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Risk, Failure, Play illuminates the many ways in which competitive martial arts differentiate themselves from violence. Presented from the perspective of a dancer and writer, this book takes readers through the politics of everyday life as experienced through training in a range of martial arts practices such as jeet kune do, Brazilian jiu jitsu, kickboxing, Filipino martial arts, and empowerment self-defense. Author Janet O Shea shows how play gives us the ability to manage difficult realities with intelligence and demonstrates that physical play, with its immediacy and heightened risk, is particularly effective at accomplishing this task. Risk, Failure, Play also demonstrates the many ways in which physical recreation allows us to manage the complexities of our current social reality. Risk, Failure, Play intertwines personal experience with phenomenology, social psychology, dance studies, performance studies, as well as theories of play and competition in order to produce insights on pleasure, mastery, vulnerability, pain, agency, individual identity, and society. Ultimately, this book suggests that play allows us to rehearse other ways to live than the ones we see before us and challenges us to reimagine our social reality.
About the Author
Janet O'Shea is Professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA. Author of At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage and the co-editor of the Routledge Dance Studies Reader, 2nd edition, her research focuses on corporeality, interdisciplinary exchange, and the politics of everyday life. She is a practitioner of Filipino martial arts, jeet kune do, Brazilian jiu jitsu, kickboxing, and empowerment self-defense.