Editorial: Show, Don’t Tell – Making Martial Arts Studies Matter

Abstract

How can we make martial arts studies matter? Returning to the issues of triviality and legitimation raised in the Spring 2017 editorial, in this essay we explore various strategies for conveying the intellectual importance of our work to a scholarly but non-specialist readership. In recent years the field of martial arts studies has made impressive strides in terms of both growth and public exposure. Yet this success suggests that increasingly gatekeepers in the form of editors, funding bodies and promotion committees will have an impact on the development of our field. Appealing to such readers is a critical next step in the creation of martial arts studies. The first draft of this editorial was presented by Benjamin Judkins as a keynote at the July 2017 Martial Arts Studies Conference at Cardiff University. It has subsequently been edited to reflect the opinions of both authors and the current context.

View/Download

DOI 10.18573/mas.46

Citation

Judkins, Benjamin N. and Bowman, Paul. 2017. ‘Show, Don’t Tell: Making Martial Arts Studies Matter’, Martial Arts Studies 5, 1-14.

Editorial: Is Martial Arts Studies Trivial?

Abstract

Before introducing the articles comprising this issue of Martial Arts Studies, this editorial first undertakes a sustained reflection on the question of whether the emergent field of martial arts studies might be regarded as trivial. In doing so, it explores possible rationales and raisons d’être of the field in terms of a reflection on the legitimation of academic subjects, especially those closest to martial arts studies, from which martial arts studies can be said to have emerged. The first draft of this reflection was originally written by Bowman in response to certain reactions to his academic interest in martial arts (hence the occasional use of the pronoun ‘I’, rather than ‘we’), but Judkins proposed that the piece form part of this issue’s editorial, because of the importance of thinking about what this ‘martial arts studies’ thing is that we are doing, what the point of it may be, and whether or not it may be trivial.

View/Download

DOI 10.18573/j.2017.10183

Citation

Bowman, Paul and Judkins, Benjamin N. 2017. ‘Is Martial Arts Trivial?’, Martial Arts Studies 4, 1-16.

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.

View/Download

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)

Gender, Fighters, and Framing on Twitter

Abstract

Most professional sports, such as hockey, tennis, and basketball, separate men’s and women’s sports leagues. In 2013, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) disrupted this pattern by showcasing its first women’s mixed martial arts (MMA) fight in a once male-only fight league. While the UFC’s inclusion of female fighters is a step forward for gender equality, the change does not come without issues. This essay focuses on the framing of female UFC fighters on Twitter over a four year period. Through an intersectional feminist analysis, it examines how Twitter users frame female fighters’ bodies in relation to gender, race, class, and sexuality. It argues that there is an imbalance in attention paid to female fighters in regards to gender, race, class, and sexuality, and this constructs contradictory messaging about feminism, female fighters’ bodies, and the UFC on Twitter.

View/Download

DOI 10.18573/J.2016.10063

Citation

Quinney, Allyson. 2016. ‘The @UFC and Third Wave Feminism? Who Woulda Thought?: Gender, Fighters, and Framing on Twitter’, Martial Arts Studies 2, 34-58

Contributor

Allyson Quinney received her Masters in Journalism from the University of British Columbia and she begins her PhD at Florida State University in the fall of 2016.

Contact the journal

If you would like to get in touch with the editorial team, you can leave a message below or email using the link below: