Phenomenological Meanings of Martial Arts Participation

By Columbus, Peter J.; Rice, Don | Journal of Sport Behavior, March 1998 | Go to article overview

Phenomenological Meanings of Martial Arts Participation


Columbus, Peter J., Rice, Don, Journal of Sport Behavior


Asian martial arts are defined historically as emancipatory (Halbrooks, 1974), religious (Reid & Croucher, 1983, Chap. 4), and/or military praxes (Carr, 1993; Draeger, 1973). Modern definitions of martial arts emphasize either psychological maturation or skill acquisition (Draeger, 1974). In Japan, for example, Karate may be defined as Karate-do or Karate-jutsu. The former stresses psychological developments one undergoes while mastering the art whereas the latter focuses on skilled applications of method (Reilly, 1985).

Although participation in Asian martial arts has gained a measure of popularity in North America (Cox, 1993), the meaning of these arts in North American contexts is blurred (Columbus & Rice, 1991; Dann, 1977; Forster, 1986; Keenan, 1989; Wagner, 1990). While martial arts embody sedimented cultural beliefs, values, and practices (Back & Kim, 1984; James & Jones, 1982), sports of alien cultures are assimilated rather than accommodated such that values and meanings of foreign sports are altered for consistency with identities of native participants (Allison, 1988; Duda & Allison, 1990). Forster (1986), for example, identifies a greater public acceptance of full-contact karate in North America relative to Asia. Likewise, form and content of martial arts training may he altered toward adaptation to new cultural situations (Dann, 1977; Staley, 1983).

Research on martial arts participation in North American and European settings indicates personality and motivational factors can influence selection of a martial art as a sport and fitness endeavor (Anyanjor, 1981; Knoblauch, 1985), and martial arts training may offset felt deficits in other areas of life (Fritschner, 1978; Jacobs, 1970). Typically expressed reasons for starting martial arts training include self-defense, health and exercise, and discipline (Kim, 1991; Madden, 1990; Wingate, 1993). Studies suggest, that training in martial arts alters experiences of control and vulnerability (Madden, 1990), self-esteem (Richman & Rehberg, 1986), self-concept (Finkenherg, 1990), and fitness, confidence, and relaxation (Konzak & Klavora, 1980). Thus martial arts practice is characterized by some researchers as a form of self-help (Fuller, 1988; Konzak & Boudreau, 1984; Wingate, 1993).

In the present study, we were interested in phenomenological meanings of martial arts for a group of North American participants. In other words, we wanted to clarify what is experienced in everyday life such that a martial art is understood as an activity worth learning and knowing. For example, how might figural aspects of an individual's world be perceived and experienced such that self-defense is reported as a motivation for participation in a martial art? What are the contexts or grounds for these perceptions and experiences? How are contexts and meanings similar or different for various reported motivations for martial arts practice? Moreover, how do phenomenological meanings relate to modern definitions of martial arts? Through phenomenological analysis of written narratives, we explicated some experiential dimensions through which individuals conclude that being or becoming skilled in a martial art is a meaningful aspect of their lives.

Method

Subjects

Participants in this study consisted of 10 men and 7 women, all students at a small college in the southeastern United States. Ages ranged from 20 to 46 years, with a mean age of 25 years. Skill or rank in the martial arts (karate, taekwondo, or tai chi) ranged from novice (less than 6 months) to 2nd degree black belt (more than 10 years). Both quantity and quality of participants were consistent with subject selection requirements for phenomenological psychological research (Polkinghorne, 1989, p. 47-48).

Data Collection

Participants were given the following request: "Please describe in writing your experience of an everyday life situation in which you realized that training in a martial art is, or would be, a worthwhile activity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Phenomenological Meanings of Martial Arts Participation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.