Panel 9: Pedagogy: Friday, 11.00-12.30, room 0.31




Room 0.31


PANEL 9 – Pedagogy

Room 0.31

Tommaso Gianni

Comparing martial art pedagogies: Teachings in the Leung Ting WingTsunkuen: In the EWTO-Italy-England-Germany and in the IWTA-South Korea

This paper explores a pedagogic trend occurring within Asian martial arts practiced in the “West”, taking as a case study the Leung Ting lineage of WingTsunkuen (梁挺詠春拳). It compares the pedagogy adopted in South Korea to teach this traditional Chinese kungfu system with teaching methods used in England, Germany, and Italy. The WingTsunkuen syllabus has been updated a number of times as various grandmasters have modified their pedagogies to fit a variety of purposes. Teachers attempt to remain loyal to the Chinese tradition while moderating their teaching methods to meet the desire of most students to learn practical self-defence techniques. Data for the initial comparison are drawn from historical and contemporary texts along with ethnographic field-work, including two years recent experience of participant-observation in WingTsunkuen classes in Seoul and long term past training experience in Livorno. This paper analyses the comparative data and proposes reasons for the pedagogical differences between classes in Korea and Italy. It argues that WingTsunkuen pedagogical changes are the result of negotiating tradition with modernity in an attempt to provide an updated, efficient, and “realistic” course in self-defence, as preferred by the mass of students. Scholarly communities have also contributed scientific knowledge to this trend as martial arts classes have been adopted into the curricula of a growing number of institutions of higher education. No research has yet compared the pedagogies used in different classes of a single Chinese martial art. This article attempts to fill that gap in the scholarly literature of martial arts by providing a comparative theoretical model for researchers studying change in other martial arts. Martial art instructors may also find that this model will assist them in developing new training methods.

Charles Spring

Professionalisation of Martial Arts: Case of University of Derby Developing a BA (Hons) Joint Honours Degree in Martial Arts with the European Wing Tsun Organisation in Heidelberg Germany

This paper is to discuss the development of a BA (HONS) degree programme with a partner in Germany. This is a new area of study within the British higher education sector, and potentially European and was originally trialled in the UK prior to being developed fully in Germany. In contrast Japan and China have a long history of acceptance within these areas of study. This is illustrated by the high number of institutions delivering innovative programmes which concentrate on the practical and experiential aspects to assist learning. The wider impact of these constructs has been well recognised, with particular reference to the enhancement of the overall student experience. Martial arts are a popular activity and sport, with high numbers of both amateur and professional practitioners in the United Kingdom. It was ranked 5th in the number of participants belonging to clubs in the UK in the early 2000’s and if all areas of study martial arts are added together it would be 13th for participated sports activities in the UK (Sports England 2006). This positions the martial arts above weight training, cricket, rugby union and athletics. With these figures in mind, recognising there may be a gap in the market, and with feed back from market research that showed an enthusiasm for professional development amongst martial artists, a degree programme was proposed at the University of Derby. Funding was gained to undertake research into the area of martial arts at University level in Japan and China at the National Institute for Fitness and Sports in Kanoya (NIFS) and Tianjin Sports University in China respectively. The programme was implemented and workshops based on the idea of using martial arts as learning tools where delivered in Finland and most recently Germany with very positive results for the participants.

Ian Kenvyn & Alexander Boyd

The challenge of developing an effective coach education process when dealing with an ancient embodied knowledge system; the evolution of a coaching foundation degree for a Chinese Daoist embodied learning and practice system.

Coach education within the traditional martial arts exists within a field of tension that has to balance respect and acknowledgment of ancient practice with the contemporary needs to grow an educated, effective and sustainable cohort of coaches. These coaches need to be able to recognise and respond to demands from the public while still maintaining the ethos and essence of an embodied learning and practice system. This paper charts the process through which the educational charity Lishi International engaged with Leeds Trinity University to develop an innovative and unique coach education programme for a diverse student population. This process will have relevance to other forms of practice within the martial arts that are concerned with coach education and sustainability. This is possibly the first time that a traditional embodied system from the East had been validated as a degree by a Western institution. Lishi International is a registered charity that governs the delivery of the traditional knowledge system; Weihai Lishi Quanfa, known as ‘Lishi’ which is a method of Daoist embodied learning and practice from China. Having been transmitted between family generations for thousands of years Lishi was exported to the UK in 1930. Much work has been done since then to develop pedagogies that ensure Lishi continues to be relevant and beneficial to communities in the West; where it has spread to locations throughout the UK, Europe and the USA. Lishi International had inherited a traditional coach training apprenticeship that took too many years for a student to qualify, it was recognised that to meet a growing demand for coach training from constituencies of learners who were in many ways at distance, a new intensive coach education programme needed to emerge. The key challenges included a need for coaches to be trained in three areas: Firstly, to learn the structuring framework and practice of Lishi; Secondly, how to coach Lishi to others; Thirdly, to develop professional skills that would sustain them as coaches within the creative sector. Independently conducted evaluation of the programme has highlighted the student experience, and has drawn out strengths and weaknesses to the particular approach that was adopted. This evaluation is included in the key findings of the paper. The paper will inform other embodied knowledge systems (of which there are many within the martial arts) and will have utility for all those that are concerned with coach education and sustainability.


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