PANEL 3 – Martial Science
“Just be Natural With Your Body” The Paradox of Studying Pain Phenomenologically in Mixed Martial Arts Fighting
The aim of my contribution to MMA studies is to investigate bodily experiences through an autoethnographic fieldwork in an MMA club and to analyze what experiences of pain can contribute to the understanding of the phenomena of MMA in general and the violence associated with the sport in particular. I argue, that by experiencing pain, the researcher can sense the emotional and instrumental affects of MMA practice. Thereby I can identify violence and comprehend the transformation of my body’s development and evaluate the embodied accomplishments gained from the fighting process. Informed by Julia Kristeva’s notion on horror and Maurice Merleau-Pontys’ phenomenology of the body I discuss the concept of stained-violence and do so by focusing on an inter-subjective approach to the concept of a body’s abject. As a vital source of the autoethnographical knowledge, I claim that the researchers own bodily reformation is an important asset when examining the consequences of engaging in MMA training. Thus a further aim of this conference paper presentation is to apply a body-based method of performing ethnography in order to examine what kinds of bodily improvements that develops. Finally, I propose that the force in MMA that is released onto the opponent outward in the octagon is optimized and disciplined in the exchange of embodied and controlled knowledge.
Keith R. Kernspecht
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.
Bridging the Gap: Investigating Effectiveness in Self-Defence
Physical assaults are a pertinent problem of society (e.g. Kajs, Schumacher, & Vital, 2014; Tiesman, Hendricks, Konda, & Hartley, 2014). One strategy in order to prevent violence is to strengthen the capacities to defend oneself (Koss, 1990), which is the scope of various self-defence programs and systems. Self-Defence skills are being taught throughout the world targeting different users. Even though potential effects on daily behaviour include the use of self-protective strategies, it is important to document if individuals learn the skills taught in self-defence classes and if they are able to perform the skills when these are warranted (Gidycz & Dardis, 2014). Very limited behavioural or self-reported information exists about the mastery and use of self-defence skills. This leads to uncertainty in which approach to use regarding the actual application of skills in a real world settings. This lack of identifying key moderators for program effectiveness provides an opportunity for ideologically loaded arguments about which self-defence system or approach can be applied best. Consequently, regarding the effectiveness of self-defence approaches, even in professional domains like the law enforcement sector, there is no consensus on which approach is most effective. The methodological problem in investigating effectiveness of skill application in an experimental setting is the gap between safety and reality. In real world incidents high physical, cognitive and emotional demands are posed on the individual. Due to ethical concerns (e.g. safety of participants) the level of demand can only partially be applied in experimental settings, making it hard to identify key moderators of program effectiveness. The presentation explores how and to what extent simulation designs can bridge the gap between reality and safety, providing a basis for discussion regarding the investigation of self-defence training effectiveness.