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Martial Arts Studies conference looks to the future

17 July 2017

Peter Lorge
Peter Lorge opens the Martial Arts Studies Conference 2017.

The third international Martial Arts Studies Conference has concluded following three days of presentations, panels and keynotes.

The conference, which welcomed over sixty national and international delegates, was opened by Vanderbilt University's Peter Lorge whose keynote "Inventing 'traditional martial arts'" questioned whether any martial art can claim to be 'authentic'.

Lorge argued that even supposedly ancient martial arts can be shown to have surprisingly short histories, with even some of the supposedly oldest martial arts being extremely recent inventions.

Keynotes were also presented by Sixt Wetzler, Meaghan Morris, Benjamin N. Judkins and Gitanjali Kolanad.

The conference also recognised the developments made in the field of Martial Arts Studies since the first conference in 2015.

To date the field has been led by Cardiff University's Professor Paul Bowman, who founded the AHRC-funded Martial Arts Studies Research Network in order to shape a multidisciplinary field by connecting researchers and practitioners.

Professor Bowman said "This year's conference has attracted an even wider geographical and disciplinary sweep of participants. Many have forged strong connections and are producing new collaborations as a result.

"Our work in this field is articulated and disseminated using four main channels: the Martial Arts Studies journal, the AHRC network, a book series and several interconnected conferences."

Professor Bowman concluded "We're really building our field of research as we go. But that means we also have to ask difficult questions about what concepts, images and vocabularies are best suited to conveying such matters as embodied knowledge, skill, technique and experience. It's very exciting."

Videos of selected presentations will be made available and publicised via @MAStudies in due course and issue four of Martial Arts Studies Journal, which is open access and peer reviewed, is now available online.

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