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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christian L. Novetzke
SIS 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

Unlike most historical narratives of modern globalization, the general history of the martial arts emerged from Asia and spread throughout the world, exemplified by one of the University of Washington’s most famous students, Bruce Lee. It was at UW that Bruce Lee began teaching his art and started to consider the deeper cultural and philosophical principles of his style and all martial arts. Inspired by Bruce Lee’s legacy, this course will continue that exploration by examining world cultures and their histories through the martial arts, focusing primarily on Asia and on Asian art hybrids in Europe and the Americas, especially regarding the “open” or “empty” hand version of those arts (i.e. without weapons). In this seminar, we will study how the martial arts have preserved religious, cultural, and philosophical aspects of the world areas of their origin, as well as the new cultures and international communities that have adopted their practices. We will examine how martial arts provide embodied histories of their cultures of origin as well as new canvases for the invention of contemporary martial arts. Our study will explore the martial arts of many world areas, including India, China, Japan, and Korea, and their reinvention in places like Brazil, Europe, and America. We’ll investigate both the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of each art and its technical sciences of the body through readings, guest lectures, and participating in actual martial arts instruction.

Note Crosslist with CHID 498C.

Counts Toward IS Major as "CORE". Fulfills "I&S" requirement at UW.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course employs two distinct learning environments. On Tuesdays we’ll have a seminar format in a traditional classroom, where we will meet for one class period (1 hour 50 minutes), during which we will collectively discuss the readings as well as the history, culture, and philosophical/religious ideas and specifics of the martial art and world area highlighted for that week. On Thursdays we’ll meet in a martial arts studio at the IMA for practical instruction or “practicum” in the martial art subject for the week taught by a guest instructor (in either Studio 111 or Mat Room B). All classes will emphasize safety and inclusivity—everyone of every level of experience (or complete lack of experience) or physical ability will be welcome and accommodated. Note that we will screen Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon from 6-8pm on Friday, February 17, 2012. Please reserve this time in your schedules.

Recommended preparation


Class assignments and grading

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Christian L. Novetzke
Date: 10/19/2011