January 29, 2018 Martial Arts Studies

Ideological Efficacy Before Martial Efficacy


This article relates the training of gendai budō/mudo to theatrical performance. While there are already studies that discuss theatricality in martial arts, the aim of this paper is to provide a systematic overview of the theatrical structuring of elements of martial arts training. This could be further developed in the study of different martial arts and in comparative case studies. For this purpose, Andreas Kotte’s theory of scenic processes is used to arrange different phenomena in martial arts training systematically, representing the constitutive aspects of theatricality as derived from theatre and performance art. Gendai budō/mudo are used as cases to elaborate a systematic approach to the analysis of martial arts as theatrical performance. These examples were chosen because of their emphasis on aesthetics and technical expertise, rather than practical fighting applications. While theatricality in martial arts is usually seen as something for enjoyment or possibly to improve and display athleticism, it is argued here that theatricality has to be viewed as a mode of communication to convincingly elevate and spread information. It is therefore possible to trace ideological features such norms, values, and ideals in the theatrical staging of martial arts training.


DOI 10.18573/mas.50


Minarik, Martin. 2017. ‘Ideological Efficacy before Martial Efficacy: On the Relationship Between Martial Arts, Theatricality and Society’, Martial Arts Studies 5, 61-71.


Martin Minarik has studied Philosophy, History, as well as Theatre-, Film-, and Media Studies in Bielefeld/Germany and Vienna/ Austria. During that time, he was also a member of the off-theatre ensemble FLEISCHEREI_mobil, which he still collaborates with as an independent choreographer and performer. He is currently working at the faculty of cultural sciences at the Paderborn University, while also a PhD candidate at Hamburg University. His research includes East Asian, especially Korean, martial arts, cultural theory, theatre and performance studies, and sociological practice theory. He has practiced different martial arts since 2002, especially kukki-style taekwondo.

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