The Influence of Competitive Co-action on Kata Performance


Social facilitation is a phenomenon that can help explain performance outcomes in competitive sports. Previous research
has shown that performing in the presence of others may increase physiological arousal and that performance can be either facilitated
or inhibited depending on the skill level of the performers and the complexity of the skill performed. Although extensive research on this phenomenon has been reported in the sport psychology and related literature, previous findings have not focused on individual differences in terms of how social facilitation influences performance, and very little research has focused on martial arts. To bridge these gaps in knowledge, we investigated how a co-action situation would affect performance among 17 participants performing karate kata routines at a regional competition in SE England, comparing outcomes across age and sex variables. Expert judges awarded scores to each participant in both solo and co-action settings. Results showed higher performance scores in the co-action setting across the entire sample, with female karateka and older performers appearing to benefit the most. We argue that more research is required to explain this phenomenon, specifically with respect to understanding the apparent effects of age and sex on social facilitation.


DOI 10.18573/mas.49


Thomas, S., Lugo, R.G., Channon, A. and Spence, A. ‘The Influence of Competitive Co-action on Kata Performance’, Martial Arts Studies 5, 52-60.


Sion Thomas* is Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Greenwich, UK. He is a BASES Accredited Sport Scientist (Psychology), working with elite, professional individuals and teams across a number of disciplines. His research interests include the phenomenon of home advantage as well as hardiness amongst elite performers.
Ricardo Lugo* is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences and is an applied practitioner. His research is focused on how psychological and psychophysiological characteristics and the perception of psychosocial environments interact and influence behaviors such as performance and resilience.
Alex Channon is Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport Studies at the University of Brighton, UK. His research interests lie broadly at the intersection of sports, martial arts and society. He is a member of the Board of the Martial Arts Studies Research Network.
Alan Spence is an independent researcher based in Japan. He is interested in the relationship between psychological factors and competitive martial arts performance. He has been training in karate for 17 years and holds a first-Dan black belt.
(*first co-author)

Imposing the Terms of the Battle


The trifecta of Robert W. Smith, Donn F. Draeger, and Jon Bluming formed, for a time, the core of what became the most influential group of Western practitioners of Asian martial arts in the English-speaking world. Their collective work from the 1950s through to the 1980s was central to the basis of Western martial arts folk culture, in particular with regards to the lexicon utilized even today, the nature of how performances are understood and evaluated by the group in terms of effectiveness, the availability and interpretation of the group’s repertoires, and, perhaps most important, by establishing different modes of cultural preservation that resulted in radically different approaches to the subject matter by practitioners worldwide. These men can be juxtaposed against others selling their wares in the American domestic market at the same time, but lacking the scholarly rigor of Draeger and Smith. Such capitalistic figures include one of the most colorful figures in the history of American martial arts culture, John ‘Count Dante’ Keehan. The struggle between these two groups for control of the market illustrates how textures of knowledge and objects of knowledge were often confused in the postwar period of American martial arts development.


DOI 10.18573/J.2015.10018


Miracle, Jared. 2015. ‘Imposing the Terms of the Battle: Donn Draeger, Count Dante and the Struggle for American Martial Arts Identity’, Martial Arts Studies 1, 46-59.


Jared Miracle holds a PhD in anthropology from Texas A&M University and is currently a lecturer in Foreign Studies at Ocean University of China. He was the first researcher to conduct work with the Robert W. Smith Martial Arts Collection. His work has appeared in open-access journals including Revista de Artes Marciales Asiaticas as well as a number of popular websites. He is a frequent public speaker on topics related to Asian martial arts, popular culture, and folk studies and is presently researching a book on the development and impact of the Pokémon franchise and coauthoring a book about Chinese cricket fighting. He is the author of Now with Kung Fu Grip! How Bodybuilders, Soldiers and a Hairdresser Reinvented Martial Arts for America (McFarland & Co., 2016).

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