Deconstructing Martial Arts

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby Yeung on Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:14 am

Deconstructing Martial Arts (free e-book)

Paul Bowman

What is the essence of martial arts? What is their place in or relationship with culture and society?

Deconstructing Martial Arts analyses familiar issues and debates that arise in scholarly, practitioner and popular cultural discussions and treatments of martial arts and argues that martial arts are dynamic and variable constructs whose meanings and values regularly shift, mutate and transform, depending on the context.

It argues that deconstructing martial arts is an invaluable approach to both the scholarly study of martial arts in culture and society and also to wider understandings of what and why martial arts are. Placing martial arts in relation to core questions and concerns of media and cultural studies around identity, value, orientalism, and embodiment,

Deconstructing Martial Arts introduces and elaborates deconstruction as a rewarding method of cultural studies.

https://cardiffuniversitypress.org/site ... 573/book1/
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby taiwandeutscher on Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:54 pm

I really do wonder, why that group never ever uses any Chinese primary sources!
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby Bob on Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:17 pm

Somewhere, many years back, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, in a assessment of deconstruction it was asked, "who gets to deconstruct the de-constructionists?"

Interesting point - infinite regress was someone's response
Last edited by Bob on Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby edededed on Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:31 am

taiwandeutscher wrote:I really do wonder, why that group never ever uses any Chinese primary sources!


My guesses would be:
1. Bias?
2. Inability to read Chinese (well)?

:D
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby KEND on Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:44 pm

Claude Lévi-Strauss (/klɔːd ˈleɪvi ˈstraʊs/;[2] French: [klod levi stʁos]; 28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009)[3][4][5] was a Belgium-born French anthropologist and ethnologist whose work was key in the development of the theory of structuralism and structural anthropology.[6] He held the chair of Social Anthropology at the Collège de France between 1959 and 1982 and was elected a member of the Académie française in 1973. He received numerous honors from universities and institutions throughout the world and has been called, alongside James George Frazer and Franz Boas,[7] the "father of modern anthropology".[8]
Lévi-Strauss argued that the "savage" mind had the same structures as the "civilized" mind and that human characteristics are the same everywhere.[9][10] These observations culminated in his famous book Tristes Tropiques that established his position as one of the central figures in the structuralist school of thought. As well as sociology, his ideas reached into many fields in the humanities, including philosophy. Structuralism has been defined as "the search for the underlying patterns of thought in all forms of human activity."[4]
I haven't read the book but is it along the same lines as the above
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby vagabond on Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:03 am

Haven't looked at the book yet but there's been a lot of different tendencies in anthropology and phil/crit theory since Levi Strauss. These days a lot of anthro is tending towards more intimate description, taking into consideration the role of the author as participant and subject as well as observer, in recognition that object and subject aren't necessarily as clearly defined as all that
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby Bhassler on Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:30 am

KEND,

I don't think the OP is similar to what you're talking about. The article in the OP is primarily (or even solely) concerned with MA as a social construct and it's role in contemporary society, whereas Levi-Strauss was concerned with the fundamental nature of thought itself. And possibly pants. Levi-Strauss was much more meta.


As far as the OP goes, the deconstruction outlined in the book appears to ignore mechanical and practical deconstruction of the arts, which are inherent to the nature of the things, and his analysis must therefore be not only incomplete, but also lacking an understanding of the critical elements that are the functional basis of the social constructs associated with the arts. His analysis is likely every bit as ungrounded as the previous sentence is too long.

I love nerding out, but couldn't bring myself to do more than casually browse this one for the above mentioned reason.
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby vagabond on Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:19 am

"Inherent"
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby KEND on Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:47 pm

I cant critique the book since I haven't read it but I would like to make the following comments. The role of martial arts in a given society is vastly different from culture to culture. Examples: In China swordsmanship was highly regarded early in its history the war arts and military tactics were also admired but common pugilism was associated with bandits and rebels. This persisted until the 20th century when a desire to elevate 'the sick man of asia' made it more respectable. In Mongol society a man was born to be a warrior and bow/riding/sword skills were part of all levels of society. In the UK and Europe fighting skills were the province of the gentry, knights having same status as samurai in japan. The weaponry would also differentiate the nobles from the hoi polloi. It would appear to be a vast task to analyse and find consistent trends or modes of behavior in this morass. I threw the strauss bit in since 'deconstruct' sounded a little pretentious
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby Yeung on Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:14 pm

Demarcation: Where did you draw the line and why?

Approach: How did you approach the subject and why?

P. 49:
Deconstruction is not a method for discovering that which resists the system; it consists, rather, in remarking, in the reading and interpretation of texts, that what has made it possible for philosophers to effect a system is nothing other than a certain dysfunction or ‘disadjustment’, a certain incapacity to close the system.
Basically, deconstruc¬tion as I see it is an attempt to train the beam of analysis onto this dis¬jointing link.
Deconstruction literally means 'taking apart' and should not be confused with destruction! I suggest that textual deconstruction involves examining a text contextually, bearing in mind the time and culture in which it was written, and the purpose for which it was written. 'Liberation theology and contextualisation ... both study the influence of culture on the shape of our theological questions and answers. They involve strenuous re-examination of traditional interpretive method' (Poythress 1988:169).

Is Deconstructionism a valid way to interpret the Taijiquan classics?
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby Strange on Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:37 am

lm-freaking-ao
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby Steve James on Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:09 am

Deconstructing Martial Arts introduces and elaborates deconstruction as a rewarding method of cultural studies.


We studied "deconstruction" as an element or "school" of literary criticism when I was in grad school. The author will probably do little to "elaborate" deconstruction as a method of cultural studies because it's been done since the 80s, at least. I.e., literary deconstruction has been applied to culture because "culture" is a text that can be and is "read" (or interpreted).

But, what exactly is deconstruction? Well, I told my students that the problem was that two people could read the same text and come to different interpretations. Why was that? People who came to be known as deconstructivists argued that it was because "meaning" existed in the spaces between the words, and the spaces were what held the text together. It was like the way a brick building depends on mortar.

That "mortar" in terms of culture could be thought of as how a particular culture understands a set of words. For example, "All men are created equal" says and means much more than the words. Some would argue that it does not mean what it says. Anyway, that's one way to apply deconstructivism as a critical (or interpretive) method. It examines "how" people put the meanings of words together by "deconstructing" that which holds the words together.

Afa martial arts, I tend to agree with Ken that the term means different things in different cultures, and even within subcultures. However, the need for self-defense is universal. Why martial arts were developed on every continent may be the same. The various expressions will differ.
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Re: Deconstructing Martial Arts

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:05 am

Steve, as per usual, has hit the nail on the head. Deconstruction here is referring to the now quite large body of literary criticism stemming from Derrida. As is often the case with people implementing postmodern critiques into their scholarship, the level of understanding of the early postmodernists--Foucault being another prime example--impacts the usefulness of the tool.

As for not using Chinese sources: big red flag.
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