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Combat, Ritual, and Performance: Anthropology of the Martial Arts

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This is the first book to describe martial arts and martial behaviors as serious topics deserving of serious study. Although there have been a number of readers dealing with warfare, this is the only one that, among other things, focuses on the warrior, both ancient and modern.

Presents a collection of readings which introduce the study of martial behaviors in a cross-cultural context. The subject matter ranges from a consideration of the warclub as weapon and status symbol among the chiefdoms of the American Southwest at the time of European contact to contemporary ritual warfare in the highlands of Bolivia.

All over the world, warriors have left their mark on culture. Their codes of behavior become the basis of diplomacy, models of service, and courage in the protection of social institutions. Chivalry in the West arose from the codes of the noble knights and ^IBushido^R, (The Way of the Warrior), the Bible of the Samurai, still serves as the basis of etiquette in modern Japan. In practically every society myths and tales of culture heroes who are warriors are important in the enculturation and socialization of children. Martial arts, which are stylized behaviors displaying techniques related to those practiced on the battlefield, are considered here to be more about culture, art, and history than about fighting.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published November 30, 2002

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David E. Jones

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
5 reviews
October 9, 2020
A quick review of Combat, Ritual, and Performance an Anthropology of Martial Arts edited by David E. Jones. I enjoyed this book for all of the information it had on hand-to-hand combat. Especially the Women's Army of the Dahomey, written by Catherine Hodge McCoid and Yvonne J. Johnson, which was the reason I ordered this book. It did not disappoint by giving a solid perspective between the men and women's regiments within the King's army. In this chapter, they go over the organization and functions of the army, specifically the women's army; as well as possible military training and the different types of status as defined by the weapons they used, and the ability and duties attached to them; as well as the women in leadership, combat, and their influence in and by the slave trade, which was taking place during the height of their culture. Also, I appreciated the expanded context of women's roles within African societies, especially pre-European settlement. There were many African Queens, warriors, and 'sorceresses' who ruled and combated European efforts. A favorite and now on my list of 'to look-up' Aboulaye Mamani of Niger.
Other useful chapters were Bwang: A martial arts of the Caroline Islands by William A. Lessa and Carlos G. Velez-Ibanez. This chapter has so much useful information on different types of offensive and defensive strikes, positions, and movements that I would consider buying this book for that alone. Herein is a concentration of knowledge that combines body movements, basic physics principles, and the utilization of a warrior's environment.
The Ayyars: Warriors of Seistan in Afghanistan by Homayun Sidky; Ritual and the Ideal of Society in Karate by Michael Ashkenazi; War clubs in Falcon Warriors: War Club use in Southeastern Native American Chiefdoms by Wayne Van Horn, were informative and intriguing chapters. However, Herding the Ox, Wielding the Sword by John J. Donohue, really changed my perception of zen in war arts.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in martial arts worldwide and in bringing a rich depth to the combat in their writing.
#scholarly #bookreview #bookstagram #martialarts #anthropology #warrior #warriorculture
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7 reviews
February 17, 2011
Jones has taken on the hero's labor of identifying and utilizing scant resources. He assembles this all into a quite plausible holism making this a great anthropological jump into the world of martial arts. This text has done well to lay the foundation for, I hope, continued research in the subject.
June 6, 2011
Jones's Introduction and the chapter on the Ronin were the most interesting for my purposes. Solid work, not earthshaking though.
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews

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