THE MARTIAL ARTS by Susan & Richard Chin Ribner


Email this review


Ribner and Chin's introduction to the martial arts emphasizes their paradoxical peaceful qualities and their role in physical, mental, and spiritual development as distinct from their mere usefulness in combat. Citing anecdotes and aphorisms of Oriental masters which illustrate the theory and philosophy behind each technique, the authors survey the history, exercises, training routines, etc., of the Chinese kung fu (originally an aid to meditation, later okayed for self defense or helping others); Japanese judo (developed from the more dangerous and militaristic jujitsu); karate, which began as an underground movement in weaponless occupied Okinawa; t'ai chi ch'uan, with its emphasis on softness and yielding; akido, whose founder was heavily into jujitsu until blessed with the unexpected revelation that the true meaning of the martial arts is ""love""; and other traditions geared respectively to swordsmen, women (the authors, however, are conscientiously non-sexist in discussing all the arts), and spies. It is difficult to discuss these traditions apart from their cultural contexts, and the authors, understandably reluctant to take on all of Eastern civilization, sometimes settle instead for a somewhat blurred background. Nevertheless their timely, smoothly written survey is informative within its self-limitations.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row