Martial Arts Strategy Two Enlightening Classics

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We have never run book reviews here in the Pa Kua Chang Journal in the past, however, within the last year two new books have been published which I think are worth recommending to Journal readers. Both of these works are translations of Asian classics which address the topic of strategy. These books are: The Martial Artist's Book of Five Rings translated by Hanshi Steve Kaufman and The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China translated by Ralph D. Sawyer.

Anyone who is involved in the study of combative arts should consider the serious study of strategy in warfare. Practicing technique and form is absolutely necessary, however, in only studying technique and form a student will never reach a depth of understanding required for the advancing of the martial art beyond technique and form. Going beyond technique and form means that the student grasps the principles, tactics, theories, and strategies of the art and can therefore make variations and adaptations appropriate to changing situations.

If one is involved in the study of an Asian martial tradition, it would make sense that the student would strive to study the classics of Asian war. These classics have formed the basis for the fighting theory and philosophy from which our present day martial arts draw their knowledge.

The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China (which includes The Art of War) were required study by all military scholars in China prior to the Republican period. These books formed the basis for the imperial examinations required for martial appointment in the government. As such, we can imagine that the contents of these classics formed the basis for all martial ideas and strategies in China. All of these classics emphasize outwitting the opponent through speed, stealth, flexibility, and a minimum of force.

The principles and strategies discussed in these classics are exactly those that are employed in Ba Gua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan, so any practitioner of the internal martial arts will gain valuable insight into



The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi's Classic Book of Strategy


the study of their art by researching the ancient ideas which formed the strategies we now practice in our arts today.

Most individuals who are familiar with the classic written works of China know of The Art of War, however, the other six classics of Chinese military thought have not been as available in the English language. In fact, they have only really been known to a handful of Western specialists prior to the publishing of this present work. Sawyer's book provides the researcher with all of these classics in one book.

Whereas the Seven Military Classics provides a broad range of strategic topics presented from the viewpoint of winning battles with Armies, The Book of Five Rings is a personal journal written by Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most widely acclaimed warriors in history. Musashi's introduction begins, "My name is Miyamoto Musashi. I have killed over sixty men in fights and duels." Anyone who is interested in the study of close combat will immediately be drawn to read on from an introduction like that!

Musashi draws from his fighting experiences and instincts and forms a sound strategy for combat. His strategy has been studied in great depth by martial artist, political and military leaders, and businessmen. The real value of this particular translation for the martial artist is that it was translated and presented with the martial artist in mind.

Most of the previous translations of this book have been presented for business strategy. But, as Kaufman writes in his introduction, "This is not another book about Japanese business strategy. There is a significant difference between not getting a deal signed and having your head cut off. Business is mental. War is mental and physical. The true warrior has no difficulty understanding this difference regardless of all the hype suggesting that "business is war." It absolutely is not."

Both of these translated classics offer much to any student of martial arts. These books are both now available from High View Publications. Call 800-413-8296 to order.



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Pa Kua Chang Related Periodicals

Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness: Insight Graphics, Inc., P.O. Box 221343, Chantilly, VA 22022 - Steve Rhodes and his crew at Insight Graphics continue to provide readers with interesting information relating to all aspects of Traditional Eastern health and fitness. The magazine is produced in a very high quality format.

Journal of Asian Martial Arts: 821 West 24th Street, Erie, PA 16502 - This is a high quality publication which provides well researched articles in a scholarly fashion.

Internal Strength: Watercourse Publishing, P.O. Box 280948, Lakewood, CO 80228-0948 - A new periodical dedicated to bringing the reader practical information on all styles of internal arts.

1995 Calendar of Pa Kua Chang Workshops and Seminars




Contact for Information

Wai Lun Choi

Minniapolis, MN

30 June - 3 July

Ray Hayward

(612) 874-6867

Jason Tsou

Los Angeles, CA

19 July 95

Jason Tsou

(818) 287-0811

John Painter

Santa Monica, CA

21-23 July 95

Matthew Cohen

(310) 392-6788

Park Bok Nam

Pacific Grove, CA

7-9 Sept 95

Dan Miller

(408) 655-2990

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Martial Arts An Introduction

Martial Arts An Introduction

Anytime an individual decides to learn how to protect themselves, learn self defense, or become a better person, one thing comes to mind - Martial Arts. Martial Arts are now being practiced all over the world.

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