Friday, December 22, 2017


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Intro Music: Theme from Enter the Dragon by Lalo Schifrin

  Recorded on: December 17th, 2017
  iTunes Review
  Aikido's Hidden Ground Techniques

Interlude Music: Earth Shine by Rush

Interview: David Nemeroff and Jose Andrade

    Kung Fu Theater
    Steven Seagal
    Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere
    Koichi Tohei
    Morihei Ueshiba

   Contact Info
Before Lagertha...
    Tambuli Media
    David Nemeroff's Dojo
    Jose Andrade's Dojo Mukei no Ryu Aikido
Interlude Music: Half the World by Rush

This Week in Martial Arts: December 17th, 1977, Birthday of Katheryn Winnick
  History Channel's Vikings

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Outro Music: Voodoo Child-Jimi Hendrix/Guyageun ver. by Luna

Saturday, December 9, 2017

4.5 Stars for Academic Approaches to Martial Arts Research

In the interests of full disclosure, I was given this book for review purposes Title: Academic Approaches to Martial Arts Research
Compiled by: Michael DeMarco M.A.
Publisher: Via Media Publishing
Format: Softcover
Pages: 290
Price: $34.95 Cover Price

    Most people familiar with my reviews and other writings will know I'm a nerd and an academic at heart.  But that is not the extent of who I am.  I also love martial art, and its a rare occurrence when those two passions of mine overlap.  Martial arts have never really been given its proper due in academic circles. Kinesiology and sport science have some papers talking about injury reports, or forces delivered through various punches vs kicks. Psychology has linked up with sport science to talk about some of the beneficial secondary effects of martial arts, but that's really the limit of mainstream papers on martial arts.  This book sets about to give more people a founding on the what and how to do martial arts research for academic work.


    When I first started my martial journey, there was an actual peer reviewed, published journal entitled the Journal of Asian Martial Arts edited by Michael DeMarco.  It is now no longer published, but the articles are still available in an online format.  This book is an anthology of some of the more important articles in that journal regarding how to describe and academically research martial arts.  Many of the articles deal with martial arts from an anthropological standing, which by definition makes them hoplogical papers.  Hoplology was a word first coined by Sir Richard Burton, but was brought to the forefront by the late Donn F. Draeger, who really pioneered the idea that martial arts could serve as an basis for academic study.


    Martial arts is a very complex subject, with politics, history, culture, language, kinesiology and technology built into every aspect of it.  This book does an amazing job of trying to tease out some of the meaning of these different aspects, and how they interact to form the thing we call "martial arts".  Each article is written by experts in their field, and deliver high level of academic expression that you would expect from such professionals.  I was particularly fond of the articles by Dr. John Donohue, especially "Social Organization and Martial Systems: A Cross-Cultural Typology."  This article put into (rather rarified) words, ideas I've been formulating about martial arts, and how to both define, and categorize them.  (See my two articles on


    Okay, I admit, the level of reading is very high.  Most of the papers are written by Ph.D's and Masters level writers in their chosen fields.  This makes for some in depth reading.  It took me a long time to get through each article, because I had to re-read certain portions, and make sure I understood where they were coming from, and where they were going.  This might turn some people away, and I understand that.  I specifically went searching for this, so I was happy, and enjoyed the intellectual exercise of reading each article.


  Since I write a blog/podcast called Martial Thoughts, you'd figure an academic book dealing with martial arts would be right up my alley, and you'd be right.  My highlighter was out and in use for every article in this book.  Every piece led me to other thoughts and questions.  Some of which were answered in the other articles, some of which I'm going to have to look up more (and possibly write) on my own.  If that isn't the highest praise for a book, I don't know what is.  I understand the pure academic nature of the book may put others off, and I get that.  There are no techniques presented, there's not even really any philosophical points being made.  So that makes it different from almost every other publication.  All of which is why I'm giving this book a 4.5 out of 5 ninja stars.  I really appreciate a different take on martial arts, and I think everyone can get some deep thoughts about their own martial arts from this book.  However, the higher level communication found in this book may make it more difficult to appreciate.