Asian Fighting Arts

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Author: Donn F. Draeger & Robert W. Smith
Pub: 1969 by Berkley Publishing Corp.
Pages: 207
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This is definitely a must have book for any Martial Artist. One of the very few books that can authoritatively discuss and describe a wide variety of arts from around the world without major flaws or bias. With copious B/W photos and diagrams, you will not be disappointed with this book. Both authors, Donn Draeger, and Robert Smith, have written many other books, and are both considered to be scholars of the martial arts.


 FOREWORD                       7
 China                         11
 Okinawa                       57
 Korea                         69
 Japan                         81
 India-Pakistan               141
 Burma                        155
 Thailand                     161
 Malaysia Indonesia           167
 Philippines                  185
   Select Bibliography        193
   Chinese Martial Arts Books 195
   Methods of Chinese Boxing  199
   Index                      205


About the authors

DONN F. DRAEGER is one of the world's leading authorities on Asian fighting arts. He is also one of the highest ranked non-Japanese experts in judo and has practiced many of the fighting techniques described in this book. Mr. Draeger makes his base in Tokyo, where he teaches at the international division of the famous judo Kodokan, but his work as a writer and instructor takes him throughout Asia.

ROBERT W. SMITH, well-known teacher and widely published writer on Oriental fighting arts, is one of the world's leading experts on Chinese fighting forms and techniques. He has spent many years studying self-defense methods on Taiwan.



This book is a collaborative effort reflecting a total of over five decades of practice and research on the Asian fighting arts. Eleven countries are covered. Although both authors claim some competence in the combat techniques of all these countries, for practical reasons the book was divided so that Donn Draeger was responsible for Okinawa, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines and Robert Smith for China, India, Burma, and Thailand. The remaining chapter on Malaysia and Indonesia was jointly researched and written. A broader specialization also was used: Draeger was the final arbiter on weapons systems and Smith the final authority on weaponless arts.

The fighting arts are as old as man himself. As a means of preparing an individual to defend himself and to wreak havoc on an enemy, in no other part of the world did they develop to the heights that they did in Asia. Beginning as hunting skills of prehistoric peoples, these arts developed with the experience gained when man pitted himself against man. Modern weaponry has reduced the effect and popularity of many of these methods, but vestiges still linger in sportive dress.

Many facets of Asian combat techniques appear novel to the Western reader. It comes as a surprise, then, to learn that at least some elements present in the Asian combat methods were practiced in the West well over two thousand years ago. What Plato called "fighting without an antagonist" (skiamachia) was an ancient form of shadow boxing. And there were military dances called pyrrhichia ("how to cope with an enemy"). Both types are counterparts of the kata or form training, a central part of all Asian combat techniques. Ancient Greek and Roman boxers broke stones for spectators - this practice, which the more sophisticated Asian boxers deride, nonetheless enjoys popularity throughout Asia. The abdominal shout (Japanese: ki-ai - "spirit-meeting") was used by Greeks, Romans, Irish, and other martial peoples. Even the stress put on the foothold by Asian fighting systems is not unique. In ancient Rome there was an exercise in which a man stood on a shield or disk and others tried to pull it from under him.

The story of Creugas and Damoxenus, whose sculpted figures are to be seen in the Vatican Museum (Fig. 1), shows that fighting techniques not unlike some forms of modern karate existed in Roman times. About 400 a.c. at Nemea these two fighters struggled into the dusk without a decision. They agreed to permit each other to strike one final blow, unresisted, to settle the issue. Creugas struck Damoxenus in the head and he, weathering the blow, ordered Creugas to raise his left arm. Damoxenus struck Creugas with his open hand, spear-like, with such force that it penetrated his side, killing him. This does not sound like the hooking, pile-driving blows that history tells us comprised boxing in this period and place.

Perhaps this similarity of technique in widely separated countries is coincidental. Or, perhaps our history books are simply inadequate. For it does seem that there is nothing new under the sun - nothing, that is, except the very old.

Since World War II, Western social scientists have been active in studying aspects of Asia. But none of their studies has taken account of combat techniques, armed or unarmed, and their contribution to and impact on the diverse peoples of Asia. The present work attempts to fill this gap. The unevenness of the literature on the subject required that the authors combine traditional documentary research with person-to-person, observational,and practical research. This approach has its advantages. It was F. Parkman who wrote, "...faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous into special facts. The narrator must himself be a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes." However that may be, from the accumulated mass - heeding fully what A. Schlesinger has termed the "criteria of relevance" - the authors have constructed a work on the Asian fighting arts, their origins, development, methods, and current status.

This book is not an exhaustive work: space limitations prevented this. It is designed to be an outline of Asian combat techniques rather than either a definitive history or a technical how-to-do-it manual. It does not have the symmetrical balance hoped for: this was a result of the information available to the authors rather than a bias in favor of any of the countries covered. The work does not attempt to evaluate and rate one country's methods versus those of another. Arts that are now practiced purely as sport, for example, Japanese Judo and karate and Korean yudo, are not given great emphasis. Others covered, for example, Chinese shuai chiao ("traditional wrestling") and Japanese kendo and sumo, while currently practiced as sports, are deeply imbedded in ancient combat values which make their rationale other than purely sportive.

The mere existence of a weapon haphazardly employed is quite different from a weapons system. This book treats only organized weapons system. Thus, the Oriental counterparts of the South Dakota wheat farmer with his baling hooks, or the Cuban sugar cane labrador with his machete, are not given a place here.

Many general histories were consulted. Though some of the more important of these are listed in the Select Bibliography, space considerations prevented listing all books used in the writing of this book. However, a comprehensive list of books in Chinese on the martial arts is included, and since this is the first time that such a list has been compiled it is hoped that it will prove valuable to other researchers in the field.

An old Chinese proverb has it: "in painting a tiger, one can paint the skin but not the bones." The aim here has been of an even higher order: to paint not only the bones but to get at the very marrow of the Asian combat arts, on the way delineating the network of muscles and nerves. If we have been successful, much is owed to those who helped. To say that this book could never have been completed without the aid of kind friends from many countries is not to speak empty words. The authors hope that the book justifies in small part their unstinting help. The authors, rather than they, should be charged with any errors.

We are especially grateful to the following persons and institutions for their assistance: China: S. K. Chan, Y. W. Chang, Cheng Man-ch'ing, Ch'en P'anling, Peter Ch'en, William Ch'en, Chou Ch'i-ch'un, Chu Chu-fang, Ben Fusaro, Henry Guoh, Hsu Cho-yun, W. C. C. Hu, Hung I-hsiang, Charles Kenn, Victor Kim, Kuo Feng-ch'ih, Rose Li, Li Ying-ang, T. S. Liang, Liao Wu-ch'ang, Liu Chen-huan, Liu Ta, William Paul, Tai Lien, P. S. Tao, Lionel Ts'ao, Wang Shu-chin, Wang Yen-nien, Yuan Tao. Korea: H. N. Kim, K. K. Kyung, K. T. Lee, J. W. Park, K. P. Yang. Okinawa: Gordon Warner, Shoshin Nagamine. Japan: I. Akira, S. Fujita, M. Kimura, I. Kuroda, Y. Matsumoto, C. Mitchell, K. Naganuma, M. Nakayama, K. Ogasawara, M. Oimatsu, R. Otake, N. Saito, Y. Shiba, T. Shimizu, K. Tohei, M. Ueshiba, N. Uzawa, Y. Uzawa, G. Warner, K. Watatani, G. Yamaguchi, N. Yasutaka. India: J. C. Goho (Gobar), P. K. Gode, M. A. Hanif, R. N. Mehta, B. J. Sandesara. Burma: Chit Than, Maung Gyi, Pye Thein, Tun Sa. Thailand: Chua Chakshuraksha. Malaysia: I. Arif, N. Ding, A. Majid. Philippines: R. Lapena, J. Zaide. Indonesia: Joseph Sing Jou, Tjoa Kheh Kiong, Mohammed Djoemali, Colonel Sunarjo, Dirdjoatmodjo, Ali-habsi, Swetja, Rudi Watulingas, P. Ngr. Ardika, Ida Bagus Oka Dineangkan, Arief Pamuntjak, L. T. Saranga, J; Hutauruk, W. Margono, Rachmad Soeronagoro, Hassan Hubudin, Amir Gunawan, Cheam Gek Chin, Alikusuma, M. Hardi, Dr. Van de Muellen, Jon The Beng, T. H. S. Heiro, Ambo Jetta, Kamarian Village, Ceram, Joe Devin, Zakaria, Guan Tjai, Sho Run Seng, Rasul. Organizations: Paris: Ecole Franqaise D'Extreme-Orient. Taipei: Chinese Boxing Association. Tokyo: Budokan, Goju Karate-do Honbu, Kodokan Judo Institute, Metropolitan Police Combatives School, Mizu Inari Shrine. Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art, The Library of Congress. Typewriting: Rose Berry, Patricia Brown, Doris Leufroy, Carole Liberman, Elizabeth Martin, Ruth (Gardner) Osita, Sadiko Buck Takeichi. Graphics: R. Denny, Y. Jinguji, S. Takemura. Editorial: James Kilpatrick, David Martin, George Martin, Derek Davies.



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