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Reviews of the book:
From The Journal of Asian Martial Arts
Review by T. G. LaFredo, B.S.
Buffalo State College
T.G. LaFredo, B.S., holds degrees in English and criminology. In 1998 he began his martial studies, which proved invaluable during his years in law enforcement. T.G. is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. He is copy editor of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.
One might expect to open a martial arts book and find references to Funakoshi and Laozi. Discovering these alongside quotes from Jung, Emerson, and Martin Luther King, Jr., however, might come as some surprise. Indeed, it doesn't take long to see that Ki Inspiring Thoughts is not a typical martial arts book. There are no kata diagrams; there is no discussion of the technical nuances of a straight punch. Steven M. Erickson, M.D., seems satisfied that any good teacher can take students through those moves. His focus, instead, concerns traditional martial values, ones that teach students to "live according to a strict moral and ethical code deeply rooted in the physical, spiritual and philosophical practice of the martial arts."
In addressing these values, Dr. Erickson combines a survey of martial tenets with history, Zen fables, and first-person accounts. He delivers it all with balance, integrity and conviction - just the qualities he hopes to foster in young martial artists.
And this part about young martial artists is probably the key. There is substance here for practitioners at any level, but Dr. Erickson's subtitle, Developing a Generation of Honorable Warriors, suggests the book's target audience. Simplified definitions of ki (qi) or yin and yang may be tiresome for more experienced martial artists - especially if they aren't up for another woman-lifts-motor vehicle story. But place those same martial artists before a class of beginners, and they will likely find new appreciation for Ki Inspiring Thoughts. The book is accurate, concise, and straightforward, never devolving to the psudomystical navel-gazing so common in discussions of martial philosophy.
In his introduction, Dr. Erickson laments the state of American martial training, writing that it has become a business focused on "making money and teaching solely the physical skills of the art." That sounds about right, and it isn't difficult to see martial culture as a microcosm of society as a whole. Teaching aspiring martial artists the importance of discerning, honor, and loyalty may not change this. Showing them that the details do in fact matter may not be the cure. But it is a worthy battle.
Instructors, students and parents will appreciate Ki Inspiring Thoughts. It is an ideal primer for new practitioners of any martial art.
“Earn your own black belt 4 life by reading - and applying - the timeless principles provided in this wonderful book. With a black belt in Tang Soo Do, the author doesn't just "walk the talk" - he RUNS it. There are many thought-provoking stories, quotes, and ideas presented, and, as such, I plan to keep the book on my desk to thumb through again and again for daily inspiration and personal excellence.”
James Afremow, PhD, Sports Psychologist
Author of Lengthen Your Line: The 5 Cs for Exceptional Performance in the Game of Life
“Dr. Steven M. Erickson does a masterful job of presenting sage teachings of the martial arts, inviting us to be aware and to see the value of applying them throughout our daily lives. The wisdom packed in Ki Inspiring Thoughts will help light your way.”
Herbert Sendek, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Arizona State University
Author of Gen Y Now: How Generation Y Changes Your Workplace and Why It Requires a New Leadership Style
“Ki Inspiring Thoughts is a must read for anyone who seeks to find truth, peace and joy in their lives. With a unique blend of ancient wisdom, Zen stories, and deep insights gained from years of practicing and teaching martial arts, Steve Erickson guides his readers to intuit powerful lessons that address core issues we all face. I found it to be comforting, inspiring, enlightening — and particularly relevant to dealing with the uncertainty and anxiety that comes in today’s time of massive change. It’s a beautiful compilation that I will read again and again and probably learn something new from every time.”
Diane M. Bolden, Founder/President
Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting
Author of The Pinocchio Principle – Becoming the Leader You were Born to Be
Although I am not a fan of books that describe scenes in life, I was drawn to Steve’s ability to allow me in to those life scenes and permitted me to apply myself in the vignettes. I found myself constantly referring to his information and drawing on parallel situations that I had lived or witnessed. When life takes me out of my routine, I am now more cognizant of finding my inner center to deal with the challenge in front of me.
While most readers may find this book to be a “niche” publication, I highly recommend it to readers that want to learn, apply and secure a more confident presence within themselves and others around them.
Too often, in the hustle and bustle of 21st century life, we forget that how we live is manageable if we only take to time to understand how others that came before us lived their lives.Steve pointed out how many great leaders and people handled themselves without the benefit of 21st century technology or information.
Ki Inspirational Thoughts is not a book to read and set up on a book shelf, rather it should be used as a map to help navigate though life until one reaches his or hers final resting place!
Mark A. Letendre, ATC
Director Of Umpire Medical Services
Office of the Commisssioner
Major League Baseball