The Martial Arts Book

Overview

An unrivaled overview of the history and philosophy of martial arts.

Martial arts have become increasingly popular in North America over the past century. Yet few books for children present an overview of the history and philosophy of these ancient disciplines. The Martial Arts Book does just that.

Learn about the samurai who preferred to use strategy over violence and who were trained to pay attention to the sound of breathing or the movement ...

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Overview

An unrivaled overview of the history and philosophy of martial arts.

Martial arts have become increasingly popular in North America over the past century. Yet few books for children present an overview of the history and philosophy of these ancient disciplines. The Martial Arts Book does just that.

Learn about the samurai who preferred to use strategy over violence and who were trained to pay attention to the sound of breathing or the movement of joints to tell if someone was asleep or just pretending. Meet the female ninjas known as Deadly Flowers, and the last ninja, Seiko Fujita (1899-1966), who stuck needles in his skin and ate rat poison, lizards, and even a brick to learn to withstand pain and poison. A concluding chapter will help in choosing the right style and school of martial arts for you.

Key Features:

  • unique book on a popular subject
  • a comprehensive overview of the martial arts from their origin and philosophy to the evolution of styles, the use of weapons, and martial arts today
  • sidebars with interesting anecdotes
  • color illustrations
  • foreign names and terminology are followed by the phonetic pronunciation in parentheses
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Editorial Reviews

San Diego Union-Tribune - Leigh Fenly
A fascinating history... relates how different styles of martial arts developed throughout the world... Highly readable and entertaining, with an index and glossary.
Booklist - Carolyn Phelan
This attractive book introduces the legendary roots and spiritual aspects of martial arts ... the writing is clear and the emphasis on understanding the different historical traditions keeps each section well focused.
Publishers Weekly
Laura Scandiffio addresses all aspects of the sport in The Martial Arts Book, illus. by Nicolas Debon, including its history, the spiritual side (Zen Buddhism, Taoism, etc.) and the different styles (Shaolin Temple Boxing, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, etc.), as well as the weapons used and how the practices have evolved in modern times. Martial arts enthusiasts will appreciate the book's thorough research. A glossary and index are also included. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Laura Scandiffio educates and entertains with her nonfiction account of ninjas and Buddhist nuns in The Martial Arts Book. From Buddha to Bruce Lee, the author spans centuries of philosophy and changing practices, carefully differentiating the different forms, including karate, tae kwon do and tai chi chuan. Throughout, Scandiffio maintains that these arts are grounded in self improvement and discipline rather than violence, in defense rather than attack. Side bars, short biographies of key figures and color illustrations by Nicolas Debon punctuate the informative text. Kudos to Scandiffio for including fascinating stories such as the one about the tai chi master who, with one well-placed belly laugh, knocked a boxer across the room. 2003, Annick, and Ages 8 to 14.
—Mary Quattlebaum
Kirkus Reviews
From Lao Tzu to Bruce Lee, Scandiffio traces the history of the major branches of Asian martial arts, making a brave (if futile) effort to distinguish fact from legend. Arranged in topical spreads, her account establishes the connections between the various styles and Taoism, Confucianism, and Zen Buddhism, differentiates between the "soft" and "hard" approaches, and covers the modern transformation of some martial arts into formalized competitions. Many of Debon’s small scenes show women or mixed groups, and the author likewise alternates the gender of her pronouns to emphasize that these arts are not exclusively male territory. Rather than describe specific moves, Scandiffio takes the safer course, filling in historical background and giving young readers looking for a martial art that’s right for them a glimpse of their options--without, however, providing the lists of books, Web sites, or organization addresses necessary to take the natural next step. These missing elements reduce this to the status of an acceptable alternative, but not a replacement, for such introductions as Susan Ribner’s thoughtful Martial Arts (1978) or David Mitchell’s Young Martial Arts Enthusiast (1997). (Nonfiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550377767
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 1,142,166
  • Age range: 11 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Scandiffio was born in Germany and raised in Ottawa. She loved reading, writing, and drawing as a child, and carried that passion into adulthood. She has worked as an editor for both children's and adult trade books.

Nicolas Debon was born and raised in France. He has illustrated historical children's books set in Asia, including The Warlord's Puzzle, The Warlord's Beads, and The Warlord's Fish by Virginia Walton Pilegard, and A Brave Soldier, which he also wrote.

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