Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Turn the Page

For many years, Via Media Publishing was one of the few martial arts oriented publishing houses that focused on scholarly articles regarding our beloved pastime. The flagship has been the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.

Nothing lasts forever and VMP will cease publishing JAMA, while continuing to publish books and articles. .

Below is a guest post by the publisher Michal DeMarco.

Guest Post

by Michael DeMarco, M.A.

Via Media Publishing

 Twenty-five years ago, there were few martial art publications available to be read by anyone interesting in seriously learning about combatives. What was available usually oozed of hype and misinformation. Many of the early writings were not reliable for obtaining facts about Asian martial traditions, their theory or practice. Because of this sad state, in 1991, I decided to start Via Media Publishing and founded the quarterly Journal of Asian Martial Arts.

The initial goal was to setup a periodical that met academic standards. Articles had to provide references to ensure included “facts” were not pulled out of the air. As we all know through recent new media coverage of contemporary politics, there is great confusion over what is fact and fiction. In reality, it is not a mystery: either a statement is a fact, or it isn’t. Atheory, a guess, or a probability are not facts. Anyone serious writer should clearly state what they know with certainty, and what  remains unsure. This holds true across the board—in our case, writings on Asian martial arts.

The major difficulty in starting the journal was finding authors who understood the different between scholarly verses popular writing; the former seeing knowledge while the later is primarily produced for entertainment. The writing style needs to fit the purpose, so there are a variety of writing styles. Some write to make book sales or increase school enrollment. Cloaking a sales piece in an academic format does not work as truth is compromised by the intent.

The Journal of Asian Martial Arts was published for over twenty years. Besides providing well-research articles on a variety of topics by scholar-practitioners, the journal presented a new way to approach the study and practice of martial arts. Other publications and writers took note, and their quality of content improved. Today, much has been published on the martial arts and a good share is of very high quality.
Here is an interesting fact! — Popular writings about martial arts sell more than scholarly writings. The mass market is drawn toward entertainment. (“Are you not entertained?” asked the Gladiator).

The decision to cease publishing the Journal of Asian Martial Arts was made largely because there was not enough support. In order to keep the material available for serious practitioners and researchers, we have been publishing anthologies under specific topics falling under the main categories of China, Japan, Korean, S.E. Asian, and Other areas. At the same time, we have published a few new books, the newest being Laoshi’s Legacy:Emergence from Shadow by Jan Kauskas. This is a fictional work based on solid experience, focusing on the taijiquan of Zheng Manqing (Cheng Man-ch’ing), and is an enjoyable read that provides great insights into teaching and learning any martial art.
Because much of the journal material is now included in the anthologies, we will soon close our journal website that offers all the individual articles at low-cost. If anyone wants to purchase an article or two, now is the time to buy!
It has been a joy to produce the journal and books over the years. We hope the readings have benefited many in their research and practice, and will continue to inspire physical and mental training, as well as research regarding the martial arts. The journal’s logo is an abstract of a balanced pen and sword tip, illustrating a need for nurturing the martial and the cultured in the practitioner. 

Above all, we hope others will step up to further recognition of the need for including maturity and responsibility in martial art practice. Many have lost the Way of the Japanese “do” and the Chinese “dao”. There is great value in participating in whatever way you can, as does the CookDingsKitchen blog.

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