I read Meir Shahar’s book cover to cover. Every ten to fifteen pages I stopped to write an essay for Fightland outlining what I thought Shahar was saying. In some instances, I summarized his findings outright. I believe Fightland’s audience may not have had a chance to read a real in depth history of the Shaolin Temple, and maybe didn’t know they cared until they did read one.
I for one had my mind blown. There is so much in Shahar’s book that led to other threads within the martial arts phenomenon. The essays I wrote for Fightland were something of an exercise in reading comprehension for me, and also helped to clarify a few areas of my own research I felt had clouded up in the past few months. As has happened many times in the last two years, my ideas changed, morphed, seemed insignificant, took on new meaning, were amplified and enhanced, and eventually crystallized into a new edifice from which to work forward from.
Now I am slogging through “Thrown,” a solid book so far, but not as fascinating to me as Shahar’s book. Yet.
Here are the essays for Fightland:
Wild Monks: Origins of the Shaolin Martial Arts
From Staff to Fist: Origins of Shaolin Martial Arts
Kungfu and the Cult of Immortality