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 The Triviality of Martial Arts Studies 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
Morris, Meaghan Disenchanting Jianghu: historical experience and the kung fu refusenik in cinema University of Sydney
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
Steimer, Lauren Experts in Action: a New Paradigm for the Analysis of Action Genre Performance in Martial Arts Studies University of South Carolina
Mak, Ricardo K. S. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts in Hong Kong since the 1980s Hong Kong Baptist University

Karsten Kenklies Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Wisdom of the Sword:  Cutting through the Western Educational Mind

The perception of Asian, especially Japanese education is still very much haunted and shaped by stereotypes. Focusing mainly upon modern Japanese education (since the Meiji restoration), comparisons between Asian/ Japanese and Western education often use oppositions like collective vs. individualistic or uniform vs. multifaceted to describe the assumed differences between educational cultures. However, this picture gets somewhat blurred when one looks at pre-modern educational concepts and practices – a field that has in general not been given much attention. This is somewhat surprising as this offers an excellent field of comparison: the Martial Arts, within which more general ideas about education are expressed. The proposed paper endeavors to present a comparative analysis of Asian (Japanese: Musashi’s Gorin-no-sho) and European (German: a version of Master Liechtenauer’s Art of Fencing and the textbook of Anton Friedrich Kahn) sword-fighting/ fencing textbooks to revisit commonly held conceptions of those educational cultures. The comparison of those martial arts textbooks will shed light not only on the different ways that sword-fighting/ fencing has been taught, but will also put into question the (educational) images of the (Asian) Other upon which Western (educational) self-images are sometimes based. In this way, the study of (the education of) Martial Arts shows itself to be a very enlightening approach to discuss more general (educational) cultural differences or similarities.

Biographical Note

Senior Lecturer Education Studies (History and Philosophy of Education) at University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Research Interests: History and Philosophy of Education; Classic Japanese Education (budo, Noh theatre, sado, kado etc.); Queer Education. Additional note: 15 years of practicing Karate-do (Shotokan ryu)



Zoe John Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Tampons and Toughness: Body Politics in Mixed Martial Arts

This presentation engages with several months of ethnographic data to explore the gendered dynamics of becoming a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. Drawing from a critical feminist and interactionist framework I analyse participants’ (and my own) interactions and experiences between the spaces of ‘the dojo’ and ‘the cage’. These spaces include the initial learning stages of MMA, the higher-skilled sparring classes, as well as the fighting events. Significantly, though they are different interactive spaces in MMA with equally different expectations of skill and sporting performance, each of them still produce (and are interpreted by participants as having) some form of political narrative and/or rules around gendered bodies. These narratives and rules include anxieties around touching and hurting women’s bodies by newer members of MMA clubs, active engagement with heterosexist banter as a bonding experience (with particular mention to periods and vaginas), and the view that same-sex fighting categories (and normative gendered bodies) should remain as an organising aspect for fighting events. These findings are interpreted as some of the key gendered dynamics which shape the concepts of skill, ‘toughness’, and MMA identities, whilst also highlighting the complexities of how ‘gender’ itself is understood by participants – as discursive, social, and biological. The presentation concludes that (hetero-normative) gender is a powerful tool in the sport’s organisation, but also in the bodily politics and opportunities of performing the identity of ‘MMA fighter’.

Zoe is a first year PhD candidate at Cardiff’s School of Social Sciences and is funded by the ESRC. Her work explores the production and negotiation of violent situations and violent identities, drawing from MMA’s spaces and places to explore and discuss such themes. Zoe is also developing findings from her Masters research which explores the gendered dynamics of being an MMA fighter (from which her presentation reflects upon). Though she is not a martial artist or an MMA practitioner herself, Zoe uses a flexible researcher role to participate in MMA classes for research purposes.


Victor Labouret Abstract, July 2017 Conference

How a conceptual description of a martial art helps to remodel its pedagogy: the example of the Kinomichi

Let’s discover how a theoretical description of a martial art as a crossroad of principles enriches the teaching tools beyond the opportunities offered by traditional descriptions such as “a catalog of techniques” or “the practice taught by a master”. In the latter descriptions, the principles are implicit and difficult to use.

In the first books on kinomichi (Roumanoff 1992, Murcia 1996), I identified the core principles of kinomichi. I also explored the principles as I attended innumerable classes given by Masamichi Noro, the founder of this art.

I found eight key principles  such as “having a partner”, “active-active”, “energetic and light”, “organized on the basis of a program”, “body unit”, “spiral”, “body awareness”, “positive energy”. These concepts are then expanded into sub-concepts, for example “a partner” suggests the sub-concepts: “corporal dialogue and diversity”, “empathy and mirror neurons”, “partner and teaching”.

With three examples, we will explore how principles model the pedagogy of Kinomichi. First, “Body awareness” emphasizes the importance conscious proprioception. Therefore teachers will propose specific exercises directed towards this idea, hence developing the consciousness of proprioception and the art of Kinomichi.  Second, the reality of “having a partner” is brought to consciousness with exercises focused on this issue.  Third, the concept of “playing” (a sub-concept of positive energy) changes the teacher’s behavior and vocabulary. He thinks less in terms of showing/correcting and more in terms of suggesting and experimenting.

When the principles become explicit, it is easier to develop new pedagogical tools as exemplified here in the case of Kinomichi.

General information on kinomichi :

Biographical note: Victor Labouret

2012 – Post-graduation in Therapy Through Movement – Rio de Janeiro – Faculty Angel Vianna. There, I wrote an academic text understanding the specificity of kinomichi based on body consciousness, neurology, psychology and anatomy.

2010 – Masamichi Noro Kinomichi founder grants me the title of “teacher”

2004-2007 – classes in body consciousness with Angel Vianna dance master in Brazil

2002 – Present – teaches Kinomichi in Brazil, with authorization of the founder

2002 – PhD in Management Accounting – HEC-Paris

1990-2002 – regular student of Masamichi Noro

1988 – began aikido

1986 – Mathematics Degree- Zurich Institute of Technology





Thomas Chan Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Transformation of Kung Fu and Martial Club in a Capitalist city –Hong Kong

The research contextualizes the discussion on spatial changes in Martial Clubs (武館) and its relationship with transformation of Kung Fu techniques and skills in a capitalist city –Hong Kong. Hong Kong is claimed as an important place to promote the Chinese Kung Fu Culture after the great changes in Mainland China in 1949. This view emphasizes the importance of historical changes in mainland China and Kung Fu Sifus’ immigration to Hong Kong. The claim seems to highlight the preservation of Kung Fu Sifu for the “traditional” knowledge of Kung Fu in Hong Kong which may be lost in mainland China. The claim oversimplifies the process of preservation and knowledge transfer of Chinese Kung Fu, especially for ignoring the complexities of preserving the arts in the specific contexts of martial club in Hong Kong.

Martial Club is the physical and social space providing the following functions: 1) training and preservation for Kung Fu, 2) identification with the Kung Fu school and disciple, 3) social stratification for members (Sifu師父, Daizi弟子, Sihing師兄, Sidai師弟 and etc), social gathering and even the living place of Sifu. The imaginations of martial club (武館) are commonly found in Hong Kong action movies and even the articles about Chinese Kung Fu.

In a capitalist city –Hong Kong, the imaginations of martial club (武館) are illusions for the fields of Chinese Kung Fu. In highly urbanized Hong Kong, the development of city has made two impacts on the field of Chinese Kung Fu: 1) the decrease in the number of martial club and 2) compressing the spaces of martial club. The Sifu may change the body movements in such as steps and movements of Kung Fu forms to adapt to the physical environment in the context of urbanization. In this research, the researcher adopts in-depth interviews with Six Sifus of Southern schools (南派) and Northern schools (北派)[1] and the field study for their martial clubs to investigate the impacts of urbanization on the transformation of traditional Kung Fu with their narratives and demonstrations of Kung Fu forms.

Biographical note

Thomas Chan is a lecturer of The School of Professional Education and Executive Development of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research area includes Urbanization and Cultural Heritage in Hong Kong. He has practiced Fujian Yong Chun White Crane Kung Fu and Okinawa Goju-ryu Karate for over 26 years. He travels to Fujian, China and Okinawa Japan regularly to research and practice the arts and culture.


[1] “South Fist and North Kick” (南拳北腳). It is believed that the Southern Schools of Kung Fu emphasize the skills of short distance fighting and higher stance (短橋窄馬). The northern schools of Kung Fu stress on the long distance fighting and lower stance (長橋大馬).

Sylvain Gagné Abstract, July 2017 Conference



Prolegomena for the teaching and academic research of martial arts: the empowerment of a field of knowledge

We are now witnessing the emergence of a field of study and research that the Anglo-Saxons call “Martial Arts Studies”, which appears in England, Germany, Poland, various countries in Asia and In the United States in particular. The efforts of dedicated academics such as Paul Bowman, Stanley Henning, D.S. Farrer, John Whalen-Bridge, Sixt Wetzler, Peter Lorge and many others show that there is a real interest in this academic discipline and field of research. Several academic conferences have been held in recent years, dozens of theses have been supported involving one aspect or another of the martial arts. The disciplines involved are as varied as anthropology, sociology, religious sciences, medicine, performing arts, literature, cinema, cultural studies, sports studies and many others. A corpus of serious studies is thus gradually emerging. A new university journal specifically dedicated to martial art was born in 2015 at Cardiff University: Martial Arts Studies; and the Martial Arts Studies Research Network under the leadership of Paul Bowman. Academic programs such as the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in the Martial Arts Studies of the University of Bridgeport or the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences (IMAS) of the University of Derby. It is clear that the elements conducive to the empowerment of the discipline of martial arts are gradually developing. This is, of course, a transdisciplinary dialogue. In Quebec, French dissertations and theses have been approved, articles and books are slowly published. The French academic milieu seems to be listening to the discussion and the actual question is how will it be revealed in the establishment of the apparatus of empowerment of the discipline of the martial arts? I intend to go over the current advances in the disciplinary field of martial arts, both epistemological, conceptual, terminological and methodological, in order finally to propose avenues of reflection in view of a better contribution of the university institution (Quebec universities in particular) to the development of knowledge in the fields of study and research that are Martial Arts Studies.

Sylvain Gagné holds a doctorate in French Studies (1997), Université de Montréal, Canada. Sylvain worked in the public service and practises martial arts Kung Fu, Tai chi, Qi Gong. He writes a second doctorate in literature, performing arts and screen at Université Laval, Québec, Canada. His research involves the use of Shaolin martial arts onstage, and how the Western filter conditions the reception and reappropriation of martial arts as a staging language in various media: Theater, Circus, Dance.

Pierrick Porchet Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Circulation of kinesic practices and representations in Chinese martial arts

Martial arts, designated by the generic term wushu 武术 in Mandarin, can be observed in various forms in China nowadays. They can sometimes be observed as popular and/or professional sport practices, sometimes as political rhetoric, or in the entertainment industry through an imagery mobilized by literary and cinema productions. Recently, this multiple presence can also be observed in new media such as video games, cartoons or online videos. It is characterized by a plurality of referents, as the combined use of body movements and as an explanatory model reflecting on various implications, which vary from one production mode to another. This research focuses on how representations of martial techniques and gestures, whether being executed by real practitioners or fictional characters, circulate from one medium to another, creating, conserving or dissipating their contents, according to particular modes, where the very idea of martiality appears in very different manners. What are the implications of this “body rhetoric“[1]? What are its modalities? Using the theoretical and methodological framework of Guillemette Bolens on the kinesic approach[2] and the concept of circulation of forms defined by Basile Zimmermann[3], this research will focus on the modes of production and circulation of Chinese martial arts representations.


Biographical note

Pierrick Porchet is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the University of Geneva. His current PhD project focuses on examining kinesic aspects of Chinese martial arts. He is particularly interested in meanings embedded in body movements as they circulate through popular, institutional and artistic contexts. He has practiced Chinese martial arts since the early 2000s and has participated in various national and international competitions (in the discipline of taolu).




[1] MAGUET Frédéric, 2006, « Les films d’action : une rhétorique corporelle en régime d’utopie », in : Culture & Musées, n°7, p.28. (Translation by the author)

[2] BOLENS Guillemette, 2008, Le Style des gestes. Corporéité et kinésie dans le récit littéraire, Lausanne, Editions BHMS.

[3] ZIMMERMANN Basile, 2015, Waves and Forms : Electronic Music Devices and Computer Encodings in China, Cambridge, MA : MIT Press

Veronika Partikova Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Self-orientation in Chinese martial arts context

Drinking with your boss would probably produce a different degree of commitment than offering tea to your sifu during the Bai Si ceremony. Commonly, specific rules, habits and rituals of a kung fu community are repeated and accepted by foreigners, too. Some of these behaviors may be however very different from their own society or daily actions.

Psychological collectivism can be defined as a tendency to internalize norms of people’s in-groups and ability to understand hierarchy. Unlike the Hofstede’s macro collectivism, psychological collectivism directs attention to individual rather than the society. It describes the way we organize relationships around our own.

Chinese martial arts provide a unique environment for exploring psychological collectivism due to its strong concepts of sorted roles, such as student-master, community and transmitted philosophical influences. Is it therefore possible that psychological collectivism could be an important topic for traditional martial arts? Could it explain the functioning of foreigners inside such community and the acceptance of all its commitments? Psychological collectivism is moreover an actual topic for the sport field. Without surprise, it is said that sport teams should possess some degree of psychological collectivism to be more effective. But it nevertheless turned out that individual sports are not as individual as we thought. Indeed, close group mates can influence significantly not only the motivation of an athlete, but also the performance itself.

Since individualistic and collectivistic attributes of self are likely sampled in separated cognitive structures rather than being dichotomous, the level of individualism and collectivism may therefore differ in various contexts. Thus, different environments would have different effects. Is martial art such salient environment to influence one’s self orientation? And mainly what kind of impact would it have to the practice and theory of martial arts?


Biographical note:

Veronika Partikova is a PhD student at the department of Physical Education at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Her focus is psychological collectivism and mental toughness in traditional wushu. She has been also practicing martial arts for the last 15 years (mainly hung kuen kung fu) and she is an active athlete, representing Czech Republic.

Nicholas Hoekstra Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Teaching and Learning Inclusive Martial Arts: Perspectives from a Blind Martial Artist.


Many martial arts are steeped in long standing traditions, both within the individual dojo, club or gym and within the art as a whole. This is part of what makes martial arts so successful. The ability to travel across the world and join a judo, aikido or karate class without speaking the local language is comforting. The practitioner will understand the warm-ups, frequently know the proper way to sit or stand and will have an idea of the class’s format. Despite these benefits, long standing traditions within martial arts can also lead to exclusion. Silent demonstration of techniques, for example, puts persons with visual impairments at a huge disadvantage while rigid conformity to specific kata can prevent people with physical impairments from participating. Similarly, teaching a child with ADHD requires a creative approach to discipline within the class. In a world where ever more people with disabilities are realizing their dreams of participating in sports, instructors need to change their teaching methods or risk excluding a valuable group of martial artists. In this presentation, we will discuss strategies for making the dojo, club or gym more inclusive. At the heart of this effort is insuring that the martial art retains its value for the student. Inclusion does not simply mean allowing a person with disabilities onto the mat, but rather working within that person’s abilities to participate to the maximum possible extent. We will use personal experiences of a person with a disability who has been both a student and an instructor. In addition, we will discuss how inclusive education strategies can be applied to martial arts.




Nicholas Hoekstra received his black belt in Judo from the International Budo University in Katsuura, Japan, under the instruction of Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki Sensei and his black belt in Aikido from David Mata Sensei of the Kyosekan dojo, Birankai of North America. He also holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu which he is actively training. Nick received a master’s degree in Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where his studies frocused on the inclusion of students with disabilities through the use of Universal Design for Learning. He served as the education adviser to the Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent of Ecuador from 2015-2016. Currently, Nick works with the World Intellectual Property Organization as the capacity building lead for the Accessible Books Consortium.