State, Education and Ma Liang’s New Wushu

  The Nation and the Sword Seki Juroji may be one of the most important pioneers of the traditional Asian martial arts who no one has ever heard of.  Gainty (2013) notes that Seki was a successful farmer and swordsmanship instructor from Nagano.  Like many other individuals from his generation, Seki seemed to have been…

Anime and the Education of a Martial Artist

    Introduction   Occasionally life takes a turn and one’s personal martial arts training gets moved to the back burner.  The last couple of weeks have been like that as my wife and I have been engulfed in a seemingly unending move.  It certainly could have been worse as on paper it was a…

Through a Lens Darkly (44): Martial Arts in Pre-War Japanese Schools

    Introduction   Today’s post is the result of a happy coincidence.  As regular readers will be aware, I occasionally collect and share vintage images of the Chinese martial arts.  Many of these come from the sorts of ephemera (postcards, advertisements, old newspaper clippings, newsreels) that contain interesting data on the social place of…

Spirituality in the Traditional Martial Arts – Between History and Theory

  “There is a problem with the study of martial arts similar to that identified by Markus Davidson in the case of “spiritual studies”: many of the scholars involved in the topic are themselves practitioners and their work betrays a normative apologetic agenda…As practitioners themselves these scholars have tended to underplay certain historical factors in…

Star Wars: An American Martial Arts Film Franchise?

      “When there is a fake—hippopotamus, dinosaur, sea serpent—it is not so much because it would not be possible to have the real equivalent, but because the public is meant to admire the perfection of the fake and its obedience to the program.  In this sense Disneyland not only produces illusions, but—in confessing…

Is Lightsaber Combat a Martial Art? (Episode I)

***This is the first half of two part article.  However, readers may actually want to begin by reading my recent post  What are “martial arts,” and why does knowing matter?***   “It [Ludosport] started in 2006 in Italy. A few friends got some lightsabers as gifts and being into martial arts and re-enactment fanatics they decided…