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  • Writer's pictureSpencer Bennington

A Martial Arts Studies Roundup!

Welcome back to Rhetorical Roundhouse--I'm so pleased you decided to stop by and kick it for a minute.

Last week I shared my newly updated (and still in progress!) digital portfolio for all those folks who currently find themselves on the academic job market. Why did I do this? Well, first, because I worked hard on these documents and I'm proud of how far they've come. I know they're not technically perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they provide a pretty accurate presentation of all that I've learned about becoming a teacher during my time at USF--and that's pretty special. And second, because I hope that my examples might provide some further insight for scholars who will find themselves in my position next year or in some future after that. Many people have already contacted me to give me some feedback on the documents I posted and I want to say--thank you for reading my work!

This week, I felt like I'd share a bunch of cool projects/stories/good reads that have been circulating around on the Martial Arts Studies Facebook group. This is inspired by Ben Judkins' recurring news roundup segments on Kung Fu Tea. Judkins does a MUCH better job than I do of gathering together all the most up to date stories and scholarly pieces in the world of Martial Arts Studies so definitively check out his blog if you haven't already.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some things of interest:

1. A Podcast Interview with Alex Channon, Co-founder of Love Fighting, Hate Violence

Alex Channon has been an instrumental figure in the development of martial arts studies as a field in recent years and his Love Fighting, Hate Violence campaign has been instrumental in helping me developing my own research agenda for future publications. The interview can be listened to or read as a transcript--enjoy!

2. A Book Review Turned Essay by Ben Judkins

As I mentioned at the start of this post, Judkins does a really good job of keeping up to date in the Martial Arts Studies world. This book had just come out over the summer when I got to meet O'Shea at the 5th Annual Martial Arts Studies Conference in Orange, CA. This book looks promising and the reviews I've seen are generally positive--definitely a text that could be used to help readers outside our field become more interested in martial arts as an academic subject. But, as Judkins points out, perhaps it's a bit too focused on that audience? The main point here for Judkins is that so many scholars in martial arts studies, because of their typical positionality as a practitioner, fail to balance the positive aspects of martial arts with the "bad and the ugly." Definitely give this one a read.

3. Hong Kong Protests and Martial Arts

There are at least two interesting things to track here. First is this story about MMA fighter Xu Xiadong speaking out in defense of Hong Kongers. Xu a mainland China citizen, infamous for his tendency to initiate challenge matches against "fake" martial arts masters, rebuked the "rioter" label placed on the people of Hong Kong and instead spoke of them as part of a unified China. I find this interesting because it reminds me of an article by Michael Butterworth (2013) about professional athletes operating rhetorically as high profile citizens in a world of increased social media attention.

This is how Xu smiles. If you don't like it, keep it to yourself

The second thing worth noting here is the adoption of the #bewater slogan for Hong Kong Protesters. This hashtag uses the rhetorical strategy of adapting Bruce Lee's famous citing of the Daoist philosophy into a series of metaphors for how to go about protesting. Check out this Amnesty International video from twitter:

4. Everybody Was Kung Fu Writing

Have you ever heard me say how swell of a guy this Paul Bowman character is?

I mean, just look at him

Recently he gave a keynote presentation (in a castle!) at a conference titled Fighting– Knowledge– Bodies. Historical Perspectives on Fighting Practices at Trier University. And ,wouldn't you know, he made his Prezi available as well as a transcript of the presentation! Actually, all of his Prezis are available for your perusal and, I can assure you, they are all worth a look.

Ok, it's getting late and I'm getting tired. I hope this roundup gives you plenty of interesting things to read and listen to for a little while. I hope by next week I'll have some more fun videos for you now that I've got my equipment set up in the new house.

Until then...thanks for reading :)


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