Redemption : A Street Fighter's Path to Peace

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FINALIST - Autobiography / Memoirs, 2016 Best Books Award "A British karateka" offers a bone-crushing, lip-splitting, and often elegant memoir of a tough guy searching for higher meaning through the study of martial arts." Kirkus Reviews "In this memoir describing how karate turned his life around, Clarke displays passion and grit in spades." Foreword Reviews Michael Clarke was an angry, vicious kid, a street fighter. He grew up in the late sixties and early seventies in Manchester, England, in a tough neighborhood where, he writes, Prostitutes worked the pavement opposite my home, illegal bookmakers took bets in back alley cellars, and street brawls were commonplace." He left school at fifteenand began his education as a pugilist on the streets. He fought in bars andclubs, at football matches, in parks, and in bus stationsand he was good. He reveledin the victories and the admiration they brought. It was a life of knucklesand teeth, of broken bones and torn fleshand the arrests that followed. Clarkewas seventeen when a judge sentenced him to two years in Strangeways Prison, aninfamous place also known as psychopath central."
In prison he resolved tochange his life and stay out of trouble, but trouble was everywhere. Hediscovered a world of violent gangs, abusive guards, and inmates engaged in anendless struggle for dominance. Strangeways was a place where a person couldget stabbed to death for taking the bigger piece of toast. In time Clarke was released,but the transition was difficult and he almost fought his way back to prison. Thenone night he entered a karate dojo and his life changed forever. He began alifetime pursuit of budo, the martial way. He sought knowledge, studied withmasters, and traveled to Okinawa, the birthplace of karate. Redemption: A Street Fighter's Path toPeace is a true account of youthwasted and life reclaimed. Michael Clarke reminds us that martial arts are notsimply about punching and kicking. They forge the spirit, temper the will, and revealour true nature.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 150 x 231 x 15mm | 390g
  • Rolindale, MA, United States
  • English
  • 1 black & white halftones, 32 colour illustrations
  • 1594393788
  • 9781594393785
  • 659,309

Review quote

A British karateka" offers a bone-crushing, lip-splitting, and often elegant memoir of a tough guy searching for highermeaning through the study of martial arts.As a youth, Clarke was the kind of hard-as-nails teen who was fond of communicating with his fists. He was good at it,and despite his diminutive size, he could be counted on to win most scraps. But when the Irish emigre'srough-and-tumble ways ultimately landed him in the aptly named Strangeways Prison in Manchester, England, herealized that breaking noses and cracking ribs had limited value beyond the strict borders of his hard-pressedneighborhood. The author describes his prison experiences in wonderful, almost lyrical prose that delivers bothpoignancy and punch: During the visits, no physical contact was allowed; there was no chance to feel the warmth ofanother person who was dear to you, not your girlfriend, nor your mother, or even your child if you had one." Sadly,Clarke doesn't linger on this rich material for long before he's deep into his karate chronicles, introducing the numerousschools, teachers, and training techniques he encountered during the late 1970s and early '80s. He discusses variousclashes in great detail, which resulted in a variety of injuries. He also addresses the sensitive politics specific to the worldof karate. What's missing in these sections, however, is the sobering, sure-handed universality that Clarke brings to theportrayal of his earlier days. He makes cursory references to the dissolution of his first marriage and the stresses that hissingle-minded pursuit of karate placed on his personal life, but it's clearly evident that Clarke is much more interested indelving into dojo dynamics than anything else. This approach may shut out a large segment of non-karate enthusiastswho might otherwise have found Clarke's life undeniably fascinating.A compelling story that nevertheless will appeal almost exclusively to karate fans. -- A British karateka" offers a bone-crushing, lip-splitting, and often elegant memoir of a tough guy searching for higher meaning through the study of martial arts. Kirkus Though this book is grounded in karate, the overarching theme of overcoming the past and persevering through adversity is universal.While grit" is considered one of the biggest indicators of someone's potential for success, the question is how to teach people what it is and how to cultivate it. One way would be to hand them a copy of Redemption: A Street Fighter's Path to Peace by Michael Clarke. In this memoir describing how karate turned his life around, Clarke displays passion and grit in spades.Clarke, author of The Art of Hojo Undo and hundreds of articles for martial arts magazines, revisits his early years as a troubled youth in Manchester, England and the first decade of the karate training that lifted him out of a violent existence. With humility and vulnerability, Clarke lays bare the angry past that landed him in prison two days before his eighteenth birthday. Upon his release eight months later he vowed to change his ways and never return, but that was easier said than doneuntil the day he walked into a karate studio and found his passion.This is a revised edition of Clarke's original memoir, Roaring Silence, written in 1985. He has seamlessly melded the original work, sometimes flavored with the naivete of the young thirty-year-old he was back then, with the wisdom that has come with age and hindsight. For example, the memoir ends with a life-changing journey to Okinawa to seek out Morio Higaonna, a karate master featured in a BBC documentary series on martial arts. Clarke believed he could find Higaonna sensei's dojo simply by wandering around and looking for the building he had seen on TV, and then he would ask the master to teach him. All the things that could go wrong with this plan just didn't enter his mind. Ignorance can be a beautiful thing sometimes," he writes.Clarke's writing is characterized by passion and his memoir is full of emotion, from his heart-quickening description of the tension leading up to a difficult conversation with a former teacher to his strong views on how karate has changed, and not necessarily for the better. His passion often turns eloquent when he writes of budo, or authentic karate training: Budo is found in adversity, in the discomfort of the unfamiliar, and is absorbed into your character by the choices you make when all around you is not as you would like it to be. Your mind is where progress is made or lost, and character is developed or allowed to shrink in the face of hardship." -- Christine Canfield, In this memoir describing how karate turned his life around, Clarke displays passion and grit in spades. Foreword Reviews, January 21, 2016 Exceptionally well written and presented, Redemption: A Street Fighter's Path to Peace, is a consistently compelling, intensely personal, and ultimately inspiring memoir. Unreservedly and emphatically recommended for community library biography/memoir collections. -- Able Greenspan, Reviewer for Midwest Book Reviews Book Watch/Greenspan's Bookshelf
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About Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke, Kyoshi eighthdan, Okinawan Goju-ryu, has practiced karate since 1974. He has written overfive hundred articles for international martial arts magazines and authoredfive books. A young street fighter in England who became a disciplined studentof budo in Okinawa, Clarke continues to pursue the tranquility that comes fromthe ecstasy of sweat" associated with the practice of karate. Michael Clarke resides in Tasmania, Australia.
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