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Conference builds next phase of Martial Arts Studies network

22 July 2016

Phillip Zarrilli opens the Martial Arts Studies conference
Phillip Zarrilli opens the Martial Arts Studies conference 2016

The second international Martial Arts Studies conference concluded this week after two and a half days of talks, panels, film screenings and debates.

The conference opened on Tuesday afternoon with a keynote from Phillip Zarrilli a practitioner, author and official trainer of Indian martial art kalarippayattu.

Zarrilli, who is now a director and performer and teaches actors in psychophysical processes using kalarippayattu, described how through combat training his students are able to have a profound effect on their emotional performances.

Further keynote speakers included Adam D. Frank, Janet O’Shea and Ben Spatz. Benjamin N. Judkins’ keynote drew comparisons between traditional martial arts and new practices such as Star Wars influenced lightsaber training.

Panel discussion topics included culture and tradition, gender, history and violence.

Since last year’s conference the Martial Arts Studies Research Network in the UK has been established which has subsequently secured funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The network, which is led by School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies’ Professor Paul Bowman, has also launched Martial Arts Studies Journal, which is open access, peer-reviewed and published twice a year.

Professor Bowman said, “The success of this conference is testament to the quality of the work being carried out in the field and the growing number connections between researchers and practitioners who are now communicating with each other, reading and debating each other’s research, and even visiting and working together.

“The future is bright for the Martial Arts Studies Research Network and Cardiff University is playing a key role in its ongoing success.”

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