We are pleased to announce that Martial Arts Studies no. 5 is now available at https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/6/volume/0/issue/5/. Martial Arts Studies is the premier scholarly source for interdisciplinary work on a variety of topics surrounding the practice, sociology, history and media representation of the modern combat sports and traditional martial arts. Published twice yearly, it presents the best research written and reviewed by leaders in the field.
This issue begins with an editorial discussion, followed by five articles and three book reviews. The editorial asks how we as scholars can demonstrate to colleagues that the martial arts, and by extension martial arts studies, really matter.
In Affective Mythologies and “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, Darren Kelsey asks what role mysticism, and the notion of the ‘monomyth’, might have played in the career of one of MMA’s most successful and famous fighters. He finds that it is probably impossible to understand this without tackling the role of mysticism, myth and ideology in popular culture.
The second paper takes us to the kung fu schools of Singapore’s red-light district. Drawing on his extensive fieldwork in ‘Hong Shen Choy Li Fut’ kung fu, anthropologist D. S. Farrer asks searching questions about the purpose and outcome of taolu (also known as ‘sets’, ‘forms’, or ‘kata’) training in traditional Chinese martial arts.
In the third paper, Thomas, Lugo, Channon and Spence investigate The Influence of Competitive Co-action on Kata Performance in Japanese Karate. Their paper adds to the literature on ‘social facilitation’ within competitive sports by demonstrating that co-action has a notable impact on measurable outcomes within the martial arts.
Martin Minarik then discusses the relationship between theatrical performance, social values and the martial arts in Ideological Efficacy Before Martial Efficacy. While his basic findings are likely broadly applicable, in this paper Minarik focuses on Japanese gendai budo.
The final research article in the issue is Tales of a Tireur: Being a Savate Teacher in Contemporary Britain. Produced by the practitioner/scholar team of Southwood and Delamont, this paper offers an ethnographic examination of the classes and career of one of the UK’s top Savate instructors. The paper is also important as Savate (popular in France, Belgium and Eastern Europe) has been neglected in the English language martial arts studies literature.
In the first of three book reviews, Emelyne Godfrey provides an assessment of Wendy Rouse’s recent volume Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement (New York UP, 2017). Russell Alexander Stepp brings his own medievalist background to bear in an examination of Daniel Jacquet, Karin Verelst and Timothy Dawson’s (eds.) Late Medieval and Early Modern Fightbooks (Brill, 2016). Finally Craig Owen reviews Embodying Brazil: An Ethnography of Diaspora Capoeira by Sara Delamont, Neil Stephens and Claudio Campos (Routledge, 2017). He also asks important questions about the role of video and other media sources in academic publishing.
As always, this issue is freely available at https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/6/volume/0/issue/5/. Visit our webpages to learn more about the journal or to find our call for papers. https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/ and http://masjournal.org.uk/