Quotations For Martial Artists, By John David Moore

In Quotations for Martial Artists, John Moore has compiled a strangely random and inconsistent collection of quotes whose relevance to the martial arts is at times rather tenuous. His sources range from aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba (who is disproportionately represented in this book) to basketball star Charles Barkley, to the nineteenth century French novelist Honore de Balzac--and that's just on the first page of the book.

The quotations are divided into categories broadly reflective of various martial arts principles. Examples include Character, Defense, Leadership, Perseverance, and Wisdom. Aside from this effort at organization, the book is surprisingly poorly edited. Some quotations are repeated within pages of each other, sources' names are spelled differently from one appearance to the next, and typographical errors abound.

Interesting juxtapositions demonstrate that thinkers from vastly different backgrounds have arrived at similar insights. In the section on Teaching, for instance, the reader finds similar observations by the sixteenth century astronomer Galileo Galilei ("You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself") and the Lebanese-American self-styled mystic Khalil Gibran ("The teacher, if indeed wise, does not bid you to enter the house of their wisdom, but leads you to the threshold of your own mind"). Unfortunately, Gibran's name is misspelled. More unfortunately, the book does not provide the titles or any other descriptive information about the sources of its quotes, suggesting the book attaches equal authority to the words of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, rock 'n' roll singer Elvis Presley, and hair care mogul Vidal Sassoon.

These criticisms aside, to at least a limited extent the book does serve its presumably intended purpose: To provide writers, speakers and teachers with the odd pithy quote to illustrate an argument or a lesson.