Pursuing health through techniques of the body in martial arts
International Coalition of YMCA Universities
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As a broad set of body cultures, the ‘martial arts’ are a group of fighting systems from around the world that are composed of individual sets of movement that include kicking, jumping, rolling, stamping and punching expressed through a great variety of stylisations and developments. Such techniques, although originally devised for combat and military situations, might be adapted for health research and clinical applications. These ‘techniques of the body’, to follow Marcel Mauss’s well-known anthropological concept, are both biomechanical and sociocultural, and may form the basis of a new wave of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research into martial arts and health. The steps, leaps, stances, strikes and blocks, as individual components of fighting systems, can form the building blocks of creative research that adopts a cautious and pragmatic approach. The ways in which punches might be beneficial for arm strength and shoulder stability, for dealing with work-related stress and for forging social bonds with others, to offer one example of a specific form of movement, provide new questions and topics for specialists, teams of researchers and practitioners, as well as the new generation of multidisciplinary sport science students emerging from colleges and universities. This will require the coupling of scientific rigour with artistic creativity – something part of the heritage of the martial arts, physical culture and the YMCA Movement more generally. Keywords: Health research; human movement; interdisciplinarity; physical culture; techniques of the body.
Journal of the International Coalition of YMCA Universities;
Jennings, G. (2017). Pursuing health through techniques of the body in martial arts. Journal of the International Coalition of YMCA Universities, 5(8), 54-72.
This article was published in Journal of the International Coalition of YMCA Universities available at http://ymcauniversitiescoalition.org/journal-of-the-international-coalition-of-ymca-universities/
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
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