The Influence of Competitive Co-action on Kata Performance

Abstract

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.

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DOI 10.18573/mas.49

Citation

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.

Contributors

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)

Captivation, False Connection and Secret Societies in Singapore

Abstract

Interminable ritual repetition of set movements (taolu) has resulted in Chinese martial arts facing trenchant criticism as being useless in fight sports, mixed martial arts, and actual combat. In Singapore, the neglect of body-callousing or conditioning methods in Chinese martial arts may render them unfit for unarmed combat. This led me to ask whether the entire edifice of set practice in the martial arts is based upon a false connection. Researching Hong Shen Choy Li Fut, a Chinese fighting style notoriously infested with gangsters in the red-light district of Singapore, I was informed that all Chinese martial arts and lion dance associations are triads. Nevertheless, even here I was shown curious dancelike interpretations for martial arts moves taught. Does the endless repetition of sets captivate the performer into a delusional belief that they are becoming a better fighter? Are the audiences of such sets, performed in dramatic rendition, similarly held captive in a false connection?

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DOI 10.18573/mas.48

Citation

Farrer, D.S. ‘Captivation, False Connection and Secret Societies in Singapore, Martial Arts Studies 5, 36-51.

Contributor

Douglas Farrer is Visiting Professor of Performance at the University of Plymouth, and Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Guam. He has conducted extensive field research in Singapore, Malaysia, and Guam. Dr. Farrer’s research interests include martial arts, sorcery, anthropology of performance, visual anthropology, sociology of religion, social theory and psychoanalysis. His publications include War Magic: Religion, Sorcery, and Performance [2016]; Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World [2011]; and Shadows of the Prophet: Martial Arts and Sufi Mysticism [2009].

Efficacy and Entertainment in Martial Arts Studies

Abstract

Martial anthropology offers a nomadological approach to Martial Arts Studies featuring Southern Praying Mantis, Hung Sing Choy Li Fut, Yapese stick dance, Chin Woo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and seni silat to address the infinity loop model in the anthropology of performance/performance studies which binds together efficacy and entertainment, ritual and theatre, social and aesthetic drama, concealment and revelation. The infinity loop model assumes a positive feedback loop where efficacy flows into entertainment and vice versa. The problem addressed here is what occurs when efficacy and entertainment collide? Misframing, captivation, occulturation, and false connections are related as they emerged in anthropological fieldwork settings from research into martial arts conducted since 2001, where confounded variables may result in new beliefs in the restoration of behaviour.

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10.18573/J.2015.10017

Citation

Farrer, D.S. 2015. ‘Efficacy and Entertainment in Martial Arts Studies: Anthropological Perspectives’, Martial Arts Studies 1, 46-59

Contributor

Dr. Douglas Farrer is Head of Anthropology at the University of Guam. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Guam. D. S. Farrer’s research interests include martial arts, the anthropology of performance, visual anthropology, the anthropology of the ocean, digital anthropology, and the sociology of religion. He authored Shadows of the Prophet: Martial Arts and Sufi Mysticism, and co-edited Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World. Recently Dr. Farrer compiled ‘War Magic and Warrior Religion: Cross-Cultural Investigations’ for Social Analysis. On Guam he is researching Brazilian jiu-jitsu, scuba diving, and Micronesian anthropology.

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