Seattle’s “World of Martial Arts Exhibition” Notes

World of Martial Arts 2008 - Tai Chi Sword
Yang Taiji Sword

  • The annual World of Martial Arts Exhibition, sponsored by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, has been held for more than 20 years. Last weekend marked my fourth year of attendance.
  • This year’s event was the best of those four. Whether intentionally or by coincidence, the organizers and participants responded positively to my past observations.

World of Martial Arts 2008 - Seiza
Pacific Northwest Budo Association

  • Seating was well organized, in stark comparison to last year. Unfortunately, there were not enough good seats for everyone. I found myself among those standing to the side, or sitting on the floor. Thus, I had a difficult time taking pictures and video to share with you.
  • Why not hand out a program, with each performer’s name, photo, school or style and contact information? I would have listed them all here, but I have already forgotten most of the details.

Karate demonstration

  • Some performers clearly needed—and did not receive—advice on delivering a successful presentation. One group literally gave their demonstration on the opposite side of the auditorium, rushing through as if to avoid the attention of the spectators! A bit of stage fright and performance anxiety is understandable and forgivable. But at the same time, these are dangerous traits for a martial artist: if you can’t perform for an ambivalent crowd, forget about defending against an angry one.
  • That notwithstanding, I had to admire the sheer indifference displayed by the battojutsu player. His tameshigiri (“test cutting”) was quite impressive.

World of Martial Arts 2008 - Ishi Yama Ryu Battojutsu
Ishi Yama Ryu Battojutsu

  • The award for best overall presentation goes to Academia della Spada, a local group dedicated to exploring the art of European swordsmanship. They approached the crowd in full regalia, gave a brief description of their practice, presented and explained some of their training drills and freestyle games. Despite a relative lack of athleticism (in comparison to their Chinese kungfu peers), this presentation was the highlight of the evening.

World of Martial Arts 2008 - Academia della Spada
Academia della Spada


  1. Ah. Too bad. I had no idea this was coming up or I would have liked to attend. How does one find out about events like this?

Add a Comment