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.


Mroz and Honeycutt Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Martial Partner Practice as Collaborative Artistic Research

Damon Honeycutt, M.F.A., M.A., Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpellier, USA

Daniel Mroz, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa, Canada




The partner training exercises of the Chinese martial arts offer a unique matrix in which dance and theatre artists can develop physical and creative abilities. Damon Honeycutt and Daniel Mroz present a collaborative approach to martial partnering derived from Taijiquan Tuishou and Shuai Jiao. In this practical research, martial arts are conceived of as a meta-discipline that informs the development of novel aesthetics in the performing arts.


This presentation will also introduce a novel method for artistic research: originally proposed by performer Marije Nie, two artists use a single procedure to investigate their individual questions. Sharing a common research activity, each artist brings their own particular questions to the experience. In this instance, the sharing of martial partnering simultaneously allows the examination of the translational competence between art forms and expressive mediums as well as investigation of responsive physical play across a wide range of intensities from the subtle to the virtuosic.


Developing scholar F. David Peat’s concept of coming to knowing Honeycutt and Mroz – while presenting the development of a particular interdisciplinary practice of partnering across the martial and performing arts – address the fundamental question of the conference theme by proposing a way to share embodied, practical artistic knowledge that is both discursive and experiential.




We’d like to propose this presentation as a practical, parallel, hour-long workshop that advances a theoretical approach derived from practical, embodied research in the martial arts. We’ll be running a practical research session in Ottawa in March of 2017, where we’ll share our approach with a diverse group of movement artists and create a video document of the event. At the Cardiff conference, we propose to present our working methods, our questions and video excerpts of the fruition of the Ottawa session in tandem with introducing our practical material to the attendees, creating a discursive framework immediately related to a concrete embodied experience.




Damon Honeycutt is a warrior artist whose martial cultivation has allowed him to dance with companies such as Nai-Ni Chen, Scapegoat Garden and Pilobolus; he has performed and taught in over 20 countries. He holds an MFA in Music Composition from The Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MA in Conscious Evolution and Integral Studies from The Graduate Institute and a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Music and Cross-Cultural Dance Studies. His teachers include Paulie Zink, the inheritor of the Da Sheng Pigua Men; Hu Jian Qiang, twice all-around Wushu champion of the People’s Republic of China; and Beijing Opera performer Qi Jian Guo.


Daniel Mroz is a theatre director and martial artist. His recent performances have been presented at the Canada Dance Festival and the Évènement Zones Théâtrales. The Dancing Word his book on how to use the Chinese martial arts in contemporary theatre is published by Brills. A keynote speaker at the 2016 Martial Arts Studies Conference, he practices martial arts under Chen Zhonghua and studied acting and directing with Richard Fowler. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre of the University of Ottawa in Canada where he teaches acting and directing.

Michael Bryden Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Sports Criminology is a new and exciting branch in Criminology which can examine a range of topics from desistance from crime to criminal activities in sport. As Groombridge (2016) proposes, there is large scope for academia to investigate whether boxing (and martial arts in general) can reduce the risk of offending. The research into combat sports and crime reduction to date is small and the results mixed. Jump (2015) suggests that despite boxing having an incapacitation effect, male boxers can become trapped in their masculinities. However, Jenkins and Ellis (2011) found that combat sports can have a positive effect at reducing socio-cultural and individual risk factors associated with offending. In my ongoing PhD I am looking at women’s amateur boxing to discover whether it can reduce the risk of offending. In this presentation I will begin by exploring the exciting near three hundred journey of women’s boxing beginning in London in the 1720’s. Next I will outline my PhD, explaining my reasons for choosing my topic, my method and methodology, and what I hope to achieve. I will then finally go on to explain why it is important to study combat sport through an academic lens, for example, to shape social policy in criminal justice.


I have currently just started the third year (part-time) in my PhD at the University of Portsmouth. My topic is women’s amateur boxing and whether it can enhance protective factors associated with non-offending. I successfully gained my BA in Criminology and Social Policy, and my MA in Criminology at the University of Brighton in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Lyn Jehu Abstract, July 2017 Conference

I wish to present a recent research project that examined the perception of mental toughness attributes from the perspective of teachers of Japanese karate. A qualitative, inductive approach was used with the resultant data coded via thematic analysis as per Braun and Clarke (2006).

One overarching theme, and nine subthemes were identified. A unique finding of this study was the importance placed on the quality of self-control by participants. It is hoped that discussion will focus on the moral and ethical ethos inherent in the practice of Japanese karate, and how this Okinawan folk art has been influenced by the Japanese concept of Bushido. On a related note, the ability to tolerate physical pain although not unique, also emerged as a consistent and defining characteristic of mental toughness in relation to what was perceived by the participants to be traditional karate practice. The influence of a single Japanese teacher, in effect the group patriarch will also be highlighted.

Lyn Jehu Biography

I currently work as a lecturer in Community Football Development at the University of South Wales. My experience of Japanese karate began in the early 1980s. In 2006 I relocated to Japan with the express desire to continue my study of budo. I lived in Japan for five years, traveling extensively in order to study with a variety of teachers. I also practised Niten Ichi Ryu kenjutsu in Kitakyushu City. My research interests include mental toughness in martial arts, the influence of Japanese martial arts on modern sport and martial arts pedagogy.



Leo Istas Abstract, July 2017 Conference

Martial Education in German Curricula: From Nazi Reich to Present Day

Physical education curricula have a long tradition in the history of the German public school system. Although military exercises and marching were part of German curricula long before Hitler’s rise to power, martial arts – in particular boxing – were first introduced under Nazi rule in 1937. With the collapse of the Reich and the subsequent division of the remains of Germany, the national curriculum for physical education was replaced by a variety of different curricula. Whilst the curricula in the federal West German states did not include martial arts for several decades to come, the East German curriculum early promoted martial arts as an important feature of socialist education. In the West, martial arts were first reintroduced in the 1980 curriculum of North Rhine-Westphalia, which officially made judo and fencing optional subjects. In 1999, nearly one decade after the reunification of East and West Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia spearheaded a new wave of curricular revisions which led to an ongoing reconsideration of martial arts in all federal states.

Apart from highlighting important events in the historical development of German curricula, the presentation will address political, pedagogical and societal perspectives on martial arts in physical education.


Leo Istas (born 1986) studied history, physical education and English at the University of Cologne and is currently working on his doctoral thesis at the German Sport University Cologne. Since 2014, he is an active member of the German Society of Sport Science’s Martial Arts Commission and has researched and published on martial arts-related developments in North Rhine-Westphalian curricula. Besides researching for his stipendium-funded dissertation project, in which he analyzes the status quo of martial arts in North Rhine-Westphalian physical education classes, he teaches boxing classes at the German Sport University Cologne.