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Zen in the Martial Arts

Author: Joe Hyams

Translated by Neculai Amalinei
Polirom Publishing House, Iasi, 2014.

152 pages, 135x200 mm
ISBN: 978-973-46-4783-5
Price: 24.95 RON

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Zen in the Martial Arts

Several hundred books have been written about performing the Oriental martial arts, but no more than a handful address the significance of Zen in the martial arts. This is an unfortunate oversight since the martial arts in their finest form are much more than a physical contest between two opponents – a means of imposing one's will or inflicting damage upon another. Rather, for the true master, karate, kung-fu, aikido, wing-chun, and all the other martial arts are essentially avenues through which they can achieve spiritual serenity, mental tranquility, and the deepest self-confidence.

The role of Zen in the martial arts defies easy definition because Zen has no theory; it is an inner knowing for which there is no clearly stated dogma. The Zen of martial arts deemphasizes the power of the intellect and extols that of intuitive action. Its ultimate aim is to free the individual from anger, illusion, and false passion.
It is possible for the student to make contact with Zen in the martial arts only by a slow and roundabout route. Once I came to this realization, familiar to all true masters of the arts, I began to keep notes on my discoveries. For the past decade, Zen in the Martial Arts has been the great story over my horizon, the book I most wanted to write. But there was always another master to study with or another discipline to learn before I felt I was prepared.

This is not a book, however, for the reader who wishes to master Zen, for the concepts central to that tradition are certainly not acquired from the written word. Nor is this a book for those who expect to learn how to perform the amazing feats of martial artists who break boards and bricks with their bare hands and easily defeat several opponents at a time. The reader interested only in learning about the physical aspects of the martial arts can adventure alone in the literature without my guidance. Instead, this is a book from which readers may learn to apply the principles of Zen, as reflected in the martial arts, to their lives and thus open up a potential source of inner strength they may never have dreamt they possessed.

Joe Hyams – Zen in the Martial Arts

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