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The Fighting Arts: Their Evolution from Secret Societies to Modern Times Paperback – 25 Oct 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: YMAA Publication Center (25 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886969213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886969216
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.2 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,626,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The Fighting Arts takes the reader on a thought-provoking journey in this treatise on how to fighting has evolved."--Lois Reagan Thomas "News Sentinel ""

About the Author

Michael J. Rosenbaum was born on May 12, 1961 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He started his martial arts training at the age of five when his father instructed him in both Judo and Boxing. At the age of fifteen, he began studying Isshin Ryu Karate and by the time of his seventeenth birthday he had been introduced to the Burmese fighting art of Bando. At the age of eighteen Michael enlisted in the U.S. Army.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Where do I start? This is the only book I have read that made me angry - not because there was an arguement I did not agree with, but simply because it was such a poor book. I really wanted to enjoy it but had to force myself to read it all the way through.
The cover is very promising but the book does not describe the evolution from secret societies to modern times... no mention at all of secret societies, how they formed, their history and traditions and HOW they have changed in the modern era.
The book is badly edited with many spelling and gramatical errors and if it is supposed to be academic - which I think it tries to be - there is a completely inconsistent approach to referencing (in some sections, there is a reference for almost every sentence!), no thread of an arguement, poor writing style and when it does start to get interesting... it moves onto another issue. The only good section of the book is the bibliography which I have used extensively.
A message to the author - please be more focussed in future and decide exactly what you want to write about. Be more detailed instead of eclective. You chose a huge subject and had some very interesting headings and sub-headings that showed much promise but consistently failed to deliver my expectations.
A message to the publishers and editor - do a better job of editing please. It is your job to ensure a good read, correct spelling and gramatical mistakes, ensure proper and appropriate referencing is used and that the book has direction.
Overall an extremely disapointing book - I wish I had not forced myself to read it.
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By "orloffdb" on 24 April 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is not a starters book. To enjoy it you must realise that this is no starters guide, nor a book on how to beat people up while shouting YOW! I approached it with the formers ideals, and was dissapointed on that account. This may not be any of the above, but it is a definitive look into the history and the evolution of the ancient martial arts. It also comments on how the martial arts are often misintereperated as a wholey Eastern tradition, but in fact they were well spread around the world, but at this later date there is a lack of published material on the subject, so not many people are aware of it. But it is a good book if you are into the pyschoogical side of the arts, and if you are interested in history. It takes a good look at how changing culture reflects the change in self defense methods, and how the martial arts are constantly evolving.There are lots of snippets of zen and tao wisdom and the comments on primal rage and how it can be channeled are useful and inspiring. It also, at the end, gives the authors views and solutions to the modern day threats of terrorism, fire arms and the modern views on violence. Anyway, a good light relief book for martial artists.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Ugh 13 Jan. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Imagine reading a freshman English 101 paper on the "fighting arts". Only it's 100 pages long (about [...] per page of main text). That's "The Fighting Arts". Utterly devoid of interesting insights, grasp of history or even enthusiasm for its subject, it reads like the contractually required 5th book in a 5 book deal. Would it interest you to know that Western knightly martial arts included systems of hand-to-hand combat and knowledge of a variety of joint locks? Me too. And now you know just about all this book has to say on the topic, because that's the level of detail offered. Are you vaguely aware that different cultures affect each other over time? If so, you may be over-qualified for this book already. Go to a Borders store, stand in the Martial Arts section and read any 15 page introduction to just about any martial arts book. You'll learn just about all this book has to say.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Well worth the read 25 Feb. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Rosenbaum's approach is far from a how to or how to do martial arts..Instead he explains in a very easy to understand manner just how the fighting arts evolved due to our cultural moors and traditions, not just Asian but other counties as well. From thisfoundation he then clear points out the differences between oldworld battlefield martial arts and their evolution and our modern quasi martial arts that consist of many things most not of a martial nature. It is well sourced and historically correct. He uses various systems and styles as examples of to explain his points, from Tae Kwon Do to JKD, UFC and others well known today. His views are at times blunt in their ascessments of todays fighting arts especially when compared to those practiced 100-200 years ago. All in all I really enjoyed it, found it refreshing,educational and even at times challenging compared to what I have been led to believe about the marital arts.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of a kind 25 Nov. 2002
By tom - Published on
Format: Paperback
First off this is the only martial arts book that I've ever seen that has it's forward written by a pulitzer nominee. The approach the author takes is very unique in that he focuses on the development of the fighting arts from cultural perspectives, religon, ethics,warfare, geography, etc and points out how these played key roles in the development of martial arts both of Asian and European heritage. He breaks the book down into two major areas, classical systems and modern ones and then compares the two. If you think that your a fighter on par with the knights of old or the ancient samurai this book will bust your bubble and fast. Likewise if you think that just because you do karate you hold the same mindset as the military elites, Seals, Green Berets, Rangers you will also be in store for some shocks. The book is well sourced, over 100 footenotes and it covers not only civilian fighting arts but those of our modern day military as well giving insights into the differences between them and how they are used. The chapter on Terrorism and its relationship to martial arts was well put and his view of how the fighting arts fit into todays modern world is one well worth considering. At the price you can't beat it. No matter who you are or what you pracitce this book will stir your thoughts. But beware if you think Hollywood has the greatest martial artists that have ever lived, Bruce Lee included, then this book will be a cold slap in the face for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good premise 18 May 2006
By A. Dennard - Published on
Format: Paperback
The author has good ideas and excellent sources to back up his work. I think it's a very enlightening look at what our modern martial arts truly are and what they are capable of. Those who consider their modern art to be identical in form and purpose to the systems practiced in the ancient past will be disappointed and will likely strongly disagree with Rosenbaum's points. I also appreciate his discussion of Western martial arts. Most people are unaware of the existence of true "martial arts" in Western history, so it is interesting to see some of that information presented as well.

While I enjoyed the book, I only gave it three stars because of the often glaring grammatical errors present throughout the text. Realizing that it is impossible to write a book without such errors, it still seems that a better job of editing would have greatly improved the presentation and polish of the book. I liked the points raised throughout, but I found myself repeatedly having to go back and reread a paragraph because of some the grammatical errors.

Overall, a very good book with some excellent points, but it suffers because of a lack of polish. Worth buying if you are interested in the history and evolution of martial arts rather than just learning new techniques.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Interesting 21 Jan. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
It is a book which will make you stop and think about your training. The history he covers is not so long that you get bored with the read and his linking of modern military to ancient warrior traditions is a new trist I think in Martial Arts writing. The sources he quotes, Draeger, Ambrose, Shelby Foote and Keegan bring a depth to the book you normally wouldn't see. I do give it four stars though simply because I'm not so sure that I liked his attitude taken towards modern training. He seems at times overly critical, but still it is a book worth reading.
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