Stuart's Reviews > Martial Arts Are Not Just for Kicking Butt: An Anthology of Writing on Martial Arts

Martial Arts Are Not Just for Kicking Butt by Jennifer Lee
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's review
Aug 28, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: encyclopedia-reference-martial-arts, stories-martial-arts, a-review
Recommended for: Capoeira (Angola & Regional) Students, Aikido Students, Female Boxers, North Atlantic Pub. fans
Read from August 28 to 31, 2014 — I own a copy

A book with skydiving potential, but its "chute" never opens fully.

Editors Antonio Cuevas and Jennifer Lee have done a difficult job. Almost a third of the anthology stories are written by well-known North Atlantic writers (Almeida, Gilby aka Robert Smith, Heckler, Sieh, Wiley, etc.). A true kaleidoscope of very different perspectives from many practices and arts; Aikido, Boxing, Capoeira, Escrima, Iaijutsu, Jeet Kune Do, Tai Chi Chuan.

Each story carries its own seeds. The exploration of Rene Denfeld's experience as a female boxer is somewhat uncommon but, an extremely well written story. Editors Cuevas and Lee hint at the fundamental purpose(s) of these accounts in the Introduction (pp. xii) "... Understanding your minds will and your bodies strength, your range of limitations and possibilities are the foremost challenges of practicing martial arts..."

Unfortunately, much of this publication is never quite that sharp again nor as clear. Several stories are far weaker than the others. "External and Internal" by Ron Sieh is one glaring example. Sieh's philosophical discussions used drawings where the correct medium was the written word. While most other authors in this compilation were credible and often potent with their command of words, Sieh's drawings are a weak substitute.

Another of the far weaker contributions was "Terry Dobson Yawns in Slumber" by Miki Ross. The work by Ross appears part eulogy, and part biography. A candid but wickedly unflattering story. Ross's description of Mr. Dobson's meaningful decline is puzzling. What value or purpose frankly does describing the severe decline of a famous Aikido practitioner hold for any reader?

Some stories take root, others do not. Works of a similar, haphazard flavor might be Women in the Martial Arts Women in the Martial Arts by Carol Wiley. Wiley's stories are far stronger, if at times almost as disjointed.

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Reading Progress

10/28/2014 marked as: read

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