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Editorial Opinion


Is it time for those who write about the martial arts to become journalists? This is not to say that martial arts magazines are not written by journalists or are useless or always factually inaccurate, or that the reader should minimize the amount of work required to put out a monthly magazine. Today's product is certainly better than magazines produced a decade ago. But is paying respect still adequate journalistic policy? Has the comfortable extension into print of traditional Asian martial courtesy gone on too long, and is it just too easy?

It is time that the martial arts should expect dependable writing, factual research and informed viewpoints, not just pulp to fill in between ads. Almost no one today is doing what the mainstream media call "serious writing" about the martial arts. There are too many self-perpetuating legends and movie made heroes whose views substitute for facts. What is needed is more insightful research and more critical history; more focus on technique than on personal ego; and more critical reporting than acceptance of common knowledge and legend. A little debunking is also long overdue. Current publications underestimate their audience. Readers deserve more. They can and should be both entertained and educated.

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