Winner of the Somerset Maugham and William Hill Sports Book of the Year Awards To be reissued with a new paperback cover treatment Paperback edition has already been reprinted nine times 'A frantic, very funny, urban quest' Simon Garfield, Mail on Sunday 'A book of unexpected brilliance...subtle, funny, stimulating and original' Patrick French
Robert Twigger won the Newdigate prize for poetry in 1985. He is the author of Angry White Pyjamas, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award and the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, Big Snake, The Extinction Club, Being a Man and Voyageur.
The most intriguing sports book ever to win the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award * Daily Mail * Twigger vividly captures the wince-inducing physical and emotional trails endured by those who would wear the black belt. But he also offers a rare insight in aikido's peculiarly Darwinian group dynamic and how it fits into modern Japanese society. After this marvellously insightful account I will snigger no more at Steven Segal's po-faced chop-sockey -- Ben Farrington * Literary Review * Communicates the existential purity of his elective regime with irrepressible passion ... it also has the unmistakable stamp of authentic experience * Daily Telegraph * Poetry in motion -- Sue Townsend * Sunday Times * Wonderfully oddball ... Here is a cult book all right, which could do for Japan and the martial arts what Hornby did for Highbury and the football terraces -- Frank Keating * Guardian * Brilliant ... everyone should read it -- Tony Parsons * Late Review * His explanation of how to come to terms with intense pain should be read to every footballer who has ever writhed about in agony after a kick on the shin... It is a clever, enthralling book -- Ian Wooldridge * Daily Mail * This is a splendidly written adventure, something sane at last on the craziness of martial arts * Independent on Sunday * A rattling good yarn and very funny into the bargain -- Tim Hulse * Independent on Sunday * His fine eye for eccentricities makes this an entertaining travelogue * The Observer * A book of unexpected brilliance. It is subtle, funny, stimulating and original - a rites-of-passage story, an explanation of an alien culture, and an inspiring work of philosophy -- Patrick French A frantic, very funny, urban quest. -- Simon Garfield * Mail on Sunday *