Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World

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D. S. Farrer, John Whalen-Bridge
SUNY Press, Dec 1, 2011 - Art - 261 pages
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This landmark work provides a wide-ranging scholarly consideration of the traditional Asian martial arts. Most of the contributors to the volume are practitioners of the martial arts, and all are keenly aware that these traditions now exist in a transnational context. The book’s cutting-edge research includes ethnography and approaches from film, literature, performance, and theater studies.

Three central aspects emerge from this book: martial arts as embodied fantasy, as a culturally embedded form of self-cultivation, and as a continuous process of identity formation. Contributors explore several popular and highbrow cultural considerations, including the career of Bruce Lee, Chinese wuxia films, and Don DeLillo’s novel Running Dog. Ethnographies explored describe how the social body trains in martial arts and how martial arts are constructed in transnational training. Ultimately, this academic study of martial arts offers a focal point for new understandings of cultural and social beliefs and of practice and agency.

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1 Introduction
Part I Embodied Fantasy
2 Some Versions of the Samurai
3 The Fantasy Corpus of Martial Arts or The Communication of Bruce Lee
4 Body Masculinity and Representation in Chinese Martial Arts Films
Part II How the Social Body Trains
5 The Training of Perceptionin Javanese Martial Arts
6 Thai Boxing
Part III Transnational SelfConstruction
7 From Floor to Stage
8 The Oriental Martial Arts as Hybrid Totems Together with Orientalized Avatars
9 CoffeeShop Gods

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About the author (2011)

D. S. Farrer is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Guam and the author of Shadows of the Prophet: Martial Arts and Sufi Mysticism.

John Whalen-Bridge is Associate Professor of English at the National University of Singapore and the editor of several books, including (with Gary Storhoff) American Buddhism as a Way of Life, also published by SUNY Press.

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