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PROFESSOR'S BOOK LOOKS AT MARTIAL ARTS AS A CULTURAL HERITAGE

Martial arts is a way of life for Hiroyuki Hamada, associate professor of exercise science, physical education and recreation, and when he's not teaching it, he's promoting it in other ways.

Hamada's fifth martial arts book, "Quintessence of Japanese Classical Martial Arts" was published recently by Kendall/Hunt.

The book, which he uses as the text for his classes, explores each of the disciplines of modern martial arts, including Samurai, Karatedo, Aikido and Judo. It provides an in-depth look at the religion, life and culture that influenced each discipline.

Hamada not only discusses the historical concepts of martial arts in Japan, but also provides a comparative analysis between modern and classical martial arts.

"The book provides general readers and professional teachers with an appreciation for martial arts as a cultural heritage," said Hamada.

Geared toward students and professional instructors studying martial arts as a way of life, the book should also appeal to anyone with an interest in Japanese culture, Hamada added.

"Quintessence of Japanese Classical Martial Arts," the second edition of a book he wrote in 1990, provides a more comprehensive focus on the historical perspectives of martial arts and within the various disciplines, Hamada said. It also contains new chapters on martial culture and specialized weapons systems, as well as additional insight on the ancient masters and their views on martial strategy.

Hamada, who began studying modern martial arts from his father at age 5, is the highest ranking martial arts master outside of Japan. He has reached the rank of Hanshi Kyudan; there is only one other rarely attained higher rank in the world of martial arts.

"We study the discipline to achieve mind, body and spiritual harmony," Hamada explained.

From white belts to black belts, more than 70 students took Hamada's martial arts course this semester. In his classes, students discover their body limitations, which helps them concentrate properly and manage stress, said Hamada, who has taught thousands of students at Old Dominion over the past 25 years.

This article was posted on: April 25, 2000

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