Book: Martial Arts are not just for Kicking Butt — An Anthology of Writings on Martial Arts

This book contains 12 writings of various lengths and styles on various martial arts (plus an introduction, an intermission and contributor introductions). The common theme is using martial arts for something else than violence. All the writings have been previously published somewhere else in the 1980s and 90s. The arts presented in the book (if I counted right…) are aikido, boxing, capoeira, escrima, iaijutsu, jeet kune do, judo/jiujitsu, and taichi.


Book: Martial Arts are not just for Kicking Butt – An Anthology of Writings on Martial Arts
Editors: Antonio Cuevas & Jennifer Lee
Print year: 1998
Publisher: North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California

Extra info: Some might argue whether or not all the arts included are actually martial arts at all, but I will not go down that road. ”Let a hundred flowers bloom.”

Nekomata’s thoughts on the book

This collection of writings felt a bit like a roller-coaster. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a cheesy self-help book, sometimes like I was reading a story that was placed in a far-away place and time and had nothing to do with me. And lots of things in between. It took a while to tune in on a new text from a new author every time the chapter changed. These types of books need to be read with an open mind.

Some of the writings were very informational, some were eye-opening, some were just… odd. But I think the oddness just reulted from me, as a reader, not being familiar with the topic beforehand. People who commit to martial arts training either have or develop a certain way of thinking (read: crazyness 😉 ) which makes them immune to the quirks in their own art that make others go ”what the hell”.

”His persona was part Bruce Lee, part Peter Pan. I knew I was going to ask him to be my teatcher.”

For me the most interesting chapters were not the ones that centered around my main art (aikido), but the ones I knew only a little about (escrima and capoeira). The chapter about Filipino martial arts was, in my opinion, an excellent introduction to the topic. The message I took home was that there can be spirituality in just about anywhere, and growth stories bloom regardless of the art.

Even though the collection seemed fragmented, it did share a common theme and as a whole served a purpose of introducing the reader to new viewpoints and ideas. And, of course, it proved the point in its title.

”….Bill would teach an offensive karate group and a defensive ”cowardice” group separately for a semester and then have them compete. The result was always the same — the defensive group won.”


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