The other day I said to Ali, a new recruit at AEMMA, "Hey, you must read Arabic, right?"
"Of course I do!" said Ali, who grew up in Baghdad.
"Well there's this book sitting next to the European fighting treatises in the university library," I said. "From the pictures, it looks like another martial arts treatise, but it's in Arabic script and I can't read a bit of it."
"Seriously?" said Ali. "Nobody told me the Arabs wrote martial arts treatises."
And thus a translation was born. As it turns out, the Arabic martial tradition has at least as many manuscripts as the German and Italian ones. Not only that, but it starts earlier and it contains more basic training exercises. The Arabs fought everyone: the Byzantines, the Crusaders, the Mongols, the Persians, everyone. They were the clearing-house for martial technique, especially when it comes to cavalry. This should be really cool.
Ali's a busy guy, but I'm hoping he can polish up a translation of al-Ahdab this summer. Stay tuned.