the most difficult tasks I face is cultivating my students' understanding of the ugly realities of personal combat. Sgt. Miller has done an exceptional job of explaining the structured chaos of violent conflicts.
    Anyone familiar with the art of combat will recognize, relate, and learn from this book. Miller's writings will take the individual who is training to defend themselves against the possibility of an attack one step closer to understanding and defeating their foe. For anyone who believes they live in a "safe" world, beyond the reach of bad people, this should be required reading. As Miller states, "You don't get to pick what kinds of bad things will happen to you."
    Meditations On Violence is a book I will highly recommend to both my students and fellow instructors.
    Tiger McKee
    Director, Shootrite Firearms Academy
    Author of "The Book of Two Guns"
    The Book of Two Guns: The Martial Art of the 1911 Pistol and AR Carbine...more info
  • READ THIS BOOK
    Rory Miller offers us a fascinating view into the dark side of violence and the criminal mind. He has a very interesting writing style, and I hope that he writes more. ...more info
  • From a pofessional survivor
    I've been a cop for over 30 years. This book should only by read by those who want to stay alive. Oh, wait - that's all of us.
    Seriously, one of the best books I've ever read. I require my rookies to read this. ...more info
  • Wake up call for many.
    Many reviewers have already said it, but I will confirm that this book needs to be required reading for any martial artist or anyone who thinks they know what to do in a violent confrontation. The author does a great job of explaining that there is not really a right way only that most of what is taught is the wrong way and will get you hurt or killed. The anecdotes are excellent and reiterate that experience is what prepares you for violence even though this is a gross oversimplification. This person has given deep thought into what he has written and has presented it in a way in which the average person can understand. A great mixture of hard facts and excellent experience based knowledge is presented here....more info
  • Do yourself a favor. Read this book.
    As a person who trains in the martial arts and also spends time learning and reading at various martial arts related message boards, I have noticed that when Mr. Miller talks, I and just about everyone else pay very close attention to what he writes. More important than the opinion of a relative beginner like myself, I have noticed that consistently, the men and women on these sites who have decades more experience, also pay close attention to his words. The reason is not only the current and critical personal experience Mr. Miller brings to the table, but also the way he writes in a no-nonsense manner. You will not find a sugar-coated fairy tale loosely conveying the nature of real and brutal violence in this book. So, if that is what you are looking for, do not waste your time reading this well written, and detailed piece. Otherwise do yourself and those around you a favor and read this book. ...more info
  • Illuminating; a True "Must Read"
    At the beginning of this exceptional book is a black and white photograph of a bathroom with a swirl of sticky-looking muck on the floor and a few little droplets splattered across the side of the toilet. Since there is no color it takes a moment to realize what you are looking at, but this mess is clearly human blood, a LOT of human blood. You don't know what happened but it was obviously something awful. A slowly drying pool of blood is not what one might expect to find at the beginning of a typical martial arts book, but then again real-life violence is not a subject that martial artists typically understand or write about.

    Like a pool of blood, violence is a very sobering subject; one that must be treated seriously in order to do any good. Meditations on Violence certainly fits that bill. It is a refreshingly frank, honest, and in-depth assessment that teaches readers how to think critically about the subject, determine how to evaluate sources of knowledge, and understand how to identify strategies and select tactics to deal with violence effectively.

    As a corrections officer and tactical team leader Miller regularly tangles with hard-core predators. He describes his job this way: "I beat people up for a living. I can pretty the phrase up a lot, but in the end I get paid (and paid well) to go into a situation, usually alone and usually outnumbered by sixty or more criminals, and maintain order."

    This is a guy who routinely survives brutal encounters that would leave the average person physically and emotionally shattered. Unlike most martial arts instructors, he has first-hand experience that separates longstanding myths and heroic fantasies from merciless reality. Using interesting personal vignettes backed up by solid research and undisputable logic he conveys this hard-earned wisdom in a highly effective manner. His insights on how to make self-defense work and overcome subconscious resistance to meeting violence with violence could very well save a reader's life one day.

    While the author's no-nonsense tone can be a bit "street" and his examples a bit graphic at times, his psychology degree shines throughout the writing as well. This combination makes for a fascinating read. One of the best features of the book is an informative matrix that addresses various types of violence, demonstrating how they differ from each other and how the lessons from one type may not apply to the needs of another. Other important topics include the dynamics of violence, predator mindset, adapting training to the realities of violence, making physical defense work, and the after-effects a sudden assault or long-term exposure to a violent environment.

    Miller's book is extraordinarily well written. Packed with interesting, informative and, most importantly, useful information, Meditations on Violence should be required reading for all serious martial artists, law enforcement officers, security professionals, and anyone else who might have to deal with violence in some capacity. It is illuminating and very likely lifesaving as well.

    Lawrence Kane
    Author of Surviving Armed Assaults and Martial Arts Instruction; co-author of The Way of Kata, The Way to Black Belt, and The Little Black Book of Violence

    Note: This review originally appeared in the July/August issue of ForeWord Magazine....more info
  • Where training meets reality.
    I picked up this work at a local bookstore without the slightest notion as to its contents. I was extremely satisfied that I did. Ingrained social response, something that humans conform to but often deny the existence of, is a topic that all should put thought into. Sgt. Miller's unique view and diverse background displays both an educated description of violence and first hand accounts of what lies between the 'dojo' training we receive and the reality encountered on the street.
    After reading this book one will not look at the male posturing of a street fight in the same context as exemplified in the "Monkey Dance." This book is a great read especially if you have an interest in social dynamics. ...more info