Friday, February 04, 2005

Martial Arts Book

I read a good book last night about martial arts. It was a kids' book: The Martial Arts Book by Laura Scandiffio (Annick Press, 2003).

This is one of the wonderful advantages to being a parent: having the excuse to read children's books. This one was full of colorful pictures, and was skillfully written, neither talking down to nor being too technical for the average child. Or for me.

What I really like about the book is its focus: on martial arts as arts, or ways of living. It points out that many martial arts have the term "do" in them: Tae Kwon Do, Kendo, etc. Do means "way," I guess kind of like tao, which the book also mentions.

This is one remark the author makes about Tae Kwon Do: "Like other 'do' forms, it is more than a system of moves. It is a way of living and thinking, of always trying to be your best--in mind, body, and character." I like that. I'm not how one might teach that explicitly, though the instructors certainly model doing one's best in mind, body, and character. I think of Joe Houtz's patience, Greg Hughes's kindness and generosity, their clear teaching methods and acceptance of their students.

Another thing I liked about this book is the introduction it gives to many different forms of martial arts. I'm intrigued by Aikido (though the idea of having to fall often in practice worries me and my thin bones!), and Kendo. Maybe I'll try them someday.

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