Out Now: Martial Arts Studies by Paul Bowman


My book Martial Arts Studies is out now!

I thought it was going to be published in May, but I have already received my own copies and a quick check online suggests that it is now available via Amazon.com in America (here) and Amazon.co.uk in the UK (here), as well as in FranceGermanyIndiaCanada, and a few other countries I looked at, but apparently it is not (yet?) available in Australia or Brazil and a one or two other significant places I glanced at… Anyway, it is out now in hardback and paperback.

Buy direct from the publisher here.

If you are attending the Martial Arts Studies Conference in Cardiff in June, you will also be able to pick up a copy there (I think there will be a discount) – although you may want to read it before the conference so that you can argue with me about it over the three days 😉

Three Days of Martial Arts Studies

For those unable to attend the full three days of the Martial Arts Studies Conference, there are now more registration options:

1. Wednesday 4pm Keynote (Professor Stephen Chan, OBE), and drinks reception;

2. Thursday  including lunch, many papers and panels to choose from and two keynotes (Dr Ben Judkins, of the Kung Fu Tea Blog, and Professor Douglas Farrer, editor of Martial Arts As Embodied Knowledge);

3. Friday  including lunch, many papers and panels, a special session on new forensic approaches to the death of Bruce Lee, and a closing keynote by Professor Meaghan Morris.

New: One Day Registrations

You can now register for only one day of the three day Martial Arts Studies conference:

  • Wednesday – including the keynote of Professor Stephen Chan, OBE (SOAS) – followed by a drinks reception.
  • Thursday – including two keynotes: Dr Ben Judkins and Professor Douglas Farrer.
  • Friday – including the keynote by Professor Meaghan Morris.

There is also a reduced price student registration:


Call for Papers: The Invention of Martial Arts

A Collection Edited by Paul Bowman

In an era when researchers are expected to be very familiar with arguments about the ‘invention of tradition’, ‘imagined communities’, ‘imagined geographies’, and so on, how are scholars of martial arts to assess the traditions, narratives, common knowledges and commonplace beliefs about martial arts? This collection seeks to explore the invention of martial arts – when the word ‘invention’ is read in terms of such ground-breaking texts as The Invention of Tradition, Imagined Communities, Orientalism, and the works of cultural studies, cultural history, and cultural geography that have been stimulated in response to these seminal contributions.

Proposals are invited from scholars that engage critically with any significant aspect of ‘invention’ in, around and of martial arts – from the origin myths, folklore and popular cultural imaginings of traditions, to motivated political or ideological interventions and inventions, to the most modern, commodified, mediatized and spectacular inventions of martial arts. Contributions may include (but are not limited to) studies of:

  • Origin myths and lineage narratives in traditional martial arts;
  • Rediscovered and reconstructed martial arts;
  • The appropriation of martial arts in nationalist, nation-building, social management and other political processes;
  • The dissemination, development, and transformation of martial arts;
  • The commodification and international trade in martial arts;
  • Comparative considerations of the ‘same’ martial art in different contexts;
  • The place of martial arts in contemporary culture, society and economy;
  • Issues of the relations of martial arts to tradition, modernity, postmodernity, coloniality, postcoloniality, neocoloniality and globalisation;
  • Martial arts and/as ideology.

Proposals should be sent to Paul Bowman at BowmanP@cardiff.ac.uk

Proposals should be 150-300 words

The deadline for proposals is Monday 14th September 2015

Conference Dinners

The June 2015 Conference has two conference dinners.

On Thursday 11th June there will be a dinner at La Bodega – Cardiff’s finest Spanish restaurant. La Bodega is a very informal place where it is easy to mingle with fellow conference delegates and attendees. The staff are excellent, and the tapas flows from the kitchen until 10pm every night. Register here.

On Friday 12th June we will have a second Conference Dinner at Cardiff University’s Aberdare Hall. Aberdare Hall offers high quality food in a convivial atmosphere – and the bar prices are very reasonable. There will be a charge for this event – registration details to follow.


Martial Arts Studies Research Network events are funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council.



The Martial Arts Studies Conferences are predominantly funded by ticket sales, with some crucial extra financial support provided by the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University.

Since 2015, the publishers Rowman and Littlefield International have regularly contributed towards our costs – so we raise a glass to them.


Our Conference of 19-21 July 2016 has received sponsorship from:

The organisers would welcome further sponsorship. This will always be used to alleviate the costs incurred by student participants, first of all.

Please contact the organiser at BowmanP@cardiff.ac.uk

Past Sponsors

  • In 2015, RDX Sports generously sponsored the conference – enabling us to cover some of the costs of research students in attendance. Thank you RDX Sports.



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Martial Arts Studies Conference 2015

2015-06-13 18.17.40
Martial Arts Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Conference
Cardiff University 
10-12 June 2015

What is martial arts studies? What could it be? Is it a specific new field or is it always going to be a subsection of other disciplines? What are the possibilities and limitations of creating or developing martial arts studies? What are its key concerms, problematics, theories, orientations, and methodologies, and why? Building on recent work, such as the 2014 special issue of JOMEC Journal on martial arts studies, this conference invites proposals for 20 minute papers that engage with key questions about the field, as well as papers that present current work in any aspect martial arts studies.

Keynote Speakers:
  • Professor Stephen Chan, OBE (SOAS)
  • Professor Meaghan Morris (Sydney)
  • Professor Douglas Farrer (Guam)
  • Dr Ben Judkins (independent scholar)

Conference Organiser

Dr Paul Bowman (Cardiff University)

Email: BowmanP@cardiff.ac.uk