Martial Arts In The Modern World / Edition 1

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Martial arts, once restricted to a few specific locations and practiced by small groups of devotees, have truly spread throughout the world. The plethora of tae kwando and karate dojos in U.S. shopping malls attests to the popularity of various kinds of martial arts in this country. Though generally perceived and advertised as means of self-defense, body sculpting, and self-discipline, martial arts are actually social tools that respond to altered physical, social, and psychological environments. This book examines how practitioners have responded to stimuli such as feminism, globalism, imperialism, militarism, nationalism, slavery, and the commercialization of sport.

In a series of chapters devoted to Asian, African, and European systems of the late 19th to early 21st centuries, the authors examine the forces and philosophies that shaped fighting arts in diverse cultural settings. Because of political, social, and economic factors, this period witnessed the spread of martial arts to areas outside of their original contexts. Some of these arts flourished in their new environments, but others did not. The authors demonstrate that martial arts are not the conservative strongholds of tradition posited by conventional wisdom, but are instead responsive and mutable barometers of change. This book is essential for students of multicultural dialogues and devotees of martial arts performance and practice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Comprehensive martial arts collections serving undergraduates, professionals, and general readers.



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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275981532
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 338
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS A. GREEN Associate Professor of Anthropology, Texas A&M University.

JOSEPH R. SVINTH is Editor of Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences.

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Table of Contents

Martial arts in the modern world : introduction
A note on Romanization
Sense in nonsense : the role of folk history in the martial arts 1
The martial arts in Chinese physical culture, 1865-1965 13
The spirit of manliness : boxing in imperial Japan, 1868-1945 37
Professor Yamashita goes to Washington 47
The circle and the octagon : Maeda's judo and Gracie's jiu-jitsu 61
The myth of Zen in the art of archery 71
"The lion of the Punjab" : Gama in England, 1910 93
The little dragon : Bruce Lee (1940-1973) 111
Surviving the middle passage : traditional African martial arts in the Americas 129
Kendo in North America, 1885-1955 149
Olympic games and Japan 167
Origins of the British Judo Association, the European Judo Union, and the International Judo Federation 173
The evolution of taekwondo from Japanese karate 185
Women's boxing and related activities : introducing images and meanings 209
Freeing the Afrikan mind : the role of martial arts in contemporary African American cultural nationalism 229
Action design : new directions in fight choreography 249
Martial arts meet the new age : combatives in the early twenty-first-century American military 263
Epilogue : where we go from here 271
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2004

    Excellent Work! A Must Read!

    The publisher¿s review of this text does not even come close to capturing the spirit of the essays contained in Martial Arts in the Modern World. Editors, Thomas A. Green and Joseph R. Svinth, have written and collected a veritable treasure trove of material that examines popular, and some not so popular, martial arts from a fresh perspective. The book¿s dedication, to John F. Gilbey, serves as a good preface to what one can expect from the work. As Dr. Green states in the introduction, this is not an instructional book but one that examines ¿the forces and philosophies that shaped the fighting arts of the twentieth century.¿ His opening essay on ¿Sense in Nonsense¿ looks at the functional role of folk history within martial systems and sets the framework for a more critical analysis of present day martial systems. The papers presented take a look at the role of civil combative systems within the modern world, from the ubiquitous judo, kendo and karate to the less well-known capoeira to the more obscure arts of Indian wrestling, kalenda and ¿knocking and kicking,¿ and how they have influenced the contemporary martial mundi. This is not to say that the tone of the text is dryly academic. Indeed, the essays are easily digested and thoroughly good reading. The origins of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in classical judo cum professional wrestling, via Maeda Mitsuyo, are examined in ¿The Circle and the Octagon.¿ The origins of Taekwon Do from classical Japanese karate are presented in a paper by Eric Madis. Joe Svinth looks at boxing in Imperial Japan in ¿The Spirit of Manliness.¿ An article on ¿The Little Dragon: Bruce Lee¿ is not the idol worshipping prune whip that one would expect from a piece with that title. Instead, it is a thoughtful essay on the humanness of the man that has become an icon in popular martial culture. Yamada Shoji¿s piece on ¿The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery¿ debunks the paradigm of mysticism that has surrounded Japanese archery in the West. (This is a good companion piece to William Bodiford¿s entry on ¿Religion and Spiritual Development: Japan¿ in Dr. Green¿s, Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia. Bodiford, among other things, looks at how Suzuki did to kendo what Herrigel did to kyudo, that is, create a nationalistic mystique around a utilitarian technique.) Dr. Green¿s articles on ¿Surviving the Middle Passage: Traditional African Martial Arts in the America¿ and ¿Freeing the Afrikan Mind: The Role of Martial Arts in Contemporary African American Cultural Nationalism¿ are a glimpse into a heretofore unexplored martial cultural heritage within the African American community. Also included in the text is a paper on the great Indian wrestler Gama, ¿Lion of the Punjab,¿ by Graham Noble, and his introduction of the art of Indian wrestling to England in 1910. ¿The Martial Arts in Chinese Physical Culture, 1865-1965¿ is examined by Stanley E. Henning. Jennifer Hargreaves takes a serious look at the history of women¿s boxing, from eighteenth and nineteenth century prizefighting to boxerobics. Tony Wolf relates his philosophy of performance combat, as applied to his work in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in ¿Action Design: New Directions in Fight Choreography.¿ The development of ¿Kendo in North America, 1885-1955¿ is discussed by Joe Svinth. And Richard Bowen looks at the ¿Origins of the British Judo Association, the Judo Union, and the International Judo Federation,¿ with an emphasis on his perception of how the philosophy of the organization changed with its titles. Perhaps the most confusing article in the text is ¿Martial Arts Meet the New Age: Combatives in the Early Twenty-first-Century American Military.¿ The text, itself, isn¿t confusing. Svinth does his usual superlative treatment of the subject. But even with Svinth¿s writing to try and explain it, the adoption of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by the U.S. Army for combative training remains mind-boggling. Definitely check it out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2004

    Martial Arts Book of the Year!

    I¿ll be blunt- most books published on the martial arts ain't much to get excited about. Happily, this one's worth some excitement. But let¿s cut to the chase: what¿s in here? and why is it so important?----------The table of contents isn¿t listed here, which is a shame, as it describes the book better than I would ever be able, and any list of highlights would unfairly slight the unmentioned articles. Just to give the breadth of coverage, though, the articles include: folk history in the MA; cutting-edge research on Maeda¿s role in the formation of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu; a new and intimate view of Bruce Lee; an examination of traditional African martial arts elements that survived the Middle Passage; and ground-breaking research in the heretofore untilled field of modern African-american martial arts (think Jailhouse Rock, 52 Blocks, Kupigana Ngumi, etc.). And that only touches one-fourth of the articles published in this book. Anytime an article by Jennifer Hargreaves on women¿s boxing is left out of the highlights, you know the rest has to be good.----------So who is this book for? Well, if you are familiar with publications like the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Classical Fighting Arts,, and the like, then this book is undoubtedly up your alley. If you¿re not, you ought to be and this is an excellent place to start. However, if you believe that your current sensei, sifu, sabumnim, saya, guro, master or whatever has the martial arts version of papal infallibility, well, save your money, because those belt testing fees are going to add up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2004

    Martial Arts is More Than Physical!!!

    Need a break from the constant training of the body? Expand your intelectual background and mind on the subject of Martial Arts by reading this collection of essays. The areas covered are extensive. They range from the influence of the Japanese Martial Arts on Korean Martial Arts, to Africian-American impacts on Martial Arts as we know them. If you are a serious Martial Artist than this book is a necessary supplement to your training. Why? Well, I liked the book because of the diversity of the subject matter and how it is on a peer level with writing similiar to the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. Its not for the casual reader, but more for one who takes the martial arts seriously. I would suggest that the publisher rush to the softcover market so that this work be more available to those on a more limited budget. However, this nicely bound hard cover edition is more than worth the cover price, and is available NOW for those looking and needing to expand their knowledge on the Martial Arts..

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