5th International Martial Arts Studies Conference

23-24 May 2019, Chapman University, Orange, California

Martial Arts, Culture and Politics

This conference focused on the relations between martial arts, culture and politics. Martial arts can be understood in any of many ways, and the conference aims to reflect this diversity and plurality of understandings of the term. Similarly, ‘culture’ and ‘politics’ can be understood in a variety of ways. So, the conference was open to works that used any academic approach to the theory and analysis of culture and politics.

The organisers were specifically interested in interrogating the relations between martial arts, the cultural industries, cultural heritage and macro and micro politics, ranging from the ethnic, gender and sexual politics of everyday life all the way to regional, national and international relations and politics.

Selected papers will be published as a special issue of the journal Martial Arts Studies (Cardiff University Press).

The conference was a collaboration between Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, and The Martial Arts Studies Research Network, and hosted by Chapman University. The organisers were Andrea Molle (Chapman University, School of Political Science; founder of Budo-Lab) and Paul Bowman (Cardiff University, UK; founder of The Martial Arts Studies Research Network and co-founder and co-editor of the journal Martial Arts Studies).


Daniel Amos (emeritus) Marginality and the Heroes’ Art: Martial Artists in Hong Kong, 1976 – 2019

A. Alexander Antonopoulos (Concordia University) Courage of Truth: Foucault, Kynic Culture, and Dog Brothers Martial Arts (DBMA)

Kyle Barrowman (Martial Arts Studies Journal) Inventing MMA: On the Political and Cultural Formation of a Concept

Spencer Bennington (University of South Florida) Rhetorical Roundhouse Kicks: Taekwondo as Political Argument: from Hyper-nationalism to Contemporary Korean Reunification Dialogues

Sonja Bickford (University of Nebraska Kearney) Cultural Differences in Leadership Development through Martial Arts Training: comparing USA, U.K. Australia, and Finland

Heiko Bittmann (Kanazawa University) and Martin Meyer (Vechta) Why do people train Martial Arts? Participation Motives of German and Japanese Karateka

Paul Bowman (Cardiff University) The Invention of Martial Arts: Popular Culture Between Asia and America

Gerry Chisolm (Women’s Martial Arts Network) Envisioning African History: The Wakanda Effect on Real Black Women in the Martial Arts

Laurent Chircop-Reyes (Aix-Marseille Université) Reviving China Society Through Martial Arts Culture: ‘Tianjin’s Alliance of Warriors’ (1910-1928) As an Instrument for Nationalism

Aidan Collier (University of Victoria) Martial Realism: “The Fight” as Artifact and Ideology

T.J. Desch-Obi (City University of New York, Baruch College) The Liberating Stick: Afro-Colombian martial arts and the struggle for liberation in the Cauca

Thomas A. Green (Texas A&M University) The 52 Hand Blocks, Sexual Dominance, and Mother Dear as Archetype

Lauren Miller Griffith (Texas Tech University) The Serious Side of Leisure: Capoeira and Social Justice in the U.S.

Leo Istas (German Sport University Cologne) Martial Arts Studies in Germany: A Case Study

Daniel Jaquet (Morges Castle Military Museum, and University of Bern) Fight like a true German! National-socialism propaganda and late medieval European martial arts

Noah C.G. Johnson (University of Iowa) Karate and the Cultural Politics of the United States in Three Movements

Benjamin N. Judkins (Cornell University, chinesemartialstudies.com & Martial Arts Studies), Title TBC

Steven G Jug (Baylor University) Technique and Terror: SAMBO as Martial Art, Military Training, and Stalinist Masculinity

Peter Katz (Pacific Union College) Hakama, Hooligans, Hoodies: Martial arts clothing and affective habits of violence from Victorian London to Tapout

Anna Kavoura (University of Jyväskylä) “Just existing is activism”: Experiences of discrimination and coping strategies of gender and sexual minorities in martial arts

William Little (University of Victoria), Martial Arts on the Path to the Non-Fascist Life: Reflections on Politics and Violence

Peter Lorge (Vanderbilt University), Wrestling with The Wrestling Record (Jiaoli Ji)

Ayanda Masilela (Washington) Developing liberatory curricula in the practice of martial arts: anti-racism and beyond

Paul McCarthy (UCLA Martial Arts), Self-Defense – How a small socio-political idea demonized this broad term on campuses in the USA

Daniella Medeiros, Andressa Saboya (Santa Cecilia University, Santos/SP, Brazil) Motivational factors for the personalized Muay Thai training for women

Martin Meyer (Vechta) Kurobune and kayfabe – The staging of Japanese-American wrestling bouts

Martin Minarik (Hamburg University/Paderborn University) Beyond morality: Towards a performativity-based understanding of norms and values in martial arts practice

Jared Miracle (Independent Scholar) ‘Wednesday. Late Night. Bring a Sword’. Folk Martial Arts of Rural Japan

Andrea Molle (Chapman University)

Janet O’Shea (UCLA) MMA Progressives and Far-Right Fight Clubs: Martial Arts as a Model for Agonistic Democracy

Moisés Park (Baylor University) Mirageman (2007): A Chilean Martial Arts and “Superhero” Film, Sex and Cult

Scott Park Phillips (author, Possible Origins) The Enchanted Roots of Internal Martial Arts

Jaida Kim Samudra (Asian Perspectives: The Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific) Silat Bangau Putih as Universal Science: Political Strategies of Inclusivity in a Chinese Indonesian Martial Art School

Maija Soderholm (author, The Liar, the Cheat and the Thief: Deception and the Art of Swordplay) Random Flow and the Art of Deception: Teaching Tactical Thinking Through Sword Play

Glenn-Eilif Solberg (University of Bergen) How does war become sport? From military patrols to #OlympicPeace

Mariángeles Soto-Díaz (independent artist) Everyday Grappling Operations

Lauren Steimer (University of South Carolina) Labor Politics in Stunt Craft Networks: Divergent Attempts to Diversify Martial Arts Practice on Screen

Qays Stetkevych (Cardiff University) Grappling with White Nationalism and Viking Heritage

Mariana Harumi Cruz Tsukamoto, Claudia Uribe Chinen, Tanya Gomez (University of São Paulo) Women in Kendo: perspective of Latin American practitioners

Sixt Wetzler (Solingen Blade Museum), Asian Arts for Aryans, Western Ways of Warriors: On the Connections of Martial Arts and Fascism

Luke White (Middlesex University) Otherness and the Martial Arts in Maya Deren’s Meditation on Violence (1949)

Guodong Zhang (Southwest University, Beibei) Thomas A. Green, Jared Miracle. From Kongfu to Wushu: Political Application of Chinese Martial Arts