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The Primacy of "Badassness": On the Function of Martial Arts in Police and Military Special Forces
Police and military special forces (PMSF) around the world prepare their person for hand-to-hand combat situations in violence conflict situations. In these trainings programs martial arts play an important role. While important for the preparation and fulfilment of the mandated tasks, the implementation of specific martial arts serves as a catalyst for the spread of the respective martial arts systems in the civilian domain. Drawing from ethnographic data within the system of PMSF in Germany the presentation takes on functional analytical lens about the implementation of martial arts. By mapping different perspectives of functionality concerning PMSF and marital arts the paper contributes to a more nuanced understanding of different relevance criteria by which martial arts systems are chosen. Based on this analysis, the paper argues, that perceived badassness serves as an important function within the systems logic of PMSF. The implications for the mandated tasks of PMFS, training and martial arts globalisation are discussed.