Fight the Good Fight: From vicar's wife to killing machine, By Catherine Fox

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The Independent Culture

Fox's account of her conversion to judo in her forties (although she did practise briefly as a teenager) isn't so much to do with her soul or any divine calling as it is with her concern over ageing and weight loss. But thin as this premise is for a 230-page book, it still manages to be thought-provoking, in a light-hearted way.

Why she's always been attracted to fighting she traces back to her childish longings to be a boy (she had three sisters), but why she, a middle-class, almost middle-aged mother of two should still have that competitive urge now, and that it should take the form of slamming grown men down on their backs, is something of a mystery to her. Being a vicar's wife, though, perhaps she's attracted to systems and rules – her fighting spirit, it's quite clear, is never an anarchic one. Fox is not one to upset the order of things and I can imagine that's what makes her writing so popular. Fun and adventure – but for the Home Counties, not necessarily for all.

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