Keynotes 2017

Keynotes for our July 2017 conference include:

  • Benjamin N. Judkins (Cornell University), co-founder and co-editor of the journal Martial Arts Studies, founder and editor of the long-running martial arts studies blog, Kung Fu Tea (, and co-author of The Creation of Wing Chun (SUNY Press).
  • Gitanjali Kolanad (Shiv Nadar University). Gitanjali Kolanad was involved in the practice, performance, and teaching of bharata natyam for close to forty years, performing in major cities in Europe, America and India. Her short story collection “Sleeping with Movie Stars” was published in January 2011 by Penguin India. She has written numerous articles on aspects of Indian dance for well-known Indian publications. She is the 2016 Singapore International Writer in Residence with NUS University Scholars Program and The Arts House. She co-founded IMPACT, which teaches and promotes Indian martial art forms. Presently she a professor at Shiv Nadar University, developing their performing arts program.
  • Professor Peter Lorge (Vanderbilt University), author of The Reunification of China: Peace Through War under the Song Dynasty (Cambridge, 2015), Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge University Press, 2012), The Asian Military Revolution: From Gunpowder to the Bomb (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and War, Politics and Society in Early Modern China (Routledge, 2005), co-editor of Chinese and Indian Warfare: From the Classical Age to 1870 (Routledge, 2014), and editor of Debating War in Chinese History (Brill, 2013), Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (The Chinese University Press, 2011), and Warfare in China to 1600 (Ashgate, 2005).
  • Professor Meaghan Morris (University of Sydney). Professor Meaghan Morris is a figure of world stature in the field of Cultural Studies. She was recently Chair of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society and of the international Association for Cultural Studies (ACS), 2004-08. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities, and a former ARC Senior Fellow, from 2000-2012 she was founding Chair Professor of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
  • Sixt Wetzler (Deutsches Klingenmuseum – German Blade Museum, Solingen). Sixt Wetzler studied religious studies, Scandinavian literature, and medieval history at the universities of Tübingen, Reykjavík, and Freiburg. He finished his PhD on ‘The Martial Arts of Medieval Iceland: Literary representation and historical form’ in 2016. Wetzler is a member of the board of spokesmen of the commission Kampfkunst und Kampfsport (Martial Arts and Combat Sports) in the dvs (German Association for Sports Sciences). He works as curator for the Deutsches Klingenmuseum (German Blade Museum), Solingen, with a focus on the European fencing tradition and other blade fighting systems, and is among the highest ranked European practitioners of Pekiti Tirsia Kali, a Filipino martial art.


  • To see a list of all confirmed speakers, click here

Confirmed Speakers: Bath Event on Japanese Martial Arts

edith-garrud-suffragettes-700Edith Garrud, jujitsu trainer to the Suffragette bodyguard, born in Bath, UK

Here is the final line up of speakers (in alphabetical order, not running order) for the next Martial Arts Studies Research Network Event, ‘New Research on Japanese Martial Arts’, which will take place on 3rd May 2017, at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution.


Paul Bowman (Cardiff University), Michael Molasky (Waseda University)

Confirmed speakers and titles:

Bok Kyu CHOI (Korean Institute of Martial Arts): ‘Dissemination of Japanese Martial Arts to Korea’

Emelyne GODFREY (independent researcher): ‘Bartitsu and Suffragette Jujitsu of the early 20th century’

George JENNINGS (Cardiff Metropolitan University): ‘Japanese Philosophy and Global Sociology: Possibilities for an International Martial Arts Studies’

Tetsuya NAKAJIMA (Ibaraki University): ‘An Ethnographic Study of Shinkage-ryu’

Andreas NIEHAUS (Ghent University): ‘Enlightening the World: Narrating and (Re)presenting the Life of Kanô Jigorô and Ueshiba Morihei in Manga’

Keiko NITTA (Rikkyo University): ‘Critique of Violence in Asian Martial Arts Films: How Mythopoeia Has Displaced It’

Yasuhiro SAKAUE (Hitotsubashi University): ‘The Creation of Kendo’s Self-Image: 1868-1945’

Kotaro YABU (Sendai University): ‘The Dissemination of Judo in Early Twentieth-Century America: The Mission and Struggles of a Pioneer Judoka’

Communicating Embodied Knowledge: Workshops and Round Table Debate

Communicating Embodied Knowledge: Workshops and Round Table Debate

Martial Arts Studies Conference

Cardiff University, UK

11-13 July 2017

At this year’s Martial Arts Studies Conference, we will set aside time for workshops and a round table panel discussion that will explore key problematics pertinent to anyone researching, writing about or teaching martial arts.

This problem has been well posed by Loïc Wacquant, who puts it like this:

How to go from the guts to the intellect, from the comprehension of the flesh to the knowledge of the text? Here is a real problem of concrete epistemology about which we have not sufficiently reflected, and which for a long time seemed to me irresolvable. To restitute the carnal dimension of ordinary existence and the bodily anchoring of the practical knowledge constitutive of pugilism – but also of every practice, even the least ‘bodily’ in appearance – requires indeed a complete overhaul of our way of writing social science. (Loïc Wacquant, ‘The Body, The Ghetto and the Penal State’, Qual Sociol, 2009, p.122)

Not everyone working in martial arts studies will regard themselves as a social scientist, and not everyone need be completely satisfied with Wacquant’s own solution. (Wacquant mixes different styles of writing, different modes of address: sometimes literary/descriptive, sometimes confessional, emotional, ethnographic, sometimes analytical, and so on.) But all of us working in martial arts studies will benefit from thinking about this problematic further.

Some of the questions that spring up here include:

·      What concepts, metaphors, images and vocabularies are best able to convey embodied knowledge, skill, technique, experience?

·      Does one have to experience a martial art to be able to know it or write about it?

·      Is the written word actually capable of communicating any of this?

·      Might other, newer media be any better?

·      In addition to the question of how to go ‘from the guts to the intellect’, is it possible to ‘go from the intellect to the guts’, and be able to truly experience what others experienced, as in projects that try to reconstruct lost or past physical knowledge, such as HEMA?

·      Do we need a complete overhaul of our ways of thinking and our styles of academic writing?

In order to dedicate time and space to these questions, we will first break out into different groups and then regroup for a round-table panel and discussion.

The break out groups will be self-selecting and organised by the familiar ways we already tend to categorise the main kinds of approach to martial arts. So there may be a group focusing on weapons-based arts, another focusing on grappling styles, another on striking, pugilistic martial arts, and another on internal martial arts, one on reconstructed arts, and so on.

After working in our groups, we will all reconvene together and spokespeople will report back to everyone about each group’s main findings, issues, agreements and disagreements, which will lead into an open discussion.

Participation will of course be entirely voluntary.

Should anyone have specific ideas and suggestions related to any of this, please let me know by email (


Kai Morgan’s Write Ups of Our Events

Independent, non-academic martial arts blogger Kai Morgan has written up the following informal reports and reflections on many of the Network events: [Overall write-up of the Martial Arts Studies: Gender Issues in Theory and Practice conference, hosted by the University of Brighton on Friday 5 February 2016] [Overall write-up of the Kung Fury: Contemporary Debates in Martial Arts Cinema conference] [Based on Colette Balmain’s talk at the Kung Fury: Contemporary Debates in Martial Arts Cinema Conference: ‘Chick Kicks: Bad-ass heroines of Hong Kong Cinema’] [Based on three of the talks at the Kung Fury: Contemporary Debates in Martial Arts Cinema conference] [Reflections on an awkward moment at the Martial Arts Studies: Gender Issues in Theory and Practice conference, and write-up of a follow-up telephone conversation about it with Paul Bowman] [Based on Ben Judkins’ talk at the 2016 MAS Conference: ‘Liminoid Longings and Liminal Belonging: Hyper-reality, History and the Search for Meaning in the Modern Martial Arts’] [Based on Janet O’Shea talk at the 2016 MAS Conference: ‘Making Play Work: Competition, Spectacle and Intersubjectivity in Sparring and Sport Fighting’] [Based on Daniel Jaquet’s talk at the 2016 MAS Conference: ‘Lost Embodied Knowledge: Experimenting with Historical European Martial Arts out of books’] [Based on Neil R Hall’s talk at the 2016 MAS Conference: ‘A Convenient Myth’] [A two-part podcast on Kung Fu Podcasts, inspired by Kai Morgan’s article (below) on Ben Spatz’s lecture] [Based on a lecture given by Ben Spatz at the 2016 MAS Conference – ‘Embodied Research: An Epistemic Context for Martial Arts Practice’] [Based on a talk by Deborah Middleton – ‘Mindfulness and Performance’ – at the Mindfulness Turn in Martial, Healing and Performance Arts conference] [Based on a session by Pasquale Esposito – ‘The Spell of Our Body’s Point of View’ at the Mindfulness Turn in Martial, Healing and Performance Arts conference] [Based on (a) Martin Meyer’s talk at the 2016 MAS Conference (b) Ben Judkins’ article in Volume 2 of the MAS Journal: ‘The Seven Forms of Lightsaber Combat: Hyperreality and the Invention of the Martial Arts’] [Overall write-up of the Mindfulness Turn in Martial, Healing and Performance Arts conference, held at the University of Huddersfield on Saturday 19 November 2016.]

Has Martial Arts Studies had an Impact?

As you may know, last year the Martial Arts Studies Research Network received funding for conferences and activities from the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). This funding is soon (too soon) coming to an end.

In order to apply for further funding, I need to show the AHRC (or indeed any other possible funder) that our network activities to date have had an impact or influence.

So, I am calling on those who have encountered our activities to ponder this question: has the encounter changed anything you do?

Maybe you encountered the Martial Arts Studies Research Network directly, by attending one of our events or conferences. Or maybe you have encountered us indirectly, by reading one of our associated blogs, or by watching one of the talks on our YouTube channel.

In either case, has this changed anything that you do?

The AHRC thinks about change in terms of two contexts.

  • The first is ‘inside the university’. So, if you are in a university, have any of our activities altered or enriched anything that you do in terms of your writing, teaching or research?
  • The second AHRC context is ‘outside the university’, or ‘in society’, or ‘in the community’. So, have any of our activities altered or enriched anything that you do in non-academic places – whether that be, say, teaching martial arts, any outreach activities you may do, any community building, film making, writing, or anything like that?

The more examples I can give of the Martial Arts Studies Research Network having an influence, impact, or changing people’s activities or lives, in any small or large way, the more chance I have of winning further funding to continue our activities.

So, please don’t be shy. If something changed after attending, participating, viewing or reading something related to Martial Arts Studies, please let me know.

Indeed, if you have a good idea for developing something new that occurred to you thanks to something we’ve done, please let me know. One of the types of funding I’m applying for is called ‘follow on funding’. This would allow us to develop projects that link up academic work with communities or society more widely.

So, please don’t be modest or shy. You may think your change was little, but others – including funding bodies – may regard it as something significant, that they’d like to sponsor further.

To discuss anything about this, please contact me by email:

For your information: the official network site is here  my blog is here  the Facebook page is here, the YouTube channel is here, and the Twitter feed is here. Also, of course, the academic journal is here.

For anyone out there who has a blog, website, or association that they would be happy to say is intellectually and ethically affiliated with the Martial Arts Studies Research Network, please also let me know.

Thank you!


Publications, Conferences & Surveys


Happy New… Issue!

May I wish you either another or an early Happy New Year (being as we are pretty much half way between the turn of the Gregorian and the Chinese New Year).

I want to say happy new year at this precise moment in time because I am delighted to announce that issue three of the journal Martial Arts Studies has just been published.

It is available, free, online and open access, from two main places.

We are all very pleased with this issue. If you want a quick overview of the journal’s contents, have a look Ben Judkins’ short publication announcement on the Kung Fu Tea blog (here).

Conference Update

May I also remind you that we will soon be reaching the end of the discount early-bird registration period for the 2017 Martial Arts Studies Conference in Cardiff.

We do this to encourage early registration so that we have a clearer idea of numbers which helps when booking venues, rooms, and reserving University Accommodation, etc. So, in order to help us with the planning and also to save yourself some money, why not register sooner rather than later?

(NB: if you submit an abstract/proposal before the end of the early-bird registration period, I will endeavour to give you confirmation of acceptance (or otherwise) as quickly as possible, to give you time to register at the cheaper rate.)

For those of you travelling to Cardiff, please be forewarned that Coldplay are playing at the arena over the dates of the conference. This will mean that hotels, BnBs and other lodgings in the city will already be filling up. Prices almost invariably rise when a big concert is on in the city too.

Because of this accommodation problem, I am in the process of organising accommodation at two of Cardiff University’s halls (Aberdare and Senghennydd). People who register for the conference will in due course receive an email from me about booking a room in one of these halls. You will get the email from me as soon as the University provide me with a link for you all to make your bookings. So don’t panic yet. It will all be sorted out in due course.

Of course, for some people, a Coldplay concert may not be a ‘problem’. If you like Coldplay, you could attend the conference and the concert in the same visit to Cardiff.


Another Conference that will be of interest to many of you is the IMACSSS Conference, which will be taking place from 6-8 September 2017 in Osaka:

And another publication that some of you may be interested in is the second monograph in the Martial Arts Studies Book Series – Mythologies of Martial Arts, written by yours truly.

And Finally

Mario Staller & Swen Körner are carrying out research into self-defence coaching, and would like to ask anyone who teaches self defence to complete this short survey:

Best wishes,


Paul Bowman

Professor of Cultural Studies

School of Journalism, Media & Cultural Studies

Cardiff University

Profile – Publications – Martial Arts Studies

Confirmed Speakers 2017

Bowman, Paul Cardiff University
Bryden, Michael Women’s Boxing and Sports Criminology University of Portsmouth
Burkart, Eric How you fight is who you are: Technique, Identity and narratives of self-reassurance University of Trier
Chan, Thomas Transformation of Kung Fu and Martial Club in a Capitalist city –Hong Kong Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Choi, Bok Kyu Qi jiguang’s Body Types Strategy for Martial arts and its Application in Joseon Dynasty Korean Institute of Martial Arts
Davies, Philip The Origins and Evolution of Pencak Silat Brunel University
Delamont, Sara Tales of a Tireur: The Life of a Savate Teacher in the UK Cardiff University
Delamont, Sara Wounded Warriors: The Injury Narratives of Advanced UK capoeiristas Cardiff University
Dias, Everton Martial Arts Media and Spectacle: A study on mixed martial arts Miami
Gagné, Sylvain Prolegomena for the teaching and academic research of martial arts: the empowerment of a field of knowledge Université Laval
Gianni, Tommaso Comparing the Chinese paradigm of martial culture with Japan: The Embodiment of wenwu 文 武 University of Suwon
Gowtham, PS Narratives around martial arts in India Shiv Nadar University
Hay, Alexander ‘Breaking of the Targe’ – Scottish martial arts and the cultural history of Culloden Southampton Solent University
Hoekstra, Nicholas Teaching and Learning Inclusive Martial Arts: Perspectives from a Blind Martial Artist World Intellectual Property Organisation
Honeycutt, Damon Martial Partner Practice as Collaborative Artistic Research Artist
Istas, Leo Martial Education in German Curricula: From Nazi Reich to Present Day Cologne Sports University
Jaquet, Daniel University of Geneva
Jehu, Lyn The Perception of Mental Toughness Attributes in Karate Teaching University of South Wales
Jennings, George Out of the Labyrinth: The Recently Invented Mexican Martial Arts Riding the Wave of Mexicanidad Cardiff Metropolitan University
John, Zoe Tampons and Toughness: Body Politics in Mixed Martial Arts Cardiff University
Judkins, Ben Cornell University
Keller, Sebastian HEMA – A model case for martial arts studies? University of Regensburg
Kenklies, Karsten Wisdom of the Sword: Cutting through the Western Educational Mind University of Strathclyde
Kolanad, Gitanjali Striking a Balance – the relationship between dancing and fighting Shiv Nadar University
Labouret, Victor How a conceptual description of a martial art helps to remodel its pedagogy: the example of the Kinomichi Kinomichi Teacher
Lloyd, Issie Wounded Warriors: The Injury Narratives of Advanced UK capoeiristas Dance Development Teacher
Lorge, Peter Invention ‘traditional martial arts’ Vanderbilt University
Magnan-Park, Aaron “We are Not Sick Men!: Bruce Lee and the Restoration of China’s Pre-Confucian Martial Virtue” University of Hong Kong
McGuire, Colin Music and Martial Arts: Heroic Display through Violent Musicking in Kung Fu University College Cork
Moore, Brian Wellbeing Warriors: Mental Health and the Martial Arts Macquarie University
Mroz, Daniel Martial Partner Practice as Collaborative Artistic Research University of Ottawa
Partikova, Veronika Self-orientation in Chinese martial arts context Hong Kong Baptist University
Pedrini, Lorenzo Sparring in Italian Gym Boxing Classes: Towards the Study of Embodied Politics in Combat Sports University of Milano Bicocca
Pellerin, Eric Lau Kar Leung as Kung Fu Auteur and the Pedagogy of Martial Arts City University of New York
Porchet, Pierrick Circulation of kinesic practices and representations in Chinese martial arts University of Geneva
Southwood, James Tales of a Tireur: The Life of a Savate Teacher in the UK GB Savate
Stephens, Neil Wounded Warriors: The Injury Narratives of Advanced UK capoeiristas Brunel University
Wetzler, Sixt The problem of violence: martial arts as coping strategy German Blade Museum, Solingen
White, Luke The Ethics of Violence in the Kung Fu Comedy Middlesex University