Publisher Michael DeMarco started studying martial arts in 1965. At that time, there was little information available about the Asian martial traditions. What was available was often peppered with misinformation and geared toward promoting martial art schools. Because of this void of reliable material on the topic, he founded Via Media Publishing in order to publish the Journal of Asian Marital Arts, a peer-reviewed quarterly with high academic and aesthetic standards.
Mr. DeMarco’s background provided tools necessary for the publishing venture. He began studying kuntao-silat, a hybred of Chinese and Indonesian arts in the Willem Reeders lineage. His teachers were Arthur Sykes, Thomas Pepperman, and Richard Lopez. In 1973 he was introduced to Dong Style Taiji through a student of Dong Yingjie, and eventually went to study in Taiwan in 1976, 1984-85, and 1989. He studied Yang Style under Yang Qingyu (1915-2002); in Xiong Yonghe lineage; Chen Style under Du Yuze (1886-1990) and Tu Zongren (b. 1944); in Chen Yenxi lineage. Mike dabbled with other martial art styles, but remained focused on kuntao-silat and taiji.
Oriental philosophy drew Mike into the richness of Asian cultures. He received a B.A. degree in philosophy from Edinboro State University, that included a semester at Vivekananda College (Chennai, India). Mike went on receive an M.A. degree in Asian Studies, from Seton Hall University, and a certificate from the Mandarin Training Center, National Taiwan Normal University. While working a few years as a tour director in Asia, Mike was fortunate to visit many place in China, and some time in Japan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, and Indonesia. — A nice way to become familiar with Asian cultures and their martial traditions.
Mike utilized his martial art training, academic studies, and travel experience when writing articles, more than fifty for martial art periodicals including:
Arte d’Oriente (Italy) Journal of Asian Martial Arts
Black Belt Karate Budo Journal (Germany)
Inside Karate Tai Chi and Alternative Health (England)
Inside Kung Fu Taijiquan and Qigong Journal (Germany)
Internal Arts Samurai (Italy)
Taijiquan Journal and more.
Other topics he wrote about appeared in periodicals and books, such as:
Asian Review Journal of Ecumenical Studies
International Living Encyclopedia of Modern Asia
Journal of Dharma (India) Encyclopedia of World Religion
Chinese Culture (Taiwan) and more.
A great way to meet with other scholar/practitioners was by participating in academic conferences. For a decade, Mike participated annually in the Central States Anthropological Society conferences, either serving as a panel discussant or presenting papers. These panels always had a focus on Asian martial traditions. A similar panel focusing on martial traditions was held by the Association for Asian Studies that included scholar/practitioners.
Outside the U.S.A., Mike presented a paper at International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance, 8th European Congress, in 1998 London, England. A few years later he gave the keynote address at the First World Congress on Combat Sports and Martial Arts held in Amiens, France. More recently Mike was invited by Masaryk University in the Czech Republic to lecture for a week in November 2015. He lecturered on topics of martial arts research and academic publishing, and taught a class about taijiquan.
It was an insightful experience for Mike to help with a few educational television productions. He provided information and appeared in a few documentaries about martial arts that were aired on the Discovery Channel, Arts & Entertainment, The History Channel, and The Learning Channel.
Mike continues his full-time work by producing new anthologies and books. Part-time he enjoys teaching Chen and Yang taijiquan, and kuntao-silat in Santa Fe, NM. As a scholar/practitioner, he somehow maintains a fine yin-yang balance between teaching and publishing.