From Realism to Representativeness: Changing Terminology to Investigate Effectiveness in Self-Defence

Abstract

Physical assaults are an inherent problem of modern society. One strategy available to try to prevent violence is to strengthen one’s personal capacities to defend oneself. This is the scope of various self-defence programs and systems within the civil domain. While training in self-defence facilitates the use of self-protective strategies in real life situations, it is important to ascertain whether individuals learn the skills taught in self-defence classes and whether they are able to perform the skills when these are required. In order to test the effectiveness of self-defence skills in an ethically acceptable way, instructors and scholars have to design environments in which valid and practically relevant results about the performance of the learner can be obtained. The imprecise nature and the multidimensional use of terms like ‘realism’ and ‘reality-based’ leads to difficulties
in designing such environments. In this article, we argue for the need to shift the emphasis from ‘realistic’ to ‘representative’ design in testing and learning environments, with the aim of developing transferable self-defence skills within the civil domain. The Trade- Off Model of Simulation Design that we propose is intended to help instructors and scholars to make more informed decisions when designing tasks for testing or training.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10187

Citation

Staller, M.S., Zaiser, B. and Körner, S. 2017. ‘From Realism to Representativeness: Changing Terminology to Investigate Effectiveness in Self-Defence’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 70-77.

Contributor

Trans-regional Continuities of Fighting Techniques in Martial Ritual Initiations of the Malay World

Abstract

This article explores continuities in fighting techniques of martial ritual initiations found across the Malay world (Dunia Melayu). Comparison with other neighboring Asian and Southeast Asian regions shows that these techniques follow patterns and principles that can be considered as ‘properly Malay’. I argue that ‘Malayness’ is socially and politically consolidated through these initiations, not least because the techniques mobilize local cosmologies and notions of the ‘person’. These cosmologies and notions are mainly articulated through conceptions of space and time, an aspect that is underlined by the transmission processes themselves. Transmission steps show parallels with life processes such as maturation, growing and purification. The correspondences between these processes are also expressed through a specific material culture. The structures of the technical fighting systems are oriented towards principles based on religion and morality, cosmology and philosophy. All of this suggests that the efficacy of techniques should be analyzed in conjunction with larger questions of the efficacy of rituals.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10186

Citation

Facal, Gabriel. 2017. ‘Trans- regional Continuities of Fighting Techniques in Martial Ritual Initiations of the Malay World’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 46-69.

Contributor

CONTRIBUTOR
After obtaining a Master of Social Anthropology at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (2009), Gabriel Facal completed his doctoral thesis (2012) at Aix-Marseille University as a member of the Institut de recherches Asiatiques (IrAsia, Marseille) under the supervision of Professor Jean-Marc de Grave. He carried out a dozen fieldwork expeditions for a total duration of thirty-seven months in Southeast Asia. His research initially focused on ritual initiation groups and their links with religious organizations and political institutions in the West of Java and the South of Sumatra (Indonesia). Since 2013, he has completed several additional trips in different regions of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam to establish a comparative perspective.

Virtually Legitimate: Using Disembodied Media to Position Oneself in an Embodied Community

Abstract

Previous research on capoeira suggests that face-to-face training is the ideal mode of learning this art. However, there is a
robust corpus of capoeira tutorials available on YouTube. This paper asks what the function of these videos is. I analyze six comment threads taken from YouTube that exhibit a common pattern, concluding that beyond the video’s utility as a source
of information, the comments shared by community insiders serve as an invitation for aspiring students to join the embodied capoeira community, paving the way for their adoption of the underlying ethos of capoeira by socializing them into the ‘anyone can do it if they work hard enough’ discourse that is common in capoeira academies. And while this discourse itself is somewhat deceptive insofar as not everyone can do all of the moves of capoeira – even if they work hard – it is actually the mediating link between technical mastery, which could theoretically be achieved from watching videos, and embodiment of capoeira’s generative grammar, which must be learned in an embodied community setting.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10185

Citation

Griffith, Lauren Miller. 2017. ‘Virtually Legitimate: Using Disembodied Media to Position Oneself in an Embodied Community’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 36-45.

Contributor

CONTRIBUTOR
Lauren Miller Griffith is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Texas Tech University. Dr Griffith received her PhD in anthropology from Indiana University. She studies performance and tourism in Latin America and the U.S. Specifically, she focuses on the Afro- Brazilian martial art of capoeira and how non-Brazilian practitioners use travel to Brazil to increase their legitimacy within this genre.
Her work on capoeira has been published in Annals of Tourism Research, the Journal of Sport and Tourism, and Theatre Annual, and she is the author of In Search of Legitimacy: How Outsiders Become Part of the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Tradition [2016]. She is currently working on a new book titled Apprenticeship Pilgrimage [under contract with Lexington Books].

Fighting Words: Four New Document Finds Reignite Old Debates in Taijiquan Historiography

Abstract

Martial arts historiography has been at the center of China’s culture wars and a cause célèbre between traditionalists and modernizers for the better part of a century. Nowhere are the stakes higher than with the iconic art of taijiquan, where, based on a handful of documents in the Chen, Wu, and Yang lineages, traditionalists have mythologized the origins of taijiquan, claiming the Daoist immortal Zhang Sanfeng as progenitor, while modernizers won official government approval by tracing the origins to historical figures in the Chen family.
Four new document finds, consisting of manuals, genealogies, and stele rubbings, have recently emerged that disrupt the narratives of both camps, and, if authentic, would be the urtexts of the taijiquan ‘classics’, and force radical revision of our understanding of the art. This article introduces the new documents, the circumstances of their discovery, their contents, and the controversies surrounding their authenticity and significance, as well as implications for understanding broader trends in Chinese culture and politics.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10184

Citation

Wile, Douglas. 2016. ‘Fighting Words: Four New Document Finds Reignite Old Debates in Taijiquan Historiography’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 17-35.

Contributor

Douglas Wile is professor emeritus of Chinese Language and Literature from Brooklyn College-City University of New York. He holds a PhD in East Asian Languages from the University of Wisconsin, with additional training at Stanford University. He has numerous publications in the field of Chinese intellectual history, with specializations in martial arts studies and sexology. He was the first to publish a scholarly monograph on Asian martial arts with a university press and the first to offer credit-bearing college courses on taijiquan and Asian movement arts. Professor Wile has trained in various styles of five martial arts, as well as yoga and qigong, and has maintained a fifty-year practice of Yang style taijiquan.

News of the Duels

Abstract

The period between 1660 and 1670 was an eventful one for both Britain and its martial arts. 1660 saw the Restoration, where the Stuart dynasty was returned to power under Charles II and the post-Civil War Commonwealth swept away. For all the optimism at Charles’ coronation, however, his kingdom was ill at ease. Such uneasy times were also significant for the press. It is what the press (and other sources from this period) reveal about duelling practice at the time, martial arts in general, and the changing nature of violence that is the focus of this article. As the insurrections, riots and various acts of violence taking place both in Britain and abroad demonstrate, the 1660s were certainly a violent time. But, as the newspaper coverage also demonstrates, the nature of violence itself was changing. This continued a trend, dating back to the Civil War, where close quarter fighting skills had begun to give way to the relative ease and convenience of firearms. British violence found itself, ironically, in as much a state of flux as the rest of the country.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10097

Citation

Hay, Alexander. 2017. ‘News of the Duels: Restoration Duelling Culture and the Early Modern Press’, Martial Arts Studies 3, 90-102.

Contributor

Dr Alexander Hay is Lecturer of Digital Journalism at Southampton Solent University, and comes from an eclectic humanities background, covering everything from sea monsters to music journalism and reader response theory. His martial arts experience is similarly varied, and he is presently studying boxing, while retaining an on-going interest in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). His research interests include the history of journalism and online media and how they intersect with a wide range of other topics and disciplines.

Gong and Fa in Chinese Martial Arts

Abstract

The distinction between gong (skill) and fa (technique) is ubiquitous in Chinese martial arts. Utilizing Maurice Merleau- Ponty’s notion of ‘embodied intentionality’, I examine this distinction. I draw specific examples of the kinds of skills under discussion from a particular style of taijiquan – Hong Chuan Chen Shi taijiquan (Master Hong Junsheng’s transmission of Chen taiji boxing) – and I argue that understanding taijiquan in terms of embodied intentionality allows us to understand important taijiquan concepts such as chansijin, yin, and yang. Although in this article I focus on one specific style of martial art, I argue that the general analysis of the gong-fa distinction based on embodied intentionality is widely applicable.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10098

Citation

Nulty, Timothy J. 2017. ‘Gong and Fa in Chinese Martial Arts’, Martial Arts Studies 3, 51-64.

Contributor

Timothy J. Nulty is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Synthesizing Zhenshi (Authenticity) and Shizhan (Combativity)

Abstract

This article argues that Donnie Yen’s Ip Man series (2008-2015) synthesizes two predominant unarmed, hand-to-hand combat traditions of Hong Kong martial arts cinema – what I call zhenshi (真實; authenticity) and shizhan (實戰; combativity), represented by the series of kung fu films featuring Kwan Tak-hing as the legendary Wong Fei-hung and the martial arts action films of Bruce Lee respectively. Despite kung fu cinema’s claim to ‘realism’ since its conception in the 1949, there is a strong suppression of wu (武; the martial) in the genre’s action aesthetics due to the elevation of wen (文; the literary and the artistic) in traditional Chinese culture. By exposing the inherent contradictions within kung fu cinema and incorporating of combative action aesthetics derived from Bruce Lee’s martial arts philosophy and wing chun principles – what I call kuai ( 快; speed), hen (狠; brutality), and zhun (準; precision), the series presents new possibilities of wu and offers a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese kung fu.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10096

Citation

Wong, Wayne. 2017. ‘Synthesizing Zhenshi (Authenticity) and Shizhan (Combativity): Reinventing Chinese Kung Fu in Donnie Yen’s Ip Man Series (2008 – 2015)’, Martial Arts Studies 3, 6-23.

Contributor

Wayne K. T. Wong is a joint PhD student at the Department of Comparative Literature at The University of Hong Kong and the Film Studies Department at King’s College London. His research interests include martial arts cinema, action cinema, and digital culture. He is currently researching the transformation of kung fu cinema amid the hegemonic presence of Chinese cinema and Hollywood.

Applied Linguistics, Performance Theory and Muhammad Ali’s Japanese Failure

Abstract

One of the more colorful realizations of the age-old striking versus grappling rivalry came in 1976, in a fight billed as boxing versus professional wrestling. Unlike similar matches throughout history, however, this event featured the heavyweight world champion, Muhammad Ali, and the most popular Japanese professional wrestler of the day, Antonio Inoki. Investigating this event through the lens of applied linguistic anthropology reveals much about the contextual social dynamics at play. Sources including newspaper reports, interviews with witnesses and those involved, and private correspondence are considered as they unveil the complicated truth behind Ali vs. Inoki, the fight that marked a turning point in the career of history’s most celebrated boxing champion. Analysis reveals that the event was a public failure because of communication breakdown on myriad fronts. Consequently, I argue that the fight itself should be viewed as a robust form of communication in which the nuances of dialect are at play.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10095

Citation

Miracle, Jared. 2017. ‘Applied Linguistics, Performance Theory and Muhammad Ali’s Japanese Failure’, Martial Arts Studies 3, 65-71.

Contributor

Jared Miracle is author of Now with Kung Fu Grip! How Bodybuilders, Soldiers and a Hairdresser Reinvented Martial Arts for America. His research interests include transnational physical culture, martial arts, popular culture, and folk studies. He is presently researching a book on the development of the Pokémon franchise.

The Definition of Martial Arts Studies

Abstract

This article argues against all forms of scientism and the widespread perceived need to define martial arts in order to study martial arts or ‘do’ martial arts studies. It argues instead for the necessity of theory before definition, including theorisation of the orientation of the field of martial arts studies itself. Accordingly, the chapter criticises certain previous (and current) academic approaches to martial arts, particularly the failed project of hoplology. It then examines the much more promising approaches of current scholarship, such as that of Sixt Wetzler, before critiquing certain aspects of its orientation. Instead of accepting Wetzler’s ‘polysystem theory’ approach uncritically, the article argues instead for the value of a poststructuralist ‘discourse’ approach in martial arts studies.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10092

Citation

Bowman, Paul. 2017. ‘The Definition of Martial Arts Studies’, Martial Arts Studies 3, 6-23.

Contributor

Paul Bowman, Professor of Cultural Studies at Cardiff University, is author of ten books, including Martial Arts Studies: Disrupting Disciplinary Boundaries (2015). He is founder and director of the AHRC-funded Martial Arts Studies Research Network and co- editor of the journal Martial Arts Studies. His most recent book is Mythologies of Martial Arts (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)

Pink Gloves Still Give Black Eyes

 

Abstract

This article considers the gendered significance of women’s participation in combat sports, with a specific focus on the performances of femininity by female combat athletes. Against lines of argument which posit that women’s enactment of femininity is the result of restrictive, coercive, and ultimately conservative cultural pressures, respondents in two separate studies suggested that a purposeful, selective enactment of femininity, when understood in combination with their fighting ability, signified an important challenge to orthodox understandings of gender. As such, our data suggests that manoeuvring within normative cultural parameters of gender may, ironically, help to stimulate change in its structure of meanings, given that the feminine performances of these fighters ultimately posed symbolic challenges to cultural constructions of (‘normal’) women as inevitably weaker and inferior athletes compared to men. We therefore advocate that scholars with an interest in exploring the subversion of gender remain mindful of the possibility that such subversive impulses might occur via the appropriation, and re-signification, of some of its more orthodox norms.

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DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10093

Citation

Channon, Alex and Phipps, Catherine. 2017. ‘Pink Gloves Still Give Black Eyes’, Martial Arts Studies 3, 24-37.

Contributor

Alex Channon is Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport Studies at the University of Brighton, UK. His research explores various aspects of the relationship between sport, gender and the body, with a particular focus on martial arts and combat sports. Alex is the co-editor of Global Perspectives on Women in Combat Sports [Palgrave Macmillan, 2015], and the co-founder of the anti-violence initiative, Love Fighting Hate Violence [www.lfhv.org].
Catherine Phipps is a PhD student at the University of Greenwich, UK. Her research explores LGBTQ+ inclusion in university-based sport, with her wider research interests including gender and combat sports. Catherine currently competes in boxing and muay thai.

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