Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review of Asian Martial Arts; Edited by Michael A. DeMarco

A Sad Farewell

    It is with a sad and heavy heart that I review Asian Martial Arts: Constructive Thoughts & Practical Applications; Edited by Michael A. DeMarco. 
    I say sad, because this book marks the end of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.  A noble and herculean endeavor first started by Mr. DeMarco in 1991.  His goal, and I believed he achieved it during the time the journal was being published, was to provide a congregated platform for serious, academic study of martial arts.  It was a place for serious scholars, who didn't get much attention in their own fields, for writing martial arts articles.  There was also a place for in depth, reviews of martial arts themed books and movies.  Instead of coming from a film or book critique point of view, these reviews came  from a educated martial artist point of view.  Unfortunately the Journal ceased physical publication in 2012.  Though it is still available, and possibly ongoing, in electronic format (and you can buy individual articles).  This book is a sort of farewell to the journal.
    I say guilty, because I let me attention of the Journal lapse.  I would get the journal from the giant bookstores, but more often then not I would flip through it in the store to determine if I should get it.  As it turns out, in this book, Dave Lowry give the Japanese term for doing that (tachi-yomi).  So at least, I know I'm not alone.  I actually learned of this book through an interview with Mr. DeMarco from the Hiyaa Martial Arts Podcast

Physical Appearance

    The book itself is around 6.5x9 (inches for any international readers whose country is smart enough to use the metric system).  I normally don't really talk about the cover of the book, but this book is beautiful.  The cover is gorgeous.  When I opened the package from Amazon, I was taken with the cover of the book.  It doesn't show on the picture, but the red lettering of the title is a embossed red foil of some sort.  The brush art of the warrior conveys the motion of the sword swing better than most art I've seen.  It does a great job of showing the martial spirit of the man.


    The content is broken into two parts.  The first is different martial arts scholars and authors sort of giving their take on what the Journal was, and saying their goodbyes.  The second is an interesting collection where Mr. DeMarco had asked martial artist from various schools, styles, and backgrounds, to demonstrate, and document one of their favorite techniques.  As I love looking at different martial theories and tactics, I loved this section of the book.  There was a great variety, and they all held value.  It was a nice little glimpse into the minds of great martial artists.
5/5 Ninja Stars


    This book is bittersweet in that I loved the book, but felt that it signified an end of an academic center of martial arts, for martial artists.  The cover alone should grant it a couple of stars, but the book itself is great, even if it does signify an end.  That's why I give it a full 5 Ninja Stars out of 5.

P.S.  If you are interested in getting this book, please go through the Martial Thoughts Amazon Store.  It gives us a small bit, for getting more books to review, and you doesn't cost you anything extra. 

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