Book Review: The Liar, the Cheat and the Thief by Maija Soderholm – Paolo Cariello

The Liar the Cheat and the Thief: Deception and the Art of Sword Play by Maija Soderholm

This book was recommended to me some time back by the sort of people who know how to use their skills to hurt someone, so when they raved how great the book and how great training with Maija was I paid attention. Last week it arrived, it arrived the same week that marked the 10th anniversary of her Teacher Sonny’s passing I took this as a sign.

Within the first I knew I held gold, yes it could have been better but none the less it is brilliant, sue me I have high standards and yes even brilliant can be better I will go into that a little later but for now let’s focus on why it’s brilliant shall we.

One of my teachers used to say practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect and this book gives you the drills to practice at the highest level, it’s not a beginner’s manual it won’t teach you techniques what it will do and do so perfectly is give you a series of drills that will improve your skills specifically in sword fighting but also in other arts as well as other parts of your life.

Maija’s art is originally from the Philippine’s and the background is where losing means you might be dead or worse, coming from a similar background in sword fighting my originals sword system being Italian, not the fancy fencing but designed for survival against someone trying to kill you, all the drills she writes about can be applied to any sword fighting system (I’m looking forward to the day someone from combative fencing cleans up all the their opponents and praises this little book for helping)

I can’t recommend this book enough, you will find yourself returning and rereading it and drawing gems out for a long time, and if you add the drills to your training your swordsmanship will be beyond the common, but it will be lots of hard work this is not an turn you into Zorro overnight, if it was easy being a peerless swordsman everyone would be one and you wouldn’t be peerless.
Ok for the drawbacks they are very few and next to nothing, sadly it’s not illustrated but you can get the footage for all the drills (I’ll be buying that when my budget improves) and Maija does have the link for it. I say sadly because I can honestly see someone generations from now reading what by then will have become a classic and compulsory reading material for future practitioners.

Just my two cents Paolo