Sidney Gamble's Film of a Martial Arts Pilgrimage Ritual

Sidney Gamble's Film of a Martial Arts Pilgrimage Ritual

Ben Judkins has a great write up on the context of this film!  Many of us have seen the last few minutes of it completely out of context (starting at 11:43). The whole thing is fascinating. If I was teaching a class about my book Possible Origins, this would be a great film to show and discuss. 

Do read Judkins' commentary, I just have a few things to add. 

Gamble worked for the YMCA in the 1930s, long after the values of the YMCA had become Chinese state institutions. He is curious about Chinese religion and theatricality in a way the foreshadows Taiwan's role in preserving Daoist

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What is Rooting in the Martial Arts?

What is Rooting in the Martial Arts?

Rooting in the martial arts is roughly defined as transmitting force from outside the body to the ground. Paired with drop steps, these two methods are the most common ways of generating power in a punch or a strike. Drop steps are timed with the moment of impact to increase the amount of mass being transmitted into the opponent. Rooting allows one to push the opponent. That rooted push can either move them backwards, or if they collapse their structure, penetrate into their body.  

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Portland and Thresholds

Portland and Thresholds

I recently had a breakthrough in teaching. I started thinking in terms of thresholds. I'll get back to that, but first let me remind readers that I'm teaching in Portland this weekend! 

I'm also doing a little book signing at Portland Shaolin Friday evening, where I am planning to spill some of the hot stuff from my next book which is all about Tai Chi. I discovered a play that features Zhang Sanfeng fighting 24 palace guards, and it dates to the Sixteenth Century, it is the oldest reference to Tai Chi ever discovered other than General Qi Jiguang. And I also dive into Qi Jiguang's participation in a Zhang Sanfeng cult. Yes, I'm doing this! Will you be there?

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Is Surgery Better than Qigong? Ask Claude Lévi-Strauss

Is Surgery Better than Qigong? Ask Claude Lévi-Strauss

We have tested the idea that what a patient believes is the cause of placebo, and belief isn't the cause. Placebo's work on small children and animals, do they really think they are convincing animals to "believe?" But people who are embedded in Protestant Scientistic culture just can't hear that. It is a good example of cognitive dissonance. 

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/surgery-is-one-hell-of-a-placebo/

 

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Did Self-Defense Inspire Women's Equality?

The notion of sovereignty is and always has been related to an entities ability to defend itself. To be sovereign one must have the capacity to set boundaries. The idea of individual sovereignty is no different. It is no coincidence that the notion of women's rights came about in the same decade (1850) as the Colt 45 revolver.  Yes, there have alway been women who were good with weapons, but the Colt 45 was the first mass produced weapon that was easy for anyone to carry and deploy. 

The video below of Dr Emelyne Godfrey on Suffragette jujitsu explores how notions of crime and punishment were changing in the 1800s and led to an interest in unarmed combat. Perhaps, as a society becomes wealthier it sees property crimes as less immoral, and crimes of assault as more immoral. Life had to become less "cheap" for people to want self-defense without weapons. Very interesting subject, much to think about. Check it out! 

Dr Emelyne Godfrey presenting on the jujitsu of nineteenth and early twentieth century Suffragettes in the UK at the Martial Arts Studies Research Network event in Bath, UK, on 3rd May 2017

A Citation and a Review

A Citation and a Review

Paul Bowman's latest paper on embodiment has a citation, and a wonderful footnote at the end, for my book Possible Origins. It's called, "Embodiment as Embodiment of." I suspect readers will need an Academia.edu account to access it. Accounts are free, it's a great service. And I really appreciate the citations because that's how I will get my book into libraries. That and Journal reviews of course.

Chris Pierce wrote a review of how fun it is to collaborate with me. Check it out. I'm always looking for collaborators. Collaborating is difficult, but with the right person/people it is very rewarding. Reach out if you want to work on something amazing.

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Methods are Overrated

Methods are Overrated

As my readers may know, I spent 9 years living as an urban hermit while I was studying Religious Daoism with Liu Ming. The practice itself included a large number of different methods. Just on the surface, I constructed an elevated quiet room dedicated to solo meditation and tea ceremony which was painted with faux gold leaf, it had sliding shoji doors and fitted tatami mats. Some of the methods included a great deal of reading and reciting, following a complex calendar, building and rebuilding a community center several times using fengshui, diagnostic cooking with Chinese herbs and other diet-regulatory practices, ritual bathing for purification; not to mention my daily qigong, daoyin, gongfu, neijia, practices as well as music, teaching, and an unbelievable amount of free time.

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The Artifact of Not Stepping

The Artifact of Not Stepping

Warning: This post is a bit gruesome.

The emphasis on "applications" in martial arts training has long seemed contrived to me. When you are training more than five hours a day, every day, as I did in my early twenties, you quickly learn that techniques are as common as blades of grass and not very important to the overall skill set.  But also that some techniques are simpler and more important than others.

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Martial Arts Anthropology

Martial Arts Anthropology

Douglas Farrer sent me this, nice to see martial arts getting its due:

Dear friends, co-authors, and colleagues,

The panel 'Anthropology, martial arts and the State' was accepted today for a major forthcoming conference AAS/ASA/ASAANZ 2017, SHIFTING STATES, Adelaide 11-14 Dec. For details see: http://shiftingstates.info/theme

This is a significant moment in martial arts studies as it demonstrates international academic interest in the investigation of martial arts as a scholarly discourse. I hope to see you there!! Any volunteers for papers, or to act as discussant, please contact me.

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