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A Shout From The Attic: A Good Book Is The Life Blood

...I also bought a Foulsham’s book on jujitsu written by Professor Yukio Tani. I was deeply impressed that he had, the book said, disabled twenty armed and determined attackers using the skills he now shared with the readers...

Ronnie Bray tells of early reading days.

To read more of Ronnie's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

Magic was attractive. Everyone wants to be good at something. The bookshop in the bottom market sold books on all sorts of things, mostly published by the pulp-publishing firm of Foulsham’s and costing about one and sixpence. I bought a couple of books and started reading.

Most of the tricks eluded my understanding, but I was able to manage a couple or three card tricks that I perform to this day when faced with a young and naive audience and am in possession of a pack of face cards.

I also bought a Foulsham’s book on jujitsu written by Professor Yukio Tani. I was deeply impressed that he had, the book said, disabled twenty armed and determined attackers using the skills he now shared with the readers of his book. I was fascinated. To a young lad to whom the world seems alien and hostile self-defence could be very useful. It never was, although it did serve to alienate a few boys who expressed an interest in learning jujitsu from me. I learned that it is not the level of skill a person holds in martial arts that is important, but level size of their reputation.

Reputations are bought and sold in the market place for coppers, but if enough lads have come close to having their elbows dislocated in a simulated knife attack, or enough had been knocked temporarily silly by landing badly on their backs and letting their heads hit the ground first in a brilliant display of a shoulder throw that could be taken for a first cousin of a flying mare, one’s reputation soared to extraordinary and unexpected heights.

Being modest I refused opportunities to test my reputation with the less credulous who still thought they could beat me.

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