Special Issue "Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives"

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A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Dale C. Spencer

Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: criminological theory; Continental social theory; sociology of the body; violence and victimization
Guest Editor
Dr. Bryan Hogeveen

Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H1, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Jacques Derrida; violence; law; marginality; social theory; sovereignty

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Articles and books on martial arts and combat sports has become a burgeoning field of inquiry. Authors have considered: the contours of the individual martial arts, the corporeal effects of martial arts on practitioners, and the relationship between identity and martial arts. Emerging out of this literature has been an examination of the effects of society on individual martial arts. Leading the way in this regard has been Eliasian/Figurational approaches to violence and society, focusing on the pacification of the violence in martial arts as result of societal pressures. However, very little academic literature has focused on the impact of martial arts on society and, moreover, the mutually co-constituting relationship between martial arts and society.

Dr. Dale C. Spencer
Dr. Bryan Hogeveen
Guest Editors

Before submitting the papers to the journal, authors should send their abstracts and full papers to the Guest Editors first for evaluations. Please email the abstracts and papers to the following email addresses:

TO: Dale.Spencer@ad.umanitoba.ca; hogeveen@ualberta.ca
CC: societies@mdpi.com

Please follow the timeline:

Abstracts due: 30 September 2013

Decisions to authors: 31 October 2013
Submission of full paper to the Guest Editors: 31 March 2014
Submission of full paper to the journal online: 30 April 2014

After the Editors' check, the manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • martial arts, gender and society
  • class and martial arts
  • ethics and martial arts
  • martial arts and health
  • risk, martial arts and society
  • martial arts, capitalism and consumption
  • globalization, nationalism, and martial arts
  • martial arts, sexuality, and society
  • emotions and martial arts
  • martial arts, religion and society
  • martial arts, education and society

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Transmitting Health Philosophies through the Traditionalist Chinese Martial Arts in the UK
Societies 2014, 4(4), 712-736; doi:10.3390/soc4040712
Received: 27 July 2014 / Revised: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 27 November 2014 / Published: 10 December 2014
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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
[...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle The Organization and Regulation of Full Contact Martial Arts: A Case Study of Flanders
Societies 2014, 4(4), 654-671; doi:10.3390/soc4040654
Received: 29 April 2014 / Revised: 15 November 2014 / Accepted: 24 November 2014 / Published: 28 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (124 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To date, martial arts involvement is often described in controversial terms. While some studies report increased anti-social behavior as a result of martial arts involvement, other findings refer to a more positive social and personal development. This paradox has resulted in an ambiguous
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To date, martial arts involvement is often described in controversial terms. While some studies report increased anti-social behavior as a result of martial arts involvement, other findings refer to a more positive social and personal development. This paradox has resulted in an ambiguous public discourse on their value and legitimacy as socially accepted sports, often leading to a dichotomization between “good” and “bad” styles of martial arts. Up until now however, there has been a lack of empirical proof that this “good versus bad” perspective divides along the lines of specific martial arts styles. Consequently, the distinct moral and medical concerns regarding the effects of involvement in harder martial arts—combined with their increased popularity, as well as their perceived positive outcomes for specific target groups—have resulted in a growing demand among policy makers to develop (or rethink) their strategy towards the regulation and support of these sports. By means of a case-study approach, the present paper discusses some of the key issues regarding the regulation of a number of full contact martial arts (e.g., kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA), which are considered to be problematic for (sport) authorities, and which confront sports policy makers in Flanders. In describing the Flemish case, this paper aims to highlight the need to develop a sound martial arts policy that can provide a legitimation base for the provision and organization of full contact martial arts, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle Towards the “Undoing” of Gender in Mixed-Sex Martial Arts and Combat Sports
Societies 2014, 4(4), 587-605; doi:10.3390/soc4040587
Received: 29 August 2014 / Revised: 17 October 2014 / Accepted: 20 October 2014 / Published: 23 October 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (304 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper addresses sex integration in martial arts and combat sports, discussing the implications of mixed-sex training for challenging orthodox Western constructions of gender. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 37 long-term martial arts practitioners from around the English East Midlands between 2007–2011, the
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This paper addresses sex integration in martial arts and combat sports, discussing the implications of mixed-sex training for challenging orthodox Western constructions of gender. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 37 long-term martial arts practitioners from around the English East Midlands between 2007–2011, the paper argues that restrictive, essentialist and hierarchal conceptions of sex difference can be challenged through integrated training practices. The paper advocates the “undoing” of gender in this regard as helping to build a more progressive, inclusive and liberal form of physical culture, seen as a key potential of sex-integrated training. To that end, the paper makes a number of proposals for instructors and practitioners interested in developing such inclusive environments in their own clubs and training settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle I Am the Invincible Sword Goddess: Mediatization of Chinese Gender Ideology through Female Kung-Fu Practitioners in Films
Societies 2014, 4(3), 477-505; doi:10.3390/soc4030477
Received: 19 May 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
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Abstract
The media are avid portrayers of gender binarism and the belief in male-female distinctions, which are mainly attributed to perceived differences of a physical nature. In this paper, we investigate representations of female kung-fu practitioners (nuxia) in films to discuss how
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The media are avid portrayers of gender binarism and the belief in male-female distinctions, which are mainly attributed to perceived differences of a physical nature. In this paper, we investigate representations of female kung-fu practitioners (nuxia) in films to discuss how processes of mediation and mediatization depict their femininity, so as to mitigate their appropriation of Chinese martial arts masculinity. Often, nuxias are portrayed as empowered women who are equipped to take control of their own lives and to courageously take on challenges from a variety of opponents. However, multimodal deconstruction of the various characteristics of nuxias must be placed in an Asian-specific context in order to understand the femininity specific to these characters and to move beyond Western gender ideologies displayed by the media. Perpetuating Confucian patriarchal ideals, nuxia roles constantly and consistently associate conformation to Confucian values with virtuousness and non-conformation with wickedness. We therefore can use the ideals of Confucianism as a more accurate foundation in deconstructing the identities of nuxias, which allows us to better understand the mediation and mediatization processes of ideologies associated with Chinese femininity and masculinity in martial arts films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle Taijiquan the “Taiji World” Way: Towards a Cosmopolitan Vision of Ecology
Societies 2014, 4(3), 380-398; doi:10.3390/soc4030380
Received: 28 May 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 21 July 2014 / Published: 28 July 2014
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Abstract
In this article, we present a case study analysis of data gathered on the practice of the art of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) in one UK context. Our interest in looking at this physical culture was in exploring if/how physical cultures of shared
[...] Read more.
In this article, we present a case study analysis of data gathered on the practice of the art of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) in one UK context. Our interest in looking at this physical culture was in exploring if/how physical cultures of shared embodied experience and practice may help “sow the seeds of environmental awareness”. In so doing, we illustrate certain affinities between this interpretation of the art and Beck’s idea of a “cosmopolitan vision of ecology”. We present an analysis of documentary and interview data of one English Taijiquan organisation and how it currently promotes the idea of interconnectedness, wellbeing and an alternative meta-narrative for living through the practice of Taijiquan. We conclude that, while further research is needed, there is evidence that a cosmopolitan vision for ecology is emerging in physical cultures such as Taijiquan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview The Effectiveness of Hard Martial Arts in People over Forty: An Attempted Systematic Review
Societies 2014, 4(2), 161-179; doi:10.3390/soc4020161
Received: 7 January 2014 / Revised: 3 April 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (348 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective was to assess the effect of hard martial arts on the physical fitness components such as balance, flexibility, gait, strength, cardiorespiratory function and several mental functions in people over forty. A computerized literature search was carried out. Studies were selected when
[...] Read more.
The objective was to assess the effect of hard martial arts on the physical fitness components such as balance, flexibility, gait, strength, cardiorespiratory function and several mental functions in people over forty. A computerized literature search was carried out. Studies were selected when they had an experimental design, the age of the study population was >40, one of the interventions was a hard martial art, and when at least balance and cardiorespiratory functions were used as an outcome measure. We included four studies, with, in total, 112 participants, aged between 51 and 93 years. The intervention consisted of Taekwondo or Karate. Total training duration varied from 17 to 234 h. All four studies reported beneficial effects, such as improvement in balance, in reaction tests, and in duration of single leg stance. We conclude that because of serious methodological shortcomings in all four studies, currently there is suggestive, but insufficient evidence, that hard martial arts practice improves physical fitness functions in healthy people over 40. However, considering the importance of such effects, and the low costs of the intervention, the potential of beneficial health effects of age-adapted, hard martial arts training, in people over 40, warrants further study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Martial Arts and Society: Developing Co-Constituting Perspectives)

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