Transmitting health philosophies through the traditionalist Chinese martial arts in the UK
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The dynamic relationships between “martial arts”, society and health remain unclear, particularly due to research that typically views health in a purely biomedical and compartmentalized way. Martial arts and combat sports (MACS) offer a diversity of disciplines with their own intended training outcomes and techne. The traditionalist Chinese martial arts (TCMAs), such as Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and Wing Chun Kung Fu, stress health promotion/preservation, personal development and lifelong practice. Adopting a structurationist framework, this article explores the connections between three distinct philosophies of health and TCMAs, institutions spreading such discourse, and the personal narratives of transformation and self-cultivation through these embodied art forms. Taking a perspective starting from the practitioners themselves, I explore the interplay between discourse and narrative as applied in everyday British society. Following detailed qualitative analysis, “Western scientific”, “contemporary Daoist” and “New Age” health philosophies are identified as explored via three detailed, reflexive cases of long-term practitioner-instructors, their schools and documents that connect them to international exponents across time. This article thus contributes to sociological knowledge on MACS and health, while considering the connections between health philosophies, discourse and narrative.
Jennings, G. (2014) 'Transmitting health philosophies through the traditionalist Chinese martial arts in the UK', Societies, 4(4), doi:10.3390/soc4040712
This article was published in Societies on 10 December 2014, available open access at https://doi.org/10.3390/soc4040712
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
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