Book Review: Fighting Science

I was recently recommended a book called Fighting Science by Martina Sprague. The premise behind the book sounded interesting and useful so I gave it a read.

Fighting Science teaches you what you need to know to successfully apply the laws of physics to your technique in the martial arts. As we all know, size and strength only take you so far, especially for someone my size.

In her book, Sprague gives a solid overview of strategic concepts that allow you to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses and maximize your strengths. She provides a detailed look at how things like momentum, rotational speed, friction, direction, impulse, and conservation of energy can work for or against you.

Even if you’re not a science whiz, Fighting Science will help. Sprague breaks down each idea to make it easier to understand, giving hundreds of different practical applications for stances, striking, kicking, defenses, footwork, movement, throws, takedowns, and grappling.

As I read this book, I found myself nodding to almost every idea, “Yep, I teach that too.” I like the way Sprague explains certain concepts. I will likely borrow from her book when I try to verbalize the same ideas to my students. This book is a great learning tool for new instructors and a great review/ refresher tool for people who have been teaching awhile.

As for lower level students, it may be exciting to read about all these concepts, but ultimately, you have to put in long hours of mat time before many of these ideas sink into your training. But in the meantime, this book is a useful tool that will help you recognize what you need to develop to improve your technique in the long run.

Comments (3)

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Fighting Science

  1. I will second this review and the comments you made. This book is a very solid book and without a descent amount of work already put into the arts what Sprague says would probably be missed by most. There is no need for beginners of the arts to focus on things written about in this book. That would just garble the mind. This is icing on the cake, not the cake itself!

    Good post and keep up the good work on the blog!
    Yours in the Martial Arts,

  2. I’m usually a bit wary when it comes to books that try to explain martial arts in terms of physics. All of the ones that I’ve seen so far, in particular “Martial Mechanics” by Phillip Starr, are horrible! The authors attempt to explain the underlying physics behind various techniques when in fact they don’t understand basic physics concept like Newton’s Laws, moments of inertia, and conservation of momentum.

    That being said, I probably will end up checking this book out eventually.


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