Combatology: in search of a unifying theory of fighting

Since the 1990’s international scientists of different academic departments have been meeting and sharing their researches of a common topic: The Martial Arts and Combat Sports (MA&CS). The point of views vary from historical, sociological, anthropological or philosophical up to bio-technical, kinesiological, psychological or fight-logical approaches. The last one describes the search for an own theory of fighting. Although there exist some single publications in this field (Kernspecht 1987, Maslak 1980), they mostly limit themselves to a single Martial Art style. The objective of a common theory of fighting could be to explain the different ideas and purposes of the MA&CS in general. That there is a demand to define a theory is underpinned e.g. by Cynarski & Siebert (2012), proposing that such a theory should refer – apart from anthropology and other fields – especially to fighting skills and could be sectioned in different vertical levels, like strategy and tactics. Therefore, the authors suggest an approach to that research field, using a transfer from military theory – basing on known military strategists like Clausewitz (1999) or Luttwak (2001). In a first step the term theory shall be defined, following definitions from Clausewitz, Giesen (1995), Schütz (1945) and others. The authors plan to presented a model, which is a transfer from Luttwak’s strategic model, illustrating a pyramid structure, starting with the fundamental techniques on the bottom and ending on the top with concepts and principles, including three other levels between (Brizin & Kernspecht 2014: repetition of presentations in Tskukuba 2013 and Rzeszów 2014 of the International Martial Arts and Combat Sports Scientific Society, IMACSSS). In a third step, the authors use the definition of the term “purpose” in the same way as Clausewitz or Luhmann (1968) use it and apply it to the existing model. For the field of self-defence, Kernspecht already solved that question about “purpose & means” in different publications (Kernspecht 2000, 2011a, 2011b, 2013, 2014). That way it is possible to deliver one structure as an umbrella, so that every Martial Art can try to define itself with similar concepts. Thus, this model could help to facilitate a future networking and understanding of the different MA&CS.

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