Start reading Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness (Popular Culture and Philosophy) [Kindle Edition]

Graham Priest , Damon A. Young
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £12.99
Kindle Price: £11.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £1.00 (8%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £11.99  
Paperback £12.99  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Book Description

Socrates, an Athenian soldier, was a calmly efficient killing machine. His student Plato was an accomplished and broad-shouldered wrestler. Martial arts and philosophy have always gone hand in hand, as well as fist in throat. Philosophical argument is closely parallel with hand-to-hand combat. And all of today’s Asian martial arts—like Karate, Kung-Fu, Judo, or Aikido—were developed to embody and apply philosophical ideas.
The Japanese martial tradition of Budo, for instance, was influenced by the three philosophical traditions of Shinto, Confucianism, and Zen Buddhism, and these philosophies are still taught in Japanese martial arts schools all across the world. As Damon Young explains in his chapter, the Japanese martial arts customs of courtesy are derived from Shinto purity, Confucian virtues, and the loving brutality of Zen.
In his interview with Bodidharma (included in the book), Graham Priest brings out aspects of Buddhist philosophy behind Shaolin Kung-Fu—how fighting monks are seeking Buddhahood, not brawls.
But as Scott Farrell’s chapter reveals, Eastern martial arts have no monopoly on philosophical traditions. Western chivalry is an education in and living revival of Aristotelian ethical theories. The Western martial art of fencing is explored by Nick Michaud, who looks at the morality of selfishness in fencing, and Christopher Lawrence and Jeremy Moss, who try to pin down what makes fencing unique: is it the sword, the techniques, the footwork, the aristocratic aura, or something else?
Jack Fuller argues that his training in Karate was an education in Stoicism. Travis Taylor and Sasha Cooper reveal the utilitarian thinking behind Jigoro Kano’s Judo. Kevin Krein maintains that the martial arts are a reply to the existentialist’s anxiety about the meaninglessness of life. Patricia Peterson examines Karate’s contribution to feminism, and Scott Beattie analyzes the role of space in the martial arts school.
Joe Lynch pits the Western ideas of Plato against the Eastern ideas of the Shaolin monks. Bronwyn Finnigan and Koji Tanaka uncover the meaning of human action as it appears in Kendo. Rick Schubert explains the meaning of mastery in the fighting arts.
Moving to ethical issues, Tamara Kohn discovers what we owe to others in Aikido. Chris Mortensen questions whether his own Buddhist pacifism is compatible with being a martial artist. In different ways, Gillian Russell and John Haffner and Jason Vogel assess the ways in which martial arts can morally compromise us.
How can the sweaty and the brutal be exquisitely beautiful? Judy Saltzman looks into the curious charm of fighting and forms, with help from Friedrich Nietzsche.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3095 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court (22 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0048EKLW6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #767,170 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What proper person can be partial... 8 Dec. 2010
As neither a philosopher nor a martial artist, I can confirm that this eclectic collection of essays has wide appeal. If you have ever sought to reconcile the cut and thrust of academic debate with its more physical equivalent, the writers in this compendium will do much to enlighten you.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Oriental martial forms attract the most introspection and comment, with many strong (and winningly illustrated) contributions. In the Occidental corner, I would single out Christopher Lawrence's exploration of why fencing still holds its appeal, for its unsentimental analysis and insight.

Congratulations therefore to the two editors for their collective vision, and for a thought-provoking and enjoyable book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martial Arts for the Mind 11 Feb. 2011
By David Lebedoff - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an important book, not only because it is unique, but because it's so
well done. The subtitle "Beating and Nothingness" suggests, correctly, that there is wit as well
within these pages.
The word "philosophy" scares many readers off, but it shouldn't in this book. It shows how
integral philosophy is to everything we do...including martial arts. There is not merely a book
for aspiring black belts. It's for any thoughtful person who would like to know more about him or herself.
David Lebedoff
Minneapolis, MN USA
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read -- entertaining, with serious ideas 12 Nov. 2011
By Clarissa - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was well coordinated. Entertaining writing style (every author has their own) and attractive ideas. The writing is accessible for a general audience and students like myself who want to learn more about the philosophy that runs with the martial arts. The short biographies are hilarious. The essays read like a mix of academic papers and personal statements, with many anecdotes to illustrate points.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fan of philosophy 27 July 2012
By Andres Vazquez - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a fan of these books. I like a lot of the essays and how they show the influence of both popular culture, as well as the many philosophical studies that can be seen in it. You learn to think about certain things, in a different way.
4.0 out of 5 stars : -)!! 16 Mar. 2015
By L. N. Mcdonald - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They think there is only one. 15 Sept. 2013
By Lon Sugihara - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The minds and souls of everyone in the world are connected in some way or another. Easy simplification of the universe. Two worlds to every black hole.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category