Eastern Asian Martial Arts

Most American students' familiarity with the Asian culture is limited to the martial arts and Asian food. Hopefully their interest in the martial arts will encourage a desire to learn about the culture and history of some of these Asian countries: Korea, China and Japan. Therefore, students of all genders are encouraged to register. The central theme of this course is to have students examine the historical and cultural backdrop of these countries and how they influenced the martial arts, and in turn how the martial arts influenced the historical events of various eras in these countries. We will explore the socio-political and cultural context of certain periods of time and its connection to the martial arts. We will also explore and evaluate: What is it about the Eastern Asian culture that lends itself to martial arts?

Students will be exposed to an experiential component in this class. These experiences are some of the same principles that have allowed the samurai, the ninja and the Asian martial art masters to perform at their highest level. Students will learn to understand the mindset of a martial art master. Course will utilize the following disciplines: Philosophy, History, Art, and Film.

In order to address the GLO attribution for its examination of a single issue from multiple perspectives, the course will do the following: The entire focus of my course, Eastern Asian Martial Arts in Context, analyzes the theme of how and why did the martial arts begin and flourish in these 3 Eastern Asian countries? The thrust of the course is to determine how these 3 countries had the need to develop and hone their fighting skills in order to survive and thrive. We will look at this issue from the perspectives of culture, history, government, economy, and religion. In the final research paper students must select at least 3 of the above-mentioned factors, and show how these various factors impacted and allowed your selected martial art to develop and flourish in your country.

Watch the video in which this instructor describes this FYS course.

Course Details
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
105: MW 2:00 - 3:15 pm
156: MW 3:30 - 4:45 pm
Spring 2022
Global Issues

Sheldon Rackmill

Sheldon Rackmill

Skip holds a 3rd degree black belt in the martial art AIKIDO. He was the founder and president of a martial art school in CT for over 30 years. Skip has presented workshops in a number of states. Skip has been interviewed by numerous media on his principles of integrating the martial art AIKIDO into working with businesses, police, athletes, and educators.

Skip taught Special Education for 30 years at the secondary level. He holds a Masters Degree from both Southern Illinois University and Central CT State University. He has a 6th year degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from University of Hartford. Prior to coming to Appalachian State, Skip supervised student teachers at several different universities in CT, and also supervised student teachers at ASU. Since 2011, he has taught the First Year Seminar class entitled Eastern Asian Martial Arts at ASU. He has served on The Early Intervention Team for 3 years and currently is a member of the Student Conduct Board at ASU.

Skip's hobbies are: Reading, hiking, martial arts, and UConn Basketball.