Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century
World renowned authority on Asian martial arts, Robert W. Smith shares more than fifty years experience in martial arts practice and research in Martial Musings. Based on reflections on the people and places that shaped martial arts in the 20th century,
Martial musings by an old curmudgeon
By Kent Fung - March 15, 2004
Robert Smith has written some great work and has done a lot for the martial arts. He is quite knowledgeable about the internal Chinese arts and judo, and has led a very interesting life. For the martial arts enthusiast, his experiences and the training opportunities he's had are quite enviable.Nevertheless, in this book, he comes across as a cantankerous old man who constantly whines about how much better everything was "back in my day." Thus, boxers like Muhammad Ali aren't fit to lick the boots of old timers like Joe Louis -- and let's not even talk about Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Evander Holyfield; movies today, especially kung fu flicks, have no redeeming social value (yes, that last bit was a BIG SHOCK to me too); and society is crass and shallow and worthless. I half expected him to start telling me how weak, worthless, and evil we all are because we didn't walk 25 miles in bare feet in the snow to go to school every day, and only after plowing a 200-acre farm and... read more
Sustainer of the Spirit
By Donald D. Davis - January 17, 2000
With the exception of politics, few human pursuits are filled with as much egotism, chicanery, and sheer nonsense as the martial arts. And like politics, few human pursuits are as capable of cultivating the highest levels of the human spirit. Robert W. Smith captures this human drama in this book. Part autobiography and part historiography, Martial Musings will appeal to all who prefer delicacy to raw meat in the martial arts. Students of the martial arts will immediately recognize Mr. Smith's name. In addition to nine articles appearing in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, he has published numerous articles and fifteen books devoted to taijiquan, xingyi, bagua, Shaolin Temple boxing, judo, wrestling, and Western boxing, as well as overviews of the fighting arts and those who practice them. His range of scholarship and practice is extraordinary. As much as anyone, he has been responsible for popularizing authentic versions of judo and Chinese martial arts in the United... read more
A Personal Book...
By C. J. Hardman - October 1, 2001
...Bound to annoy those who want a nice, squeeky-clean image of martial artists as saints and quiet, tea-sipping old men. Smith is highly experienced, he unlike most of those writing today, has really 'been around the block', so to speak. I certainly don't agree with all of his opinions, but that doesn't diminish the value of this book to me. I rather wish more martial artists of experience and repute would dare to publish their honest views, prejudices and all, and stimulate some honest discussion and debate in the martial arts community.
The book itself is a decent hardbound affair printed on quality acid-free paper. The photos are a nice sepia tone, a cool departure from the usual stock fair. Agree with him or not, Smith's works make for interesting reading. Are you really looking to become a well-rounded, educated martial artist? This book is one you can't do without. There really is something for everyone in here.
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