• Twenty-four women martial artists discuss the physical and spiritual challenges of martial arts training and how it helps bring meaning and purpose to their lives
• Women aged 12 to 83 are interviewed on the importance and meaning of martial arts in their lives.
• Explores in-depth why many women are dedicating themselves to the martial arts.
• An inspiration for anyone concerned with enhancing the physical, spiritual, and social dimensions of life, and for those interested in women's self-defense and safety.
Sharp Spear, Crystal Mirror explores in depth how, why, and to what effect considerable numbers of women are dedicating themselves to the martial arts. The twenty-four women interviewed here discuss the physical and spiritual challenges of martial arts training and how it helps to bring meaning and purpose to their lives. Their disciplines include T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Aikido, Capoeira, Wing Chun, Judo, Kajukenbo, Jujutsu, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Kung Fu, and their backgrounds are equally diverse. Some were accomplished athletes before beginning, while others had never been comfortable with their physical bodies until discovering the martial arts. All have received deep spiritual nourishment through their practice, integrating and healing their bodies and minds as well as enriching community bonds. Those interested in women's studies will find a wonderful sample of contemporary American women who speak articulately about the forces that have shaped their lives.
Stephanie T. Hoppe coedited a two-volume anthology on women's relationships with animals and the natural world entitled With a Fly's Eye, Whale's Wit and Woman's Heart and And a Deer's Ear, Eagle's Song, and Bear's Grace. Her many stories and interviews have been widely published, and she has written several science fiction novels. She lives in Ukiah, California, where she teaches T'ai Chi Ch'uan at the White Cloud women's T'ai Chi School.
"In interviews with women ages 12 to 83, we find these arts well integrated into a sustaining feminine identity and holistic spiritual outlook."
– Publishers Weekly
"I see women coming to the martial arts as a young movement, a new growth in the martial arts that will transform it forever in a very deep way. The martial arts will never be the same again for this influence, and that's been what my life has been about, sitting right on that cusp and being engaged in that process."
– Coleen Gragen, fifth-degree black belt Kajukenbo instructor
"In Sharp Spear, Crystal Mirror, seasoned writer Stephanie T. Hoppe conducts interviews with over 20 remarkable women who have not only excelled in martial arts but have adopted them (or been adopted by them) as a particular path to self-transformation. Sharing their experiences, we learn how martial arts can transform a person and how martial artists can begin to transform society through leadership and self-development training."
– Brian Bruya, Amazon.com
"In simple terms, this book is about 'Women Warriors on the Integration of the Body, Mind and Spirit,' as stated by the author on the front cover. But it is much more. The interviewing technique-relevant questions appropriate to the person being interviewed, recorded on tape-give an immediacy to the chapters. The discussions seem very real, very pertinent. It is a valuable book for any woman who trains, to encourage thinking and feeling about that training."