Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia by Thomas A. Green
Publisher: ABC-CLIO; 2 Vol. Set edition
This is a look at many unique fighting styles from around the world, encompassing not only judo and karate but also archery, dueling, stick fighting, and wrestling, among others. Topics were selected based on the following premise: "Martial arts are considered to be systems that blend the physical components of combat with strategy, philosophy, tradition or other features that distinguish them from pure physical reaction."
There are 96 articles of at least three pages each, written by academics and practitioners alike. Some entries cover specific styles, such as aikido, capoeira, and wing chun, and include history of the style, significant individuals, major components of the style, and most common levels of achievement. Other entries discuss a wide range of related topics: Chivalry; Medicine, traditional Chinese; Swordsmanship, European medieval; Wrestling and grappling: India. All entries are signed and provide cross-references and sometimes extensive bibliographies. At the end of volume 2 are a chronological history of significant events in martial arts from around 30,000 years ago to 1993 and a general bibliography listing books, theses, magazine articles, and Web sites. A detailed index rounds out the set.
The level of scholarship is high and the information is thorough. While giving a nod to martial arts in popular culture, the volumes provide a much more comprehensive approach to fighting styles than is offered by looking at films and professional wrestling. At the same time, this is not a "how-to-guide." Photographs are informative and illustrative but not instructional as to techniques.
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