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#316124 - 01/18/07 10:11 PM Books written by non-MAists
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
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?
lol

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 Sakihara
http://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 (no relation)
http://www.amazon.com/Marrow-Nation-Hist...TF8&s=books

-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 Guo
http://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 Studies
http://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
and this:
http://depts.washington.edu/jjs/conlan.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.

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#316125 - 01/19/07 02:18 PM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: Ed_Morris]
kodobrighton2006 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 28
Hi ed
Was wondering why you would think any historian might not have an ulterior motive or agenda to what they research and write about? martial artist or not. What is the criteria from seperating the reliable from the non reliable? How can you be sure something is well researched? what is your basis for knowing a peice of written history is better than any other? jumping to conclusions, answers to questions how can you be sure any of it is valid? as you are not buying some peoples work what is it and on what solid basis makes you buy someone elses work?

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#316126 - 01/19/07 03:59 PM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: kodobrighton2006]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
hmmm...I suppose I take an educated guess.

If I read 4 independant non-MAists research works that all point to the same evidence - THAT holds lots more weight than some hack trying to sell DVD's and seminars who is embellishing on the history.


here's the difference: MA materialists are specifically targeting MAists as customers. They might be tempted to change the contents to match the interests of that demographic.

non-MAists are not writing to gain MAist support...but it's true, they may have other more subtle agenda or slant.

it's just refreshing to get a new slant now and then.

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#316127 - 02/06/07 11:32 AM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: Ed_Morris]
TimBlack Offline
Exalted

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 1403
Loc: UK, Brighton
The advantage of the 'academic' history books (that is, history written by professional academics) is that the reliability tends to be very high. This is because

1) If an academic misquotes, brings out of context, or distorts, research and sources, other historians in the field will destroy his/her career. It's happened before, and it'll happen again, and academics are forced therefore to make sure that they stand by what they've written and that it stands up to scrutiny, or else lose both respect and their jobs at institutions (because no institution wants a disgraced chair/fellow).

2) Academics are just plain cleverer than lay writers. They know more, they are more skilled in interpreting, finding and evaluating sources, and they dedicate their work/lives to these skills. Lay MAist writers just don't have anywhere near the same level of ability.

3) Academics read other academics' books - so you get a kind of peer review, in that if another academic doesn't think a book is rigorously researched, or that it is just plain lying, they'll kick up a fuss.

So, if you see a book without a blatant political agenda, written by an academic working at an institution of higher learning, you can generally be pretty sure that it's a (relatively) reliable source.
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#316128 - 02/11/07 01:30 AM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: TimBlack]
TeK9 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 2257
Loc: Northern California, USA
Tim

I think that holds true more for scientific research not historical. History is very much open to interpretation as it is observable. And after all we all know history is written not necessarily by what happens, but what those in power want us to believe happend.

An example would be that kids in high school believe that in Christopher's Columbus time it was general knowledge that the world was flat. Once you reach college you are told that it is not true. Only the uneducated believed the world was flat.

Besides it's not like history can be tested to be proven wrong.
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#316129 - 03/01/07 01:04 AM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: TeK9]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Quote:

Besides it's not like history can be tested to be proven wrong.



It can and is all the time...constantly.
History or hersay

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#316130 - 03/01/07 01:05 AM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: Ed_Morris]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
some articles of interest:

Walker, Jearl D., “Karate Strikes.” American Journal of Physics 43, (1975).

Wilk, S.R. et al., “The Physics of Karate.” American Journal of Physics 51, (1983).

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#316131 - 03/01/07 08:56 AM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: Ed_Morris]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Ed:



Nothing wrong with agendas... I love a well written one in fact! The better written, more carefully edited... the better As for someone putting out a theory and trying to support it... that is what hypothesis & proof is about is it not? I like odd theories, different ideas... gravity, a round earth all kinds of things come to mind.

If something does not "bare out", ok... more will explore, "new" (likely old ideas rediscovered) ideas will always be presented. And so goes the cycle...

<<Okinawa: The History of an Island People
George H. Kerr, Mitsugu Sakihara

Finally gotten near the top of the "to read immediately" pile. Look forward even more given your respect of it...

Obviously you've read all of the Draeger, Smith, and the few Draeger-Smith works, correct? Lowry as well one assumes...?

<<Marrow of the Nation: A History of Sport and Physical Culture in Republican China
Andrew Morris (no relation)

Historical examination in the last century of martial culture in The Peoples Republic of China?

<<martial hoopla we are usually bombarded with.

"...Bombarded with martial hoopla..." That was a termendous way to put it, please may I borrow that?

One assumes you've read some of the Koryu Books put out by Diane Skoss? Any of Edwin Reischauer's <sp?> East Asian texts? The mind is like a muscle, better if used... than not. May not improve our techniques per se, but new ideas, different thoughts are not a bad thing. A new seed planted can produce interesting things by those whether encoutering or nurturing it.

Look forward to exploring more of these once finances/time permit it.

Jeff

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#316132 - 03/04/07 10:47 AM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: Ronin1966]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
"Marrow of the Nation" is mostly about the sports culture at the time in general...but he devotes 1 chapter to martial arts in particular as viewed from the larger cultural context.


The Koryu.com authors have martial training backgrounds. Often great reads, as are the MA article writers in CFA and JAMA magazines. Not to detract from their works, this thread was only to contrast a non-MAists perspective.

Thought it would be of interest to point out works that are truely 'outside the box' as opposed to authors who might be making a larger box.


Haven't read Reischauer, but his works look interesting. Thanks for the lead.

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#316133 - 03/05/07 10:45 AM Re: Books written by non-MAists [Re: TeK9]
UofM Shorin Ryu Offline
Resident Forum Breakdancer

Registered: 02/07/05
Posts: 981
Quote:

Tim

I think that holds true more for scientific research not historical. History is very much open to interpretation as it is observable. And after all we all know history is written not necessarily by what happens, but what those in power want us to believe happend.

Besides it's not like history can be tested to be proven wrong.




History follows the same scruitiny as scientific research. Test, retest, re-retest. History is only slightly more open to interpretation, there are rules of conduct for writing history, just as scientific theories.

Most people refer to this as the "single historical narrative", a "set" line by which history is perceived to have followed. For ex, there is a set perception of history during World War II. Holocaust deniers are NOT part of this academically accepted historical narrative (just as some scientific theories are not accepted by the scientific community).

In any case:
Thucydides and Caesar are very good for the Western warfare perspective
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