Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Anthropology of fighting arts – Munich, Anno Domini 2019

Background. By reference to the globalisation of culture, the theory of cross-cultural dialogues and to concepts of body technique, an anthropology and culture-related study was undertaken to investigate an event and its participants. This was a scientific symposium and methodology seminar on the fighting arts and combat sports. Hence, this description and discussion matches the both the concept of “martial arts tourism” and “scientific tourism” at the same time. Problem. This is, on the one hand factography – a description of an event which is important for the fighting arts community and for research into martial arts. On the other hand, since we here focus on a meeting of leaders of a few specialised organisations, this is an attempt to explain the meaning of such meetings and to discuss the symbolism of the place, which is an important destination for martial arts tourism.
Method. A study of one case was applied, with a focus on the sharing of knowledge and also on symbolic meaning. Being both a witness to and participant in the event described here, the author uses the method of participatory observation. This is a type of anthropological and cultural field study which indirectly explains the goals and purpose of organising and taking part in such events. Additionally, an analysis of photographic factography (visual sociology) was carried out.
Results. The study presents an event, highlighting its symbolic dimensions. It investigates the cognitive effects of sharing knowledge related to the history and teaching of martial arts and their health-related effects, as well as controversial aspects. It discusses motivation for involvement, preferred training methods and the symbolic dimension of the place. Indirectly, this is also a description of the institutional advancement of a few organisations operating in the area of fighting arts.
Conclusions. The report from the symposium and the meeting of leaders, with a focus to its scientific and educational dimension, shows the uniqueness of the event. It was important for some organisations of fighting arts, for their institutional development, and for participants – especially, because of the training methodology. A description of a journey and visit, with participatory observation, provides inspiration for martial arts and scientific tourism, and contributes to historical knowledge. Owing to this, new knowledge emerges, relating to cultural dialogues and innovations in teaching)