Martial Arts

martial arts, various forms of self-defense, usually weaponless, based on techniques developed in ancient China, India, and Tibet. In modern times they have come into wide use for self-protection, as competitive sports, and for exercise.

Jujitsu teaches skills that enable one to overcome a bigger, stronger opponent. A popular style of jujitsu is aikido, which uses wrist, elbow, and shoulder twists and graceful falls; it is noncompetitive and incorporates various spiritual concepts. Judo, a Japanese sport created in 1882, makes use of jujitsu principles. Other popular forms of martial arts include kung fu, karate, and taekwondo, all of which emphasize blows with the feet and the side of the hand, and kendo, in which leather-covered bamboo "swords" are used. Judo and taekwondo are Olympic sports. Capoeira, a dancelike Brazilian discipline whose movements are performed to rhythmic music, is gaining in popularity.

The traditional Asian martial arts emphasize allowing ki (cosmic energy; also known as chi) to flow through one's body. This belief in ki connects the martial arts with t'ai chi ch'uan, a meditationlike discipline that emphasizes slow, graceful body movements. The most popular form of individual exercise in China, t'ai chi is often performed publicly in large groups; it has been claimed to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Martial Arts: Selected full-text books and articles

Warrior Dreams: The Martial Arts and the American Imagination
Jon J. Donohue.
Bergin & Garvey, 1994
Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture
Karl F. Friday; Seki Humitake.
University of Hawaii Press, 1997
An Effective Approach to Violence Prevention: Traditional Martial Arts in Middle School
Zivin, Gail; Hassan, Nimr R.; DePaula, Geraldine F.; Monti, Daniel A.; Harlan, Carmen; Hossain, Kashfia D.; Patterson, Ksai.
Adolescence, Vol. 36, No. 143, Fall 2001
The Martial Arts: A CO's Best Defense
Brown, Paul W.
Corrections Today, Vol. 58, No. 4, July 1996
Feminism and the Female Body: Liberating the Amazon Within
Shirley Castelnuovo; Sharon R. Guthrie.
Lynne Rienner, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Thousand Waves Experience: Intersecting Feminism and the Martial Arts"
Sport Histories: Figurational Studies in the Development of Modern Sport
Eric Dunning; Dominic Malcolm; Ivan Waddington.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "The Development of Sport in Japan"
The Deathly Embrace: Orientalism and Asian American Identity
Sheng-Mei Ma.
University of Minnesota Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Martial Metaphors and Asian America"
Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries
Robert Crego.
Greenwood Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of martial arts begins on p. 11
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