Book Review - Excursions In Iron Palm

Discussion in 'MartialTalk Magazine Articles' started by mib2112, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. mib2112

    mib2112 Yellow Belt

    Aug 7, 2007
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    Book Review

    Excursions In Iron Palm
    Written by Josh Walker
    ISBN-10: 1456404938
    ISBN-13: 978-1456404932

    Page Count 111

    At $45 and only 111 pages, this book should come packed with information, crystal clear diagrams, gold plating, and some magic beans.

    Sadly it only comes with one of those.

    While it does come with a lot of information, very useful information, I am not certain I can really say it’s worth $45. Let’s get into the meat of the review, and get the bad stuff out of the way first.

    The diagrams at the beginning of the book are very rough. Very poorly compressed picture format wise. For a good example of this, look at this.

    This is the worst on the Five Elements Chart, it is barely readable. The charts showing the Kidney and Spleen pathologies stuffer less from it, and are actually readable.

    The pictures of people are blurry, and pretty pixelated as well.

    Some sections of the book really need more detail. Why list a section on Vibrating Palm training, if the extent of the information is to just contact another group for more information.

    The section about Vibrating Palm is only two paragraphs. If you want to discuss other styles / schools of Iron Palm training, it would be better, in my opinion, to make a section titled Other Styles and include it as a subsection. Adding Vibrating Palm by itself to the table of contents is almost misleading in making it sound like you have a whole chapter devoted to it.

    Early in the book references are made to various laws, Pavlovs Dog. The only issue is there occasionally no definition of what these laws are.

    I am going to quote a section of the book here. “In this case, physical neural changes alter the actual structure of the brain to produce increased mental acuity. This works psychologically as well, Pavlov’s Dog being the most famous example.”

    Now, the section of the book that this is from is discussing how repeated stressed will build up a toughness or a resistance, but for the love of God, give us the description of Pavlov’s Dog, even as a foot note. The way it is now just makes me wonder what Pavlov did to his poor dog, and why couldn’t he name the dog.

    Good stuff:

    Chinese Herbs along with the common names for the herbs is very helpful. Descriptions of what the various herbs do is very helpful when it appears in the book, so people new to Chinese herbalism can get an idea of why this particular herb is being used. I wish the author had put more descriptions like this into the book.

    The recipe sections are wonderful, very detailed and greatly appreciated.

    The book could use a couple of references to some books on Chinese Herbs, in the Other Sources of Information section.

    I could see this book retailing for the suggest retail price if it came with some extras, such as one or two of the Vinyl lined Iron Palm bags that Plum Dragon sells.

    Why not include a section on training Iron Leg or Iron Arm as well, they are equally important in martial arts, and use many of the same techniques and medicines to heal.

    If the price point is so high because of production costs, see about having YMAA publish the book, as it would in theory lower the cost, and make the book open to a much larger audience.

    The section on how to set up a break, and the various block materials is very nice, discussing in detail about how temperatures and shipping can cause even two blocks of the same stone type to have radically different strengths. Also covered are ways to work on building up to stronger breaks, such as using paper on top of the blocks to help focus your, power would be misleading word here, how about.. vibrations? The energy to break the blocks,.

    Over all I like this book, for a first edition. It has some rough spots, that once smoothed out, will make it a valuable addition to the martial artists library. Hopefully the price can come down a bit also, as the high selling point makes it a major purchase for most martial artists I know. If it were $20 I could see it almost as an impulse buy. Or maybe my day job pays me too much for me to consider $20 an impulse buy...

    I know it seems like I may have nit picked a bit, and didn’t point out a whole lot of flaws, but with a book that’s only 100 some odd pages, a few flaws can add up quickly. For being possibly the first book on this subject, it's a great work, and hopefully other books will be able to build on the solid foundation laid by Mr. Walker.
  2. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Aug 4, 2001
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    Land of the Free
    Thank you for the review.

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