Project

Why Martial Arts?

Goal: Why would and should people start and stick to practicing martial arts and combat sports?

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Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added a research item
The article (in German language) reports on a qualitative study using an open online survey of karateka on the question what fascinates them about karate. The basis of the interest is the finding of Meyer (2012), according to which "fascination" is a bundle of motives in martial arts. The sample comprises 195 adults and 30 children. The entries made by the test persons were subjected to a qualitative content analysis and validation in a team. As superordinate categories, which constitute "Fascination in Karate", the adults were mainly found to be community, body and mind, education, self-esteem and tradition, the children fun, friends and balance.
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added 2 research items
Biographical interview with Dr. med. Christine Theiss, Germany's most successful female kickboxer.
Dieser Beitrag stellt erstmals die Perspektive von Top-Athleten im Kampfsport auf ihre Karriere in den Mittelpunkt. Damit beleuchten wir „die andere Seite der Medaille“ erfolgreicher Kampfsportkarrieren und gewinnen wesentliche Einsichten für die Arbeit von Trainern und Laufbahnberatern – auch für andere Sportarten. Die Grenzen der Studie liegen vor allem in der Zusammensetzung der Stichprobe, die keinen Taekwondoin und keinen DC2-Athleten bei der Polizei, beim Zoll oder bei der Feuerwehr beinhaltet. Darüber hinaus haben wir bislang keinen Athleten nach dem Dropout interviewt. In der Fortsetzung der Befragung wird es interessant sein, zu sehen, wie Athleten, die ihren Peak nicht erreicht haben, ent- scheidende Faktoren beschreiben. Was den Change betrifft, so haben wir Athleten interviewt, die in ihrer Jugend zwischen verschiedenen Kampfsport- arten gewechselt haben, und solche, die zunächst Amateure waren und dann zu Profis wurden. Im Weiteren sollen Athleten, die etwa vom olympischen Kampf- sport zum Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gewechselt haben, aber auch Kämpfer in der erst 2016 gegründeten Deutschen Ringerliga (DRL) interviewt werden. Was wir schon jetzt übergreifend sagen können, ist, dass es für Athleten im Kampfsport ständig darum geht, Entscheidungen zu treffen. Und für Menschen im Umfeld der Athleten, insbesondere für Trainer und Laufbahnberater, geht es darum, Entscheidungsprozesse zu erspüren und zu begleiten. Kapitel 1 und 2 sind analog im Heft 5/2019 erschienen (https://leistungssport.net/jahresuebersicht/)
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added 2 research items
The objective of the study is to critically examine 氣 (qi) from the perspectives of various academic disciplines: philology, philosophy, religious studies, medicine, natural sciences, health and movement sciences with regard to their significance for martial arts. Hermeneutics is chosen as the method. It is based on an extensive literature search. The main finding is that 氣 is not a phenomenon, but a construct and as such a pre-enlightenment attempt to give a name to the — experienced, perceived, and observed — inexplicable. This happens in everyday-pragmatic and utilitarian regard, whereby humans can be imagined as “body of 氣” and “body in 氣”. Contextuality is seen as a promising approach to the understanding of 氣.
The paper conceptualizes a cross-cultural research program on fighters' lives. Within the research context of research on athletes' careers, fighters' (auto-)biographies, disciplinary studies about fighting, and successful aging at work the authors aim at modelling typical life courses of fighters at a maximum diversity. The main data source are in-depth interviews with high-and top-level martial artists and combat sports athletes. Concerning findings, an overview is presented which can be put in the nutshell that fighters' lives are diverse, distinct , and dynamic. Against this backdrop the authors provide an outlook on further research.
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added 4 research items
The study is dedicated to the task of describing the field of martial arts, combat sports and self-defense (MCS). On one hand it wants to show who is active in the service market segment MCS, on the other hand it wants to test possibilities of descriptive access to this field. Internet research is used as an instrument, concretized by Google Maps, community college, inspection authority for prevention offers, general local health insurance company, college sports, municipality web pages and on-line data bases. Appearance and organizational forms are determined, which are categorized and quantified. The study refers to the second most populous federal state of Bavaria with almost 13 million inhabitants. As far as the manifestations on the qualitative level are concerned, the chosen methodology can presumably provide an almost complete picture. At the quantitative level, more for-profit or hybrid providers are recorded than the BSLV statistics show. Further research must approach the individual providers in writing and/or by telephone in order to determine the number of active providers.
Editorial of the first volume of JOMAR | Journal of Martial Arts Research dealing with the journal's development, with the understanding of martial arts and combat sports in the focus of interdisciplinary research, and with the the "in here" dimension and the "out there" dimension in academic discourses.
For this JOMAR | Interview Iain Abernethy's and Jesse Enkamp's talks from 2013 and 2018 were combined in order to show both development and consistency in their perspectives on Karate. But this is not the only reason for this JOMAR | Interview's focus. What is addressed between the lines is the fascinating journey an ancient Asian martial art took from the far east across America to Europe and back again over the last hundred years-and this journey is still going on. What we can study here is kind of a transcultural flow in which the flowing subject is de-and reconstructed by millions of people practicing, teaching, and researching on it. Zusammenfassung Für dieses JOMAR | Interview wurden die Gespräche von Iain Abernethy und Jesse Enkamp aus den Jahren 2013 und 2018 zusammengestellt, um sowohl Entwicklung als auch Konsistenz in ihren Perspektiven auf das Karate zu zeigen. Aber das ist nicht der einzige Grund für den Fokus dieses JOMAR | Interviews. Zwischen den Zeilen wird die faszinierende Reise einer alten asiatischen Kampfkunst-vom Fernen Osten über Amerika nach Europa und zurück-in den letzten hundert Jahren angesprochen. Und diese Reise geht weiter. Was wir hier studieren können, ist eine Art transkultureller Fluss, in dem das fließende Thema von Millionen von Menschen, die es praktizieren, lehren und erforschen, de-und rekonstruiert wird.
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added 3 research items
Zu 氣 existieren im Westen zahlreiche esoterische Vorstellungen (Kubny, 2002). Auch in den Kampfkünsten wird mit 氣 operiert. So verhandeln etwa die Philosophen Yamaguchi (1997) und Schmidt (2007) je spezifische Erscheinungs-, Wirkungsweisen und Übungsmethoden von 氣. Die dabei vorgetragenen Ausführungen stehen in bemerkenswerter – teilweise widersprüchlicher – Beziehung zu Darstellungen kritischer Forscher. Das Denken, Erfahren und Trainieren des Körpers in der Kampfkunst kann sich fundamental auf 氣 beziehen – sofern man daran glaubt. Auf der Basis einer reflektierten und kritischen – v. a. wissenschaftlich eingeordneten – Vorstellung von 氣 kann sich eine aufgeklärte und gewinnbringende Haltung gegenüber 氣 entwickeln.
The purpose of this study was to systematically identify key factors that facilitate and constrain career development and career transitions. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted and analysed using both deductive and inductive analysis. The sample was purposefully composed of 14 active (n=7) and retired (n=7) male (n=8) and female (n=6) international level athletes, including Olympic gold medallists and World and European champions with 120 medals won between them. Findings relate to difficulties and critical events in athletes’ attitudes toward their career development. Six key factors were identified: second pillar, higher-level competition experience at a young age, coach, federation, setbacks, and way of coping with career termination, out of which three factors (second pillar, higher-level competition experience at young age, way of coping with career termination) were theory-based and the other three factors (coach, federation, setbacks) were collected from the transcript material. We concluded that an athletic career is a highly complex, multi-layered, and individual process. Significant differences were found between statements of student-athletes and sports soldiers concerning the second pillar and financial support. Participation at senior competitions at an early age is required for a smooth transition to a world-class level. Other aspects, such as improved communication in federations and career assistance programmes, adaption of foreign coaches to the German sport system, and supporting activities of universities have to be investigated in further research.
In the West there are numerous esoteric ideas about 氣 (Kubny, 2002). Also, in the martial arts 氣 is dealt with. The philosophers Yamaguchi (1997) and Schmidt (2007), for instance, negotiate—each specific—appearance, modes of action, and exercise methods of 氣. Their explanations stand in remarkable—partially rather contradictory—relationship to statements of critical researchers. Thinking, experiencing, and training the body in the martial art can refer fundamentally to 氣—if one believes in it. But a cleared and profitable attitude towards 氣 can be developed only on the basis of a reflected and critical-scientifically arranged conception of 氣.
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added a research item
The study aims at contributing to a comprehensive understanding of Taijiquan as practice. It is striving to enhance insights why practices focusing on “Leib experience” have gained popularity in modern western society. Besides, it seeks to identify potential opportunities and risks for the application of Taijiquan in fields of action such as schools, sports or work. Empirical research questions on the one hand relate to effects: Which effects do long-term practitioners ascribe to Taijiquan based on their personal experience?. On the other hand, the survey focuses on hermeneutics: What is the practitioners’ personal understanding of the Taijiquan practice?
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added an update
Dear colleagues,
The dvs Committee of Martial Arts Studies' open access journal "jomar | Journal of Martial Arts Research" is now open and---in my capacity as editor-in-chief---I look forward to your submissions!
By the way: We are looking for a logo. Please find attached the conditions of our Logo Prize Contest!
All the best,
Peter
 
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added an update
Within "Why Martial Arts?" I'm currently developing a research project called "A Fighter's Life".
Except for boxing there is little knowledge concerning development and transitions in martial arts and combat sports athletes’ lives. Particularly we don’t know why young people decide upon certain types or styles, why they change between them, how they develop into competitive sportsmen/-women, why they switch from olympic types of combat sports into being professionals or choose types/styles in which they can become professionals (such as Muay Thai, Kickboxing or MMA), or why and how—at the same time or instead—become coaches, „teachers“, „sensei“ oder „sifu“. Just as little we know about developments within lives as fighters, or transitions out of it, respectively what specific kinds of lives exist in this field at all.
By the research project „A Fighter’s Life“ I’d like to bring some light into this darkness and for that purpose build an international team of colleagues who are ready to deal with this topic.
Stay tuned for further updates!
 
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added 7 research items
This article examines the content and methodology of studies on Tai Chi as a sport in health care. We investigate the concept behind the rather simple name “Tai Chi,” concluding that this concept is manifold and highly variable. How did researchers deal with this variability when studying the effects of Tai Chi as a health-care intervention? We then explore how scientific research on Tai Chi has been conducted to date and draw the interim conclusion that the variability was barely taken into consideration. Our analysis of seven Tai Chi interventions reveals that two interventions referred to as Tai Chi may differ considerably in their content. The variability poses difficulty in repeating the intervention and drawing causal inferences. This problem is discussed in the current literature under the term “complexity in health-care interventions.” On the basis of a summary of this debate, we discuss the challenge of researching Tai Chi from a complex perspective—with the aim of achieving solid results that can be repeated.
Background Patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) experience a wide array of symptoms, including balance problems, mobility impairment, fatigue and depression. Physical exercise has recently been acknowledged as a treatment option complementary to medication. However, information regarding putative effects of structured exercise programs on neurological symptoms is sparse. Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art incorporating physical exercise and mindfulness training, has been shown to yield health benefits in various neurological groups. It seems particularly suitable for patients with motoric deficits as it challenges coordination and balance. The purpose of the current study was to explore the therapeutic value of structured Tai Chi training for coordination, balance, fatigue and depression in mildly disabled MS patients.MethodsA sample of 32 MS patients (Expanded Disability Status Scale, EDSS¿<¿5) was examined. A structured Tai Chi course was devised and a Tai Chi group participated in two weekly sessions of 90 minutes duration for six months, while a comparison group received treatment as usual (TAU). Both groups were examined prior to and following the six-months interval with regards to balance and coordination performance as well as measures of fatigue, depression and life satisfaction.ResultsFollowing the intervention, the Tai Chi group showed significant, consistent improvements in balance, coordination, and depression, relative to the TAU group (range of effect-sizes: partial ¿2¿=¿0.16 ¿ 0.20). Additionally, life satisfaction improved (partial ¿2¿=¿0.31). Fatigue deteriorated in the comparison group, whereas it remained relatively stable in the Tai Chi group (partial ¿2¿=¿0.24).Conclusions The consistent pattern of results confirms that Tai Chi holds therapeutic potential for MS patients. Further research is needed to determine underlying working mechanisms, and to verify the results in a larger sample and different MS subgroups.
Peter Leonhard Kuhn
added a project goal
Why would and should people start and stick to practicing martial arts and combat sports?