I recently had a chance to sit down with Itamar Zadoff who runs the “No Wax Needed” podcast. Itamar is one of the up and coming martial arts studies scholars who I had the pleasure to meet at our conference in Cardiff earlier this year. (You can see a short interview that he did with DojoTV while at the event here.) This was a great interview and we covered a number of topics including the traditional Chinese martial arts, lightsabers, Kung Fu Tea, the development of martial arts studies as well as current and upcoming projects. And given the normally text heavy format of this blog, I thought that sharing a podcast might be a nice way to mix things up.
The first two minutes of the interview are in Hebrew, but after that short introduction everything else is in English. While this podcast has traditionally focused on Hebrew language discussions of the martial arts, it sounds like there may be more content aimed at a broader audience in the future (such as this interview with Chief Gojuryu Instructor Nakamura Tetsuji). In the mean time grab your headphones, click the link, sit back and enjoy a wide ranging conversation on a variety of topics related to the study of the modern martial arts.
Here is a quick table of contents that Itamar was kind enough to pull together for anyone looking for a specific subject:
2:00 – Introduction and how Ben started writing on martial arts.
7:35 – What does your research on martial arts concern beyond the religious/historical aspect?
11:40 – Do you focus mostly on “traditional” martial arts?
14:25 – Do you practice martial arts? Do you have any other personal connection to the arts?
19:15 – Anthropological research on light saber combat and a discussion on its academic significance.
26:45 – Links to papers on light sabre combat and distinction in the purpose of martial arts in the modern world – comparing the social function of liminal (traditional) and liminoid (hyper-real) martial arts.
27:30 – What is a martial arts?
30:00 – About the idea of invented traditions.
31:30 – Are there different systems and styles of light saber combat?
35:20 – What is the profile of the light saber combat practitioner?
43:45 – About the blog Kung-Fu Tea **link**
49:45 – About cooperation in the blog.
53:20 – What are your future plans?
Additional link – Ben’s book on the social history of Wing Chun and the Southern Chinese martial arts (note the publisher has posted a chapter that you can read for free on-line).