Martial Arts History

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Shifu Steve, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. Shifu Steve

    Shifu Steve Green Belt

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    I have some time off in the next couple weeks so could anyone suggest some of their favorite books related to history and martial arts in China or Japan?

    Thanks in advance,

    Steve
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I like Okinawan Karate by Mark Bishop, but it seems to have attracted its fair share of detractors. In general these days, I tend to spend time on Google Books, searching for early writings about martial arts as described by Westerners who became exposed to such things for the first time as the East opened up to the West, say circa early 1800's. Interesting stuff.

    http://www.amazon.com/Okinawan-Karate-Teachers-Styles-Techniques/dp/0804832056
     
  3. Shifu Steve

    Shifu Steve Green Belt

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    Thanks Bill. I read some of those articles you posted on Jujutsu and it's preception in the US circa 1900. Great stuff.
     
  4. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Living the Martial way is one of my favorites of all times and Martial arts for people over forty.
     
  5. Master Stallion

    Master Stallion White Belt

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    Steve-
    Every martial artist should read Musashi's "Book of Five Rings". "Zen in the martial arts" is always fun to revisit and is almost a cliche for martial artists at this point but should still be read if you haven't read it yet.
    I also recommend anything by Dr. Yang (Jwing-Ming Yang). He wrote "The root of Chinese QiGong" which I am reading now and seems very worth while.
     
  6. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    You know, I got and read "Five Rings," and I am not sure I get it. It basically says "Always attack. Attack again!" over and over. OK, good advice, but a book?
     
  7. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Okinawan Karate by Mark Bishop, History of Karate by Morio Higaonna, also Okinawa The History of the Island People by George H. Kerr. All good reading.
     
  8. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I concur with Dr. Yang's books. I have "The Essence of Shaolin White Crane, The Foundations of White Crane Kung Fu and The Root of Okinawan Karate". Now back to the OP. [​IMG]
     
  9. Shifu Steve

    Shifu Steve Green Belt

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    Thanks everyone. I have read Dr. Yang's book on Qigong (I need to read it again) and also the ones suggested by Musashi, Hyams, and Taisen Deshimaru (The Zen Way to the Martial Arts). I could always read them again because I'm sure there are many lessons in there waiting for me that I have not uncovered. I will definitely look into the ones suggested that I'm not familiar with.

    Has anyone come across anything decent that describes Da Mo bringing his 18 movement muscle/tendon change classic (and marrow washing classic) to the Shaolin Monks?
     
  10. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    History in East Asia - China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, etc.
    Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts (Bushido--The Way of the Warrior) by Donn F. Draeger and Robert W. Smith

    History in China
    The Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts - 5000 years. Professor Kang Ge-Wu
     
  11. xJOHNx

    xJOHNx Purple Belt

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    No, it says:
    adjust to the tempo of your opponent, then overthrow his balance by upping your tempo. Timing, tempo and distance.

    That's one of the things I remember, last time I read it was 3 years ago. As the book says, this should be studied very carefully.
     
  12. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Try the Sun Tzu II: The lost art of war by Cleary by Harper-Collins Press. Its the deep more detailed lessons record by Sun Tzu's protoge Sun Bin
     
  13. blindsage

    blindsage Master of Arts

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  14. Shifu Steve

    Shifu Steve Green Belt

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    Outstanding. Thank you everybody.
     
  15. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    By the way, I just saw the movie "Kuro-Obi" or "Black Belt." OUTSTANDING! I you take a break from the books, I recommend it highly. Not chop-saki, it actually has good karate in it and a real storyline. Great characters you care about. It's in Japanese with English subtitles.
     
  16. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I purchased this book many years ago, and shelved it for many more. I feel it is acquired reading, and can only be appreciated once you have arrived at a certain point in your training. This book of Strategy is very refreshing once you have demonstrated a strong working knowledge of techniques from which to draw from. :asian:
     
  17. Master Stallion

    Master Stallion White Belt

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    Bill, I am not sure what translation of Musashi you have, but if all you got out of it was "attack attack" then you are seriously missing the point.
    Musashi addresses training, attitude, devotion, dedication...he addresses distance and the importance of "spontaneous reaction to stimulus". He discusses many important martial art concepts. He thoroughly talks about using rhythm and timing... if you have ever heard of the "lion's heart beat", and you can understand the rhythm of a fight, then you also understand the importance of not only speed and timing, but also its relation to "stop gaps" and quickness and distance.
    Musashi makes statements like "you must attack from your center and attack your opponent's center". This has many meanings...he is not only talking about using your hips and driving from your legs, but he is also using a metaphor. One can interpret one's center to mean one's heart, but furthermore, one can interpret "center" as one's "focus"...etc etc
    Musashi has a lot to offer if and i strongly suggest revisiting his book of 5 rings. He actually states in his introduction that: "It may seem that I am repeating the same thing over and over, but while this is true, it is only to reinforce my teachings upon you. By rereading this and through repetition, you will be able to come to understanding my Way of strategy. I will NOT leave it to you to quickly grasp my ideas in passing". Maybe you did not quickly grasp the greater concept and I don't blame you. The first time I read it I felt the same...but after much more experience I assure you it offers more then "attack attack and attack again".
     
  18. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    The other thing to realise with the Go Rin No Sho is that Musashi wrote it for a specific purpose, and for a specific person. When he was nearing the end of his life he wanted to leave his art to three people, Terao Magonojo, who he felt had excellent technique but lacked in his understanding, Terao's younger brother Kyumanosuke, who he felt lacked a little in technique, but had very deep understanding, and Furuhashi Sozaemon. To aid Terao Magonojo in his understanding, he gave him a treatise on his understanding of strategy, called the Go Rin No Sho, on the condition that Terao burned it after reading it. However, Furuhashi borrowed the book, and on orders from Hosokawa Mitsuhisa, made two copies. One for Hosokawa, and the other for himself. The Hosokawa version is the basis for the version that is known today.

    So when it comes to reading that particular book, remember it was designed for someone who had excellent technical abilities, and simply needed (in Musashi's opinion) to have greater depth of strategic understanding. It is designed to be read only by practitioners of Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, and is written specifically with such a persons previous knowledge in mind. As such, members of the Ryu say that only they are really in a position to be able to read the Go Rin No Sho the way it was intended, and really understand what it is saying. That, of course, doesn't mean that no-one else can get anything out of it (I would say that, if read thoroughly and carefully, anyone can get incredible insight out of it), but only Niten Ichi Ryu swordsmen can really get all the tiny aspects. So to get the most out of it, get a Niten practitioner to go through it with you!
     
  19. repz

    repz Green Belt

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    I love this movie, i bought it a few months ago and re-saw it this morning.123
     

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