Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation

  • Originally published on the site on Thursday, 17th June 2010

A Bartitsu essay by Tony Wolf is featured in this new two-volume encyclopedia from ABC-CLIO publishing.

You can click this link to visit Martial Arts of the World at At US$144.00, the encyclopedia is primarily intended for libraries, but serious collectors of quality martial arts literature will want their own copies.

Films from Hollywood to Hong Kong and such competitions as MMA and Ultimate Fighting give us vivid, if oversimplified, images of martial arts in action. But the realities of the world’s martial arts traditions—their histories, philosophies, codes of honor, and methods—are richer than any pop culture portrayal can suggest, with centuries-old combat disciplines practiced in virtually every corner of the globe.

ABC-CLIO’s Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation is the most authoritative reference ever published on combat disciplines from around the world and across history. Coverage includes Shaolin monks, jousting knights, Roman gladiators, Westerner gunfighters, samurai warriors, and heavyweight boxers. These iconic figures and many more are featured in this title, as well as representatives of less well known but no less fascinating systems, all vividly characterized by expert contributors from around the world who are themselves martial arts practitioners.

Martial Arts of the World comprises 120 entries in two volumes. The first volume is organized geographically to explore the historic development of martial arts styles in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The second volume looks at martial arts thematically, with coverage of belief systems, modern martial arts competitions, and a wide range of such topics as folklore, women in martial arts, martial arts and the military, and martial arts and the media.

The encyclopedia offers notably in-depth coverage of areas that have often been neglected in similar works, including martial arts of European, African, South American and Oceanean origins. Another real strength is the emphasis on “Themes” in the second volume, likewise offering truly insightful coverage of the relationship between martial arts training and belief systems, folklore, media, military and paramilitary cultures, performing arts and politics, among other topics.

The four-page Bartitsu entry is featured in the second volume as a case-study of the globalisation of the martial arts. It covers the origins, creation, slide into obscurity, rediscovery and modern-day revival of E.W. Barton-Wright’s “New Art of Self Defence”.

Bartitsu is also referenced in entries on the Jujitsuffragettes, the international spread of jiujitsu, French canne fencing etc.

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