Authorship in the Martial Arts: Part I

Ever wonder how reading and writing relate to becoming a master in the martial arts? You’re in the right place.

This is the first in a series of blog posts on how books, literacy and martial arts training intertwine. But let’s start with the apparent dichotomy: How can a physical training regimen be taught through a static medium (i.e., a book)?

There’s a famous scene in The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi sees Daniel practicing karate in the apartment. “You learn from [a] book?” Miyagi asks. The premise is that you can’t learn a martial art from a series of diagrams or written instructions. These tools can be useful, and so are YouTube videos in the modern age, but you need a teacher, someone who knows the material, the curriculum. Someone who has learned through trial and error.

That’s one reason that karate works so well in a school, with instructors evaluating your execution of your forms and your sparring technique. Think about the feedback you get mentally when an instructor says “switch your stance” or “punch to the chest not the chin” in Chon Ji. A black belt instructor watching (and correcting) your every move is what you want as a student.

Books, however, are some of the most powerful weapons in any martial artist’s arsenal. These include martial arts instructional manuals, philosophic works, parenting strategies, children’s stories, and leadership books.

We’ll be exploring some of these categories over the coming weeks, so if you’re into books and improving your mind (and your kids’ minds), stay tuned.

Keep up your black belt training, and as always, thanks for reading!

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