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ISBN 978-0-8126-9684-4


288 pages

Fall 2010

Martial Arts and Philosophy

Beating and Nothingness

Edited by Graham Priest and Damon Young
Vol. 53 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

“This brilliant book reveals how a worrier can become a warrior. A unique, refreshing, no-holds-barred expression of the spirit underlying true martial arts training. I read Martial Arts and Philosophy with increasing interest and a widening smile on my face. It’s a most intriguing and uplifting read—with intellect, humor, and good spirit enlightening the reader.”

—Sensai Stan Schmidt, Shotokan Karate master and author of Spirit of the Empty Hand

“If anyone doubts that the business of two people kicking each other in the teeth can be an art sustained by a philosophy, they should make sure that they read this extremely thought-provoking book.”

—Mark Law, author of Falling Hard: A Journey Into the World of Judo and founding editor of

 “Philosophical undercurrents of martial arts training and competition are often noted but rarely scrutinized so thoughtfully as in this book. Priest and Young have assembled a sturdy battle squad of authors whose perspectives on combat arts not only inspire readers, but encourage them to consider why it is they do what they do on the tatami, in the ring, or in the cage.”

—Stephen Koepfer, Head Coach, New York Combat Sambo, and President, American Sambo Association

“If you’re a martial artist, you need to think carefully: about how to treat your opponent, when to use your skills outside the ring, and your own ego. Martial Arts and Philosophy explores these issues, and more. Recommended reading for all thinking martial artists.”

—Kyle Noke, Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor and former bodyguard for Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin

“My first judo teacher was fond of saying ‘It’s only pain’ each time somebody got hurt. It seemed to help. With this eclectic and wide-ranging collection of essays the philosophical tag-team of Priest and Young encourage us to overcome the pain of thinking about ‘no-mindedness’ and to wrestle with the relationships between combat and Kant.”

—Ian Whittlesea, translator of The Foundations of Judo

Graham Priest practices Shitoryu Karatedo and is an Australian national kumite referee and kata judge. Just to demonstrate his lack of judgment, he writes books on logic and metaphysics, among them Beyond the Limits of Thought (2002) and Logic: A Very Short Introduction (2001). For fun, he writes articles on Buddhist philosophy.

 Damon Young is a black belt in Goju-Kai Karate and an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Distraction (2008), as well as a frequent contributor to newspapers and radio. Making the most of his philosophy training, he played a mafia thug in the Jackie Chan movie, Mr. Nice Guy.

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