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Societies 2014, 4(4), 712-736; doi:10.3390/soc4040712

Transmitting Health Philosophies through the Traditionalist Chinese Martial Arts in the UK

Universidad YMCA/Lago Alberto 337, Col. Anáhuac, Delegación Miguel Hidalgo, 11320 Mexico City, Mexico
Received: 27 July 2014 / Revised: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 27 November 2014 / Published: 10 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives)
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Abstract

The dynamic relationships between “martial arts”, society and health remain unclear, particularly due to research that typically views health in a purely biomedical and compartmentalized way. Martial arts and combat sports (MACS) offer a diversity of disciplines with their own intended training outcomes and techne. The traditionalist Chinese martial arts (TCMAs), such as Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and Wing Chun Kung Fu, stress health promotion/preservation, personal development and lifelong practice. Adopting a structurationist framework, this article explores the connections between three distinct philosophies of health and TCMAs, institutions spreading such discourse, and the personal narratives of transformation and self-cultivation through these embodied art forms. Taking a perspective starting from the practitioners themselves, I explore the interplay between discourse and narrative as applied in everyday British society. Following detailed qualitative analysis, “Western scientific”, “contemporary Daoist” and “New Age” health philosophies are identified as explored via three detailed, reflexive cases of long-term practitioner-instructors, their schools and documents that connect them to international exponents across time. This article thus contributes to sociological knowledge on MACS and health, while considering the connections between health philosophies, discourse and narrative. View Full-Text
Keywords: martial arts; health; health philosophies; narrative; discourse martial arts; health; health philosophies; narrative; discourse
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jennings, G. Transmitting Health Philosophies through the Traditionalist Chinese Martial Arts in the UK. Societies 2014, 4, 712-736.

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