I've been finding it refreshing to read non-MAist historical material, mainly due to my growing annoyance of discovering ulterior motives and self-supporting agendas.
when it comes to history...I want well researched, very detailed referencing of sources, honest and accurate translation and as unbiased a writing as possible.
Big warning sign: An MAist creates their own ryu and bases the philosophy upon their 'discovered' theories of combat. Then they write a book. In the book they give an intricate history that supports their 'discovered theories'. A critical reading of the logic and sources reveils jumps of conclusion, opinion marked as fact, selective regurgitation sometimes even taking references to other material out of context.
ummm...can we honestly take that historic 'research' as research at all seriously when we know that particular version of it 'happens' to promote their theories, their ryu and their seminar enrollment?
I'm not buying it.
but finding historical research works pertinent to our interests as MAists without it containing the MAist's spin is more work for us. ...but it's worth it. (if interested...it's certainly not needed to know the history of Okinawa in order to take someone down to the ground.)
here are a couple non-MAist authored sources of interest...it'd be cool if people added more to the thread.Okinawa: The History of an Island People George H. Kerr, Mitsugu Sakiharahttp://www.amazon.com/Okinawa-History-Ge...TF8&s=books
- excellent and perhaps only English outline of Okinawan/Ryukyu history. this work was written in the 50's - a post-war US government sponsored research project.Marrow of the Nation: A History of Sport and Physical Culture in Republican China Andrew Morris
-Want to read about what the Chinese national culture and attitude towards MA and sports really was during the 19th and 20th century? Kindof blows all the romantic tales from this time period out of the water to give you a different perspective.Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey Brian Kennedy, Elizabeth Guohttp://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Martial-Ar...TF8&s=books
- ok, granted, the author has ties/background in Martial Arts ...but he is one of the few that doesn't seem to accept things at face value or regurgitate just to fill up pages. This manual summary is a wealth of links for further research - and the commentary is direct and hard in cutting thru some of the martial hoopla we are usually bombarded with.The Journal of Japanese Studieshttp://depts.washington.edu/jjs/
-A wealth of little known articles and research papers. The articles come in soft-cover but binded book form for durability.
my favorite article is this one:http://depts.washington.edu/jjs/nelson.htm
but there are a host of others ranging from historical, cultural and contemporary.The 33 Strategies of War Robert Greene http://www.amazon.com/33-Strategies-War-Robert-Greene/dp/0670034576
-Tired of reading 'Book of 5 rings' or 'Art of war' ? try this. It's like a modern version of Sun Tzu...and no, this book doesn't have political spin.The Complete History of China J.A.G. Roberts http://www.amazon.com/Complete-History-China-G-Roberts/dp/0750931922
-A wapping 500+ pages starting from prehistoric thru each dynasty to modern goings-on in that part of the world. A good sweeping overview to give you historical context of major events and turning points in her history.
Just those sources alone, when overlayed with the history I thought I knew from reading MAists versions, gave me a very different perspective of MA in a general historical sense ...and in some cases - some very specific points of interest that conflict with the prettier picture the current Martial Arts literary world wants to present.
You won't find 'secrets' or nuggets that you can point to and say "ah ha! you are wrong!" ...they aren't fact finding reads - it's more like a gradual "ah...I see..."
like I said, not reading for training - it won't do anything to improve technique. just, if interested.