Tag: DC Gilbert

No More Chances …

This is not a typical post for me, but the recent death of a fellow karate instructor has been on my mind for a few weeks now, and I guess this is my way of dealing with it. I hope my readers will understand.

Suicide is an issue I have become much more attuned to over the last few years, especially since joining Veterans Referring Veterans and learning of the many private organizations that work to help prevent veteran suicides. The good news is that veteran suicide rates dropped from 22 per day in 2017 to 17 per day in 2021. Unfortunately, however, that is still far too many.

Of course, it is not just an issue for veterans.

We all know suicide is not an issue that exclusively affects veterans. And, anyone can reach a point in their lives where they are so desperate, so full of despair or pain, that suicide seems the only way out. And from my experience, it looks like the people who should know something is wrong, who might be in a position to reach out and help, are often shocked when someone they know commits suicide. Too often, you hear comments like, “I had no idea there was something so wrong,” or “Why didn’t he talk to me?” or “She seemed so … uh … normal.”

I am not sure why this is. Are these people just too busy to notice or did not care? I don’t think so. I know some of those people, and they do care … often they are teachers, close friends, or family members. It is more likely that people in that much pain get really good at hiding it … so they will “be left alone.” Of course, this “being alone” increases their isolation, pain, and despair.

Speaking from personal experience …

I have been affected by the suicide of someone I knew twice in my life. The second time was just a few weeks ago, so this has recently been cycling through my brain.

The first time was many years ago – in the mid-90s. Caleb was a high school student who joined my karate dojo, and he was a great kid. Several of his friends were already students of mine, and he seemed to really enjoy karate and clearly got along fine with his friends in the class. In addition, he was a personable young man, good-looking, a good student, and played in the high school marching band.

Then one day, his classmates came into the dojo and told me Caleb had just killed himself the previous day. They were in shock … and they had no idea …

I was shocked. Caleb had seemed fine, and maybe I could have done something … I am a karate sensei, for Pete’s sake! But the truth is, if you don’t know, there is nothing you can do. His parents stopped by the dojo to tell me they appreciated all I did for Caleb. It was incredibly kind of them under the circumstance, and all I could think was that … clearly … I did not do enough.

A fellow karate instructor located in Chicago took his own life more recently. I first heard that Patrick died when another instructor in Michigan posted the funeral arrangements in his dojo Facebook group. I had traveled to Chicago several times to attend karate seminars Patrick hosted. And while we were not close friends, I had talked to him on several occasions, sat in on one of his promotion tests, and had read a novel he’d written a few years ago. He always seemed friendly, he was an excellent karate instructor, and I think he was a teacher in one of the Chicago school systems, or at least was at one time.

When I read about the funeral arrangements, I contacted a mutual friend that following Saturday and asked him what had happened. Was Patrick sick? He was a good bit younger than me. Was it cancer? I was then told Patrick had taken his own life the previous Thursday.

I remember saying something like, “Oh no! Why? That is so sad.”

John’s reply was, “Yes, it is. I had no idea anything was wrong. And right now, I am more angry than sad. He should have talked to me.”

On a more personal note

I am about to share a personal story. And, it is not about me looking for anything. But, I just feel that if someone reads it, and it helps anyone, anytime, anywhere – or the reader takes away something positive from it, that is a good thing.

I grew up a stutterer. And, in my younger years, it was a much, much worse problem than it is for me now. During elementary and middle school, I pretty much hated myself. I mean, stuttering is kind of an invisible handicap, right? You look normal enough, all the way up until someone asks you your name – then the fun begins. The laughing, the questions … “Don’t you even know your own name?” Then there were all the fights! And if you need more proof you are not as good as everyone else … now you have to go to speech therapy!

This started to change for me as a junior in high school. That change was started by my best friend at the time, Chris Lemoine. Chris was a popular guy; he was fun to be around and well-liked by everyone; he had a Camaro and a great girlfriend! We became good friends as sophomores, and that friendship continued a little past graduation. Eventually, we went separate ways. Life sometimes does that.

We were headed somewhere in his Camaro one day, and he said something to me that blew me away. I don’t know what prompted the comment. Chris just turned to me and said something like, “Darren, I want you to know something. The fact that you stutter doesn’t matter one bit to me; you are one of the coolest guys I know. I am glad you are my friend.” That one statement began to work a change in me and has stuck with me my whole life.

Sometimes it just takes one statement …

Before this, one point in my life was very, very low. I must have been about fourteen or fifteen years old. Something had happened, but I really can’t remember what it was. Maybe my girlfriend broke up with me, I had a terrible stuttering situation that day in school, or perhaps I had an upcoming oral presentation. I hated those … and would break out into a cold sweat even at the thought of one. Or, maybe I just couldn’t borrow the car to go to the Rush concert. It doesn’t matter, really. It was probably a culmination of several things.

But my dad had noticed. I was up in my room with the door shut, hating life when he knocked and came in. He asked me what was wrong. I am sure it took a while to pry it out of me, but he did, and eventually, I said something along the lines of, “I hate my life, and I wish I had never been born. I just want it to end.” As an adult, I look back on that and understand that it was quite a hurtful thing to say to your dad. But I guess he understood. I do have an amazing dad.

I remember him saying something to me about how some people say suicide is the “coward’s way out,” but he did not believe that. He said it had to take a lot of guts and determination to actually go through with killing yourself. But then he said, “the real problem is that once you are dead, there are no more chances; no more opportunities to make things better, fix what was wrong, and make things right.” And that is another statement that has stuck with me my whole life.

So, if things are terrible for you, and you can see no way out, and you are thinking of ending it all, Please remember 1) that someone out there probably thinks you are pretty cool, and 2), once you take your life, there are no more chances to try again or make it right. And please, find someone to talk to!

On a lighter note, maybe growing up a stutterer is why I like to write so much. It just comes much easier to me!

Reciprocity: First look …

Prologue

Damn, it’s hot!

Taylor wiped the sweat from his forehead with a towel, then glanced across the make-shift ring at his opponent. The man was huge, definitely not Filipino.

Must be Samoan, Taylor thought. He’d seen a few Samoans during his time in the special forces and respected them. Solid operators.

Taylor stood just a bit under six feet in his socks and weighed in at a solid one-hundred-and-ninety-five pounds. His opponent was about four inches taller and a good bit heavier. He could also hit. The big man had trained, probably Muay Thai. While the Samoan’s technique was a bit sloppy, he moved like a Thai boxer; and his elbows and knees were wicked. It had been a punishing knee to Taylor’s ribs that had prompted the end of the first round.

These unsanctioned fights typically went for three rounds. However, there was no timer or bell, nor were there anything you could really call rules. If a fighter got injured, the center referee would pause the fight long enough to ensure the fighter could continue. That pause effectively ended the round. While a few fights Taylor had fought in had gone two rounds, he’d yet to see one make it to three. They were too brutal for that. Tonight was Taylor’s twelfth such fight.

A few weeks back, broke and badly in need of a drink, he’d stumbled into a bar that happened to be playing host to a local “fight night.” After watching the first two amateurs go at it, Taylor, unimpressed, started to leave. But then he saw the winner handed five thousand Philippine pesos, roughly the equivalent of one hundred and fifty dollars, so when the promoter called for two more volunteers, Taylor made his way out onto the dance floor.

The fight was short despite, or maybe because of, Taylor’s dire need for a drink. His training saw to that. Collecting his winnings, he’d headed straight to the bar and, after a few shots, felt steady enough to venture down the street to the liquor store where he picked up a bottle of his self-prescribed medication. From there, he’d stumbled back to his apartment.

Since that night, Taylor had participated in eleven more human cockfights. He’d lost the next two simply because he was too drunk even to stand, never mind defend himself. However, the instinct for self-preservation combined with the need for cash and Taylor modified his drinking habits enough to fit his fight schedule. Then he began to win, quickly becoming a favorite with several locals who started betting on him instead of the local Filipino fighters. As his winnings grew bigger, those betting on him began to win a great deal of money. His fans were happy. However, some of the local gangs began to take notice. They also had their favorite fighters, and they were not very pleased about constantly losing to this American drunkard.

This fighter, tonight, was the toughest Taylor had faced so far. Although they were pretty matched size-wise, this man was tough as nails and knew how to fight. That last knee to his ribs had hurt.

Lucky I don’t have a few broken ribs, Taylor thought.

He took a swallow from the beer he’d left sitting on a stack of crates when called up for his fight. The venue for tonight’s fight was an old warehouse along the Pasig River in the Tondo district of Manila. Tondo is the largest district in Manila in terms of area and population; it was also the district with the highest crime rate in the Philippines. Taylor figured there had to be at least one murder per week. Fortunately, most of these killings were drug-related and did not involve foreigners or tourists. However, he also knew some extremely dangerous men and women lived there.

While not precisely Madison Square Garden, someone had set up the rundown warehouse with chairs and tables circling a marked-off fight ring. A make-shift bar sat along one side of the building and seemed well-stocked.

A pungent combination of cigar, cigarette, and marihuana smoke filled the air, and the alcohol flowed freely. A sizable crowd of people had shown up for tonight’s event. Taylor had begun to notice that the clientele attending his fights had improved as he continued to win. More affluent spectators were now in the crowd; some appeared to be successful business people, and a few Taylor recognized as leaders of some of the more prominent local gangs. He saw fewer and fewer of the societal dregs who’d frequented his earlier fights in local dives. The fact that more women were now in attendance did not escape Taylor’s eye either. They were typically attractive women, often on the arms of well-dressed men. But then there were also a few women who seemed to be on their own. Two had caught his eye, especially since both had been present at his last two fights. They looked to be twin sisters, and both were stunningly beautiful.

The referee called. Wiping his forehead again and taking one last slug from his beer, Taylor made his way back into the center of the ring.

Time to end this before I screw around and get hurt.

The Samoan, confident he’d hurt Taylor badly with that last blow to the ribs, came on strong, pressing his advantage. First, he fired a hard cutting kick at Taylor’s right leg, which Taylor narrowly avoided; he immediately followed with a left jab, then a hard right elbow strike toward the temple. Taylor slipped the jab and raised his left forearm to deflect the elbow. It was what the Samoan fighter was waiting for, and he launched a brutal shin kick at Taylor’s bruised ribs.

Taylor shifted slightly to his right as his left arm dropped suddenly, hooking around his opponent’s kicking leg and trapping it against his left side. Ignoring the screaming pain from his badly bruised ribs, Taylor shifted back to the left and slightly forward, taking his opponent off balance. Grabbing the fighter’s windpipe in a vise-like grip, his right leg swept the Samoan’ ‘s left leg out from under him, driving his opponent to the floor. The big man hit hard. Taylor followed him down while maintaining control of his opponent’s right leg. He dropped his right knee into the man’s groin, and a loud groan escaped from the Samoan’s clenched teeth. Pressing the man’s leg toward his chest with his left shoulder, Taylor reached down with his left and grabbed a handful of hair. Jerking the man’s head around, he slammed his fist into the right side of the man’s massive jaw, which must have been chiseled from granite because it did not shatter. However, the Samoan still collapsed back onto the floor. He was out cold; the fight over.

Taylor released his grip on his opponent’s hair and stood up. Then, swaying just a bit, he paused, looking down at the unmoving form. Abruptly, Taylor turned and walked over to the stack of crates to finish his beer.

Okay, time to collect my money and get the hell out of here.

Sensing a presence behind him, he turned. A woman stood there looking up at him. It was one of the twins he’d spotted earlier. She was even more breathtaking up close. The woman smiled.

“That was a great fight. You are an excellent fighter.” She paused, her eyes boldly roving over his six-foot frame. “I have made good money from your last two fights.”

Taylor nodded. “Glad to hear that, ma’am. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get cleaned up and collect my winnings. It was nice talking to you, ma’am.” He turned to walk away.

“Wait.”

Taylor paused and looked back.

“There is a shower here at the warehouse you can use if you like. And, I can make sure your money is safe until you are ready to leave.”

Taylor frowned, then chuckled. “Why would I do that,” he paused, “… trust you to keep my money safe?”

“I like you, and let’s just say I want to … uh … buy you a drink. After that, who knows.” She smiled again, then shrugged, leaving the possibilities hanging.

Taylor’s mind began to consider those possibilities.

I could use a drink, he thought.

And this lady was damn pretty, even if she did only come up to his chest. “You don’t think the owner of the warehouse would object to me using the shower?”

Again, the woman smiled. “I can guarantee it. I, well, technically, my sister and I own the warehouse. So, Taylor? What do you say? Can I call you Taylor? Or, would you prefer I call you something else?”

“Sure, Taylor will do. And what should I call you?”

“My name is Blessica, Blessica Baguinda.”

Taylor knew the name. Everyone in the Tondo district, and probably throughout the entire city of Manila, knew the name. Blessica and her sister, Mahalia, ran the Dalawang Mga Ate Na Mafia, or Two Sister’s Mafia.

Blessica saw the look on his face. “I see you have heard of me.”

Taylor nodded. “I have. You and your sister are, uh,” he paused, “shall we say, well-known in some circles.”

“Does it matter?”

Taylor thought about that, then shook his head. After all, he was not exactly a model citizen himself. “I guess not.”

Blessica smiled widely. “Great. Let me show you to the shower.”

More to follow …

Martial Mayhem for a Good Cause!

On Saturday, October 30th, a group of martial artists got together at the Beulah United Methodist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a day of martial arts training while raising money for Knoxville’s Children’s Hospital in honor of Charla Alley. Sadly, Charla, the wife of Sensei Jim Alley, succumbed to a terminal illness some time ago. The seminar, originally planned by Sensei Bob Noel, was canceled and rescheduled several times due to the Covid pandemic.

Several instructors from different styles volunteered their time to teach a variety of topics to a group of about 30 attendees. Nearly $1,000 was raised for charity and every participant had a great time.

Here is the lineup of instructors for last Saturday’s event.

Sensei Bob Noel
Uechi-Ryu Karate
Event Host & Organizer

Sensei Noel teaches traditional Uechi-ryu Karate at the Knoxville Uechi-ryu Karate School located at the Street Beatz Studio.

Sensei Noel led a warm-up session consisting of Uechi-ryu basic exercises and the Uechi-ryu version of Sanchin Kata.

Sensei Eddie Satterfield
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Satterfield led a great session on Qi Gong breathing as a tool for relaxing, energizing, and healing. It was a great way to get charged up for the seminar.

Sensei Danny Satterfield
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Danny Satterfield led a very informative session on the framing mechanics of Sanchin Kata. I think it was an eye-opening session for a lot of participants.

Sensei Danny Smith
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Smith led a session on a sai kata from the Tokushinryu Kobudo system. It was clear from participant’s comments, that they really enjoyed this session

Sensei Scott Britt
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Britt presented a fascinating session on the Suruchin, a traditional flexible weapon from Okinawan Kobudo. Scott has written a book on this intriguing weapon.

Sensei Darren Gilbert
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Gilbert presented a great session on using stances to break the line of attack and avoid getting hit, while still allowing you to effectively strike your opponent. This foundational skill is key to unlocking techniques in kata.

Sensei Michael Patrick
Torite Jutsu

Sensei Patrick presented a session on using pressure point techniques to control and subdue your attacker. Understanding pressure points is a big help in understanding the techniques found in kata. This is always a popular topic with participants.

Sensei Mike Allen
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Allen led a well-enjoyed session on Tegumi, which is a traditional form of Okinawan grappling. Many participants commented that this session was a lot of fun.

Sensei David Higgins
Shorin-ryu Karate

Sensei Higgins, a black belt in Shorin-ryu as well as a student of Uechi-ryu, led a session on Shuji No Kun, a Yammani Ryu bo kata. This session was particularly enjoyed by a few of our younger participants, and I enjoyed it as well.

Sensei Jim Alley
Isshin-ryu Karate

Sensei Alley ended the day with a session on techniques from Naihanchi, which with Sanchin Kata, is referred to as the mother and father of Isshin-ryu Karate. It was a great end to a great day!

Want more information on a variety of topics!

Check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and be sure to check out my books on my Amazon Author’s Page! They do get great reviews!

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A Cover Worthy of the Story Inside

This journey began some time ago, when a reader of Montagnard who absolutely loved the story, had one criticism to make.

If I had one criticism (and I hate to criticize) it would be the cover. And please don’t take this the wrong way but I wouldn’t buy this book at the bookstore because of the cover. Which is a shame because I would have bypassed a great read!

The reason I bought your book is because I follow your blog and I like to support bloggers.


Honestly, based on the cover I expected to tolerate the book, but… I LOVED it (I have already recommended it to two of my friends).


While I can see how there is a hint of what the book is about by the cover it just doesn’t quite convey properly. To me the cover says ‘political non-fiction’ — it doesn’t say ‘intriguing, captivating, intense action, feel good awesomeness’ which is exactly what your book is.

Beck

This reader’s comment led to a discussion with my editor and a plan to redo the covers of both Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard before the release of the third book, Reciprocity.

The new cover for Serpents Underfoot was completed and I was very pleased with its new cover. You can click here to view that cover on Amazon.com.

Then it became time to work on the new cover for Montagnard. My editor said the covers should identify the books as being written by me and also that they are part of a series. This is part of establishing your “brand.”

When I got the proof for the new cover of Montagnard, I was a bit nervous. It seemed like a tall order, and I had selected the images to use to create the cover. What if I had chosen bad images, or a bad color scheme? Finally, I opened the file.

All I could say was, “Wow!” I could not believe it. My cover designer, Angie, had done an absolutely brilliant job. She was waiting for my “suggested edits.” My response was … don’t change a thing!

I shared the cover proof with several readers I know, family members, friends, etc. The reaction was the same everywhere! I heard two things repeatedly.

  1. I absolutely love it!
  2. That cover is “BAD ASS!”

One reader commented, “Finally, a cover that does justice to the story inside.”

So, without further ado … here is the new cover for Montagnard!

The new cover is up for the Kindle version, and will soon be ready for the paperback and hardcover versions. Check out the kindle version here!


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Author D.C. Gilbert

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Isshin-ryu Karate: In-Line Stance Drill

The in-line stance drill is a great little drill that teaches the practitioner to break the line of attack and remain safe, while staying close enough to deliver an effective counter. This is not a kata. It is just a drill designed to develop understanding of a few key concepts in Okinawan Karate.

In my dojo, this drill was typically taught after the Basic Kata and before learning the Tachi Kata, which was developed by Sensei Harrill as an intermediary step before starting into black belt level kata. The Basic Chart Kata and Tachi Kata will be examined in future posts.

In the two videos below you will see both a front and side view of the drill performed as a single-person exercise, much like a kata. And while, not a kata per se, this drill is made up of techniques taken from kata to illustrate the concepts.

In-Line Stance Drill from the front.
In-line stance drill from the side.

However, this drill is a two-person drill and is worked back and forth repeatedly. Beginners will start out slowly and perhaps give themselves a bit more “working room.” As you become comfortable with the drill, your speed and power can increase, and the distance may decrease a bit. You will learn to control your distance and remain safe while being close enough to deliver effective counters. And, not so close that you cannot execute good technique.

Here is an how the drill will look with two people.

Right-handed initial attack.

The nice thing about truly understanding techniques, is that you begin to realize that it does not matter what your opponent does, so much as how well you can utilize your technique. In this drill the attacker started with a right-handed punch. What if he hadn’t? Suppose he had attacked with his left-hand first? Do I change what I am doing?

Nope, the nice thing about good technique, is that it works (as we say, “Right, Left, Up, or Down). Yes, of course there are specific techniques for certain types of attacks. But for most techniques, if you truly understand them, it does not matter. In this next video, the attacker will initiate his attack from the other side, and I will not change what I am doing. It still works.

Left-handed initial attack.

I would like to thank Lucas Davis for helping me with the two-man aspect of this drill. Lucas trained with me in Isshin-ryu for several years before I moved to Raleigh, NC for about three years. He now trains in Uechi-ryu with Sensei Bob Noel who is also an excellent instructor.

My Spec Ops Fantasy

While I served in the US Army Infantry, I never had the opportunity to work my way up and into the spec ops community. However, I have had the honor of being good friends with several men who did, several of whom I met through the martial arts. So writing the stories I love to write involves relying on stories from those friends, research, and my wandering imagination.

Check out this author’s interview published on Titan Literary after Serpents Underfoot received another amazing 5-Star review.


Serpents Underfoot finds JD Cordell facing a terrorist group that plans to detonate nukes on US soil. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

This story grew out of thoughts I have had about what it would be like to be a Spec Ops warrior. I served in the military and spent most of my time overseas. I served in the Army infantry, and when I enlisted, I scored high enough on the ASVAB test to get Ranger School in my contract. Unfortunately, when they discovered I had a slight speech impediment, they would not send me to Ranger School. They were going to let me out because they couldn’t honor their end of the deal, but I asked to stay. Hell, I could still shoot pretty darn well. So, I guess it is, at least in part, a fantasy about what might have been.

Combine that with a lifetime study of martial arts, the political climate at the time, my interest in Asian culture, and you have the birth of this story.

The rest is simply a bunch of “what if” questions. For instance, what if a soldier in Vietnam married a Vietnamese girl who saved his life? What if their son became a Navy SEAL, and what if his team uncovered a major terrorist plot? What if it involved high-ranking US government officials? You get the idea …

JD Cordell is essentially a composite of several people I have known and respected. While I was a bit too young to serve in Vietnam, I was old enough to have several good friends who did. One friend, in particular, served as a medic on long-range reconnaissance patrols in the region the first few chapters of Serpents Underfoot is set in. I also know a couple of former Navy SEALS, one of which recently passed away. He was actually an Underwater Demolition Team member and served in the Mekong Delta region during the Vietnam War. The UDT teams were essentially forerunners of the Navy SEALs.

You can read the rest of the interview at:

https://literarytitan.com/2021/04/21/to-be-a-spec-ops-warrior/


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The Dance of Death

I read once that a karate kata could be called a dance of death

Now, I am not talking about some of the highly sensational “stuff” that has come out over the years. There are many books out there by such prolific “martial arts” writers as Ashida Kim talking about Count Dante and others, claiming that The Dance of Death is the most deadly collection of “poison hand” techniques known to man. There are also several “martial arts” genre movies that have been released using versions of the phrase “Dance of Death” in their titles. All I am going to say about that martial arts “pulp fiction” is, buyer beware.

But in general, I think you could consider a kata to be a form of dance. It is a series of movements combining concepts such footwork and stances, proper posture, presence, balance, flow, relaxation, dynamic tension, etc. They have a certain rhythm which can vary as skill grows or even depending on what the practitioner is thinking technique-wise. And, you could easily receive a description such as this from a karate instructor – or a ballroom dance instructor.

Ballroom Dancing and Karate-do

Ballroom dance and karate both require years of practice to achieve real skill. Both require the study of and understanding of body mechanics, timing, breathing, distance, technique, and posture.

Both require a great deal of time spent practicing basic techniques, simple patterns, and advanced choreographed movements, the mastery of which later allows the skilled practitioner to forget the patterns and to allow his own expression of technique or dance to flow.

The similarities do not end there!

For both karate and ballroom dancing, a good instructor can make all the difference in the world. I first started out learning basic steps from instructors that were essentially a few lessons ahead of me. Having studied karate with a few excellent instructors, I soon became bored with this level of teaching. I wanted more.

Then I met Mark and Rhonda Becker at Champion Ballroom in Knoxville. This husband and wife team are both great instructors. They did not teach steps – they taught you the art of ballroom dancing.

That was when the similarities between karate-do and ballroom dancing began to really show.

So, are karate kata really a dance of death?

Well, if you consider that a traditional karate kata has so much in common with a dance, and then take into consideration what a kata contains, I would say the answer is – yes.

What is a kata? It essentially is a collection of effective and proven combat techniques distilled down to their purest form. Like a dance, they require balance, breath control, timing, focus, proper body mechanics, and flow.

They also require understanding. Many of the techniques, while they certainly can be modified, if executed to their fullest potential, have disastrous effects on the human body. Many can, indeed, be fatal.

So, from that perspective, I guess they could be called, “The Dance of Death.” But they are so much more than that.

Preforming kata is a great form of exercise. And depending on how you work them, you can achieve a great variety of results. You can blast through them as a good cardio workout, or you can perform them slowly to work on balance and strength. You can work on timing your breathing to techniques or utilize dynamic tension. Then kata can become moving meditation and help you improve your focus, or relax and reduce stress.

Working on kata will improve your ballroom dancing – and working on ballroom dancing will improve your kata.

It’s almost like a Yin Yang relationship, isn’t it?

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Book Review: “MONTAGNARD: A JD Cordell Action Thriller”

by John Purvis

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Author D.C. Gilbert (https://darrencgilbert.com) published the novel “MONTAGNARD: A JD Cordell Action Thriller ” in 2020. This is the second book in The JD Cordell Action Series. This is Mr. Gilbert’s third book. I published an interview with Mr. Gilbert in June of 2018.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of violence and mature language. The story picks up a short time after the first novel “Serpents Underfoot” ends.

The primary character continues to be Former SEAL JD Cordell. After many years of service, Cordell retires taking his K9 Ajax with him. On his last active duty mission, Cordell rescues the very pretty young Doctor Ellen Chang. She was being held by terrorists in Niger. After his retirement, he finds she has come back to the States and has settled hear him. Romance is in full swing between the two.

Shortly after the death of her husband, Mai Cordell makes a trip back to Vietnam. She is trying to find her adopted brother, the Montagnard called Dish. Dish is a rebel wanted by the communist government. When a drug lord hears about her search, he kidnaps her and uses her for bait to draw out Dish.

Cordell heads to Vietnam as soon as he hears about his mother. While the US government can’t take direct action, they do assist Cordell. Two of his former SEAL Team members ‘volunteer’ to go with him. Will he be in time to save his mother and the uncle he has never met?

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 309-page thriller. I had enjoyed Mr. Gilbert’s prior novel in the series and this one was just as good! I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

I have read a lot of Mr. Purvis’ reviews and other posts over the last few years, so this review means a lot to me because I know Mr. Purvis does give very fair reviews and calls things as he sees them. Therefore, I would just like to say thank you, John, for this review, and I am so glad you enjoyed the book.

And if you haven’t visited his blog, you should. Mr. Purvis covers a lot of interesting topics.

You can purchase a copy of Montagnard or any of my other books by clicking the button below.

It’s Alive…

Serpents Underfoot is live on Amazon with its new cover.

Serpents Underfoot is out with its awesome new cover! 1106 Design did a great job, and they were a pleasure to work with. If you are ever in the market for a book cover, check them out. They will shortly be redoing the cover for Montagnard as well.

If you haven’t read it, click here to buy it now!

Praise for Serpents Underfoot …

Resonant characters propel this consistently gripping terrorist tale.
All of the characters are well developed, producing genuine shock when certain individuals die.
The author writes in an unadorned prose that keeps the plot moving at a steady beat … the finale is … exhilarating.

Kirkus Reviews

Serpents Underfoot is the first book in the JD Cordell action thriller series! Full of Navy Seal action, the book will enthrall fans of action thrillers … The book has it all—authentic detail, breathless action, vividly drawn settings, and an exhilarating plot.

The Prairies Book Review

Check out all my books on my Amazon Author’s Page.

There are several to choose from, all with great reviews.

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Montagnard: The Philippine Connection

Sometimes the strangest things happen.

I am hard at work on the third installment in the JD Cordell Action series, called Reciprocity, which will take on human trafficking. And in this story, some of the action occurs in the Philippine Islands. While still in the development stages, JD Cordell will travel to the Philippines, where he and a few associates will mete out some well-deserved justice to a gangland cartel trafficking girls between Asia, Mexico, and the US. But enough of that, I don’t want to give too much away.

My new Filipino fan base …

The interesting thing is that I just received a 5-Star review for Montagnard from a writer, blogger, and editor, based, you guessed it … in the Philippines. I think that is pretty cool!

Herzie Santos, a.k.a. SheySaints, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and has worked for Coca Cola Bottlers, Goldprint Publishing House, AXA Financial, and Sutherland Global Services. Her professional experiences in several different work industries have provided her with a great deal of expertise, including professional writing skills. She has written and published poems, short stories, book and movie reviews, essays, and several articles. She’s also a content writer, book reviewer, proofreader, and fiction writer.

Here are a few comments from her review …

I miss stories like this. It gives me this unexplainable nostalgic feeling. I rarely read anything like this anymore and I’m glad I stumbled upon this great book.

It was a well-written action-packed thriller … I highly recommend this book to readers who love heroic military and dog stories.

Herzie Santos

You can read the rest of her review here if you like: https://sheysaints18.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/book-review-montagnard/

It makes me smile! I may not yet be a renowned author, but I am definitely international. Montagnard has been read and/or reviewed in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, India, and now … the Philippines!

Click the button below to order your copy of this award-wing action-thriller.