The Pyjama Game is about a series of battles. It recounts some of the great combats between champions and traces Japan’s struggle to retain its superiority and the attempt of every other nation to end it. It tells of judo’s battle with rival forms of unarmed combat, the battle for recruits between judo and other sports. A battle between classical judo and those alien and mutant versions, which threw down their challenge. It also traces the struggle between ideas, a struggle between judo’s purists and judo’s sportsmen, between the idea of hobby judo and serious judo, between judo as a way of life and as a way of earning a living.
It chronicles the development of judo as an Olympic sport and details the careers of some of the sport’s greatest champions, as well as giving a unique, visceral description of what it feels like to do judo along with a novel explanation of the nature of fighting.
The book has found appeal with judoka of all levels – from club players to champions – as well as sportsmen and martial artists from many different disciplines. Parents, teachers and educators have found the book useful in gaining an understanding about the nature of combat sports – and the physical and mental benefits derived from them, and it has gained a reputation among sports writers and journalists as a useful reference for those who need to gain a deep understanding of the sport from a single source.
The Pyjama Game was first published in hardback by Aurum Press in 2007 to wide acclaim in the national as well as the sporting press. Mark Law was voted Best New Writer of the Year by the National Sporting Club of Great Britain in its 2008 British Sports Book Awards.
The book has sold more than 16,000 copies and has been published in six different editions including a US edition published by Shambala in 2009 under the title Falling Hard.
In 2014 The Pyjama Game was republished by Aurum Press as part of its Classic Sports Books series featuring ‘books that have come to attain classic status’.