Thai Boxing. Vintage postcard, circa 1910s. Source: Author’s Personal Collection.
Earlier this morning I was faced with a choice. Should I write about Nietzsche (and a certain martial art), or Robert Putnam (and an entirely different fighting system). Its hard to sit down and read the news these days without thinking of Nietzsche, so I opted for Putnam. Both provided interesting thought experiments, but the second path has the added advantage of introducing new concepts, metaphors, authors and arts that are not often discussed in the current martial arts studies literature.
Putnam himself is a good example of this. While not the most frequently invoked thinker within the field of martial arts studies, I certainly run across Nietzsche’s name from time to time. Yet despite a high-profile career at Harvard University, the supervision of a generation of brilliant graduate students, and his many contributions to the social sciences…
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