Welcome to the new journal Martial Arts Studies. Whether you are interested in the history, sociology, anthropology or cultural relevance of the martial arts, you are sure to find something of interest within our pages.
Martial Arts Studies is a peer reviewed online open access journal that publishes the highest quality academic work on any aspect of martial arts studies. Its aim is to foster the most informed cross-disciplinary discourse on martial arts via the cross-fertilization of perspectives. As such, it encourages interdisciplinarity. The journal publishes both themed and open issues. All contents are subject to peer and editor review.
The journal is co-edited by Paul Bowman and Benjamin Judkins, two scholars with a deep interest in the study of various hand combat practices. New issues of the journal are released every summer and winter.
Click here to visit the homepage!
Be sure to also visit the Martial Arts Studies Research Network to find more calls for papers and learn about upcoming conferences and events.
May 10, 2019 at 10:19 am
The essence of the Chinese martial-arts is the system of movement, etc., involving the dantian, qi, and jin. Many/most of the older martial-arts showed their dependence on the qi, dantian, jin principles in their use of the term “Liu He” in their official names, and if you notice, very many of the older systems have Liu He in their names, even though some of them arguably may have devolved past the strict usage of Six Harmonies type of movement. I don’t see much, if any, discussion of this basic criterion in the forum/blog … am I missing something? Many thanks.
May 11, 2019 at 9:39 am
As I am sure you have noticed by, this is a more academically focused blog that reflects my background in the social sciences and the sorts of research topics that I pursue and find interesting (many of which have to deal the with behavior of groups of people and community conflict rather than the individual level experience of practice.) Nor do I only write about the Chinese martial arts community (and the journal at the top of this page carries articles on a wide variety of martial and scholarly pursuits). With a few exceptions I shy away from discussing my own personal practice or the details of technique on this blog (and even then those moments are usually embedded in larger ethnographic projects). There are lots of other blogs and FB groups dedicated to teaching or critique of practice. But to quote my good friend Sixt Wetzler, our job as social scientists is to understand why people engage in these behaviors, not to be critics of the nature or quality of their individual practice. Hopefully that explains the unique focus of this blog. Its certainly not for everyone. Indeed, when I started it I fully expected that it would only be read by other academics who wrote on these topics.
May 11, 2019 at 11:44 am
Well, my implication was that part of the draw of martial-arts has always been the body-mechanics that derives from the ancient practices of Daoyin, TuNa, and the Jingluo. So in terms of investigating why people are drawn to the martial-arts, those practices and/or the results of those ancient practices are certainly factors. For instance, I could say that someone is drawn to the power of Chinese martial-arts exhibits, but that power comes from the body-mechanics that are unique to the ancient Asian martial-arts. So, one person could say that the draw was “power”, but another person could say that the draw was the result of unique body mechanics. Just an observation. I was curious why those unique body mechanics weren’t a consideration.
March 1, 2021 at 4:58 pm
I would disagree that ‘unique’ body mechanics are what draw people to the Chinese martial arts and find the ideas expressed in this blog a lot more interesting than simply another blog about how magnificent the Chinese martial arts are. The same could be said for any martial art, but a broad sociological overview offers a completely different perspective – Judo for instance could be studied for its ‘micro’ elements – i.e. Jigoro Kano’s modernisation of older Japanese fighting systems and its underlying principles, and there are many books, blogs and indeed classes that do so. But a macro approach that examines for instance the political and historical context in which Judo developed would also be fascinating and insightful. It would probably assume a certain level of knowledge among anyone who would take the time to read it and therefore any discussion of the finders of judo mechanics would be superfluous. As the author has stated, this blog is a social science blog, not a website for people to bang on about the intricacies of a specific martial art. I also think that referring to Chinese martial arts as ‘involving the dantian, qi, and jin’ shows quite a crude understanding of these arts. But that’s another matter.
November 19, 2021 at 11:51 am
I agree strongly. My interests are rooted in an academic perspective, not one of personal practice. In fact, if you’re going to buy into the idea of “effective” martial arts you are best off finding the best teacher, regardless of style or even their individual skill in fighting, that you can find locally.
Individual practices are somewhat under explored academically in favour of a macro approach but that, I think, is because the field is relatively underdeveloped. I believe that the methods of practice of individual groups (Not styles, which are nebulous things that never look the same between different groups anyway) and the particulars of a given practice, can serve a role similar to that of local oral histories. This is something I hope to use conceptually in my Master’s thesis. Let’s hope my belief holds water!