KFP 111 – Martial Arts Mythology : Pt 1

When Are Martial Arts Ever, Just Martial Arts?

A Book Review of our very own Agent of Action, Professor Paul Bowman’s “Mythologies of Martial Arts

Review by Professor Wetzler

Sixt Wetzler is a professor in the UK and engaged in the developing field of martial arts studies. He is a member of the Committee for Martial Arts Studies in the German Association for Sports Science. He has been featured on KFP several Times, such as “Doubts and Myths in Martial Arts” .

Here is part 1 of his review of Professor. Paul Bowmans work. Professor Bowman authorized me to share his book with you here and I encourage you to pick it up.

In 1926, the famous ethnologist Bronislaw Malinowski stated that ‘the study of myth has become a point of contact for various branches of academia’ [Malinowski 1986]. Had he known that, almost one hundred years later, a branch of academia would develop that calls itself ‘martial arts studies’, he probably would not have been surprised to hear that it, too, has its own take on mythology.

This comes in the form of a short monograph entitled Mythologies of Martial Arts, the second title in the new Martial Arts Studies book series published by Rowman & Littlefield. It is authored by Paul Bowman, the editor of that book series, one of the editors of this journal, organizer of the annual Martial Arts Studies conference, and professor of cultural studies at Cardiff University.

Mythologies of Martial Arts takes up several of the strands Bowman laid out in his previous book, Martial Arts Studies: Disrupting Disciplinary Boundaries [Bowman 2015]. As the title of his latest effort implies, his focus is on the ideological narratives that surround, permeate, and define martial arts, as well as on the ways martial arts are practiced, perceived, and culturally understood (or misunderstood).

While Bowman’s theoretical approach is deeply rooted in (mostly French) postmodernism, and indebted to Hegelian and Marxist thought, his ideological impetus is that of Anglo-American cultural studies.

Continued Your Studies in Part 2 : Culture is a Verb, Not a Noun

Reference : Martialartstudies.org BOOK REVIEW I10.18573/j.2017.10188

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