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  • Writer's pictureSpencer Bennington

New Martial Arts Studies Podcast

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Hello everyone and welcome back to Rhetorical Roundhouse! Last time I shared the beginning steps in my journey to become a virtual ninja so be sure to check that out if you have any interest in mixed martial arts, UFC, or video games.

This week I've been really enjoying the new episodes (almost one a day!!) of the Martial Arts Studies Podcast. If you haven't listened before it's a great way to grab a hold of some of the major ideas within the field. The ever-gentile and courteous host Paul Bowman interviews an expert in each episode. Experts range from scholars of Kung Fu history to professional MMA fighters and--soon--me!

Record scratch...

Yes, I'm proud to say that I very rudely and forcefully requested an invitation to speak on Paul's delightful show and, much to my amazement, I was accepted to be a guest expert on...hmm... let's think about that for a bit shall we? What does it mean to be an expert in your field, someone worth interviewing, someone who can help guide disciplinary newcomers through the unfamiliar landscapes? Let's ruminate on that by considering some of the guests I heard this week:

1. Kyle Barrowman on UFC, MMA, and Martial Arts Film

What I posted about Kyle:

Today I listened to the most recent episode featuring Dr. Kyle Barrowman. Kyle has forgotten more about MMA and martial arts film than most people will ever learn. I can't wait to pick his brain as I continue to research UFC history.

Of particular interest in this discussion was Barrowman's analysis of the discursive formation of "MMA" as a term extending out from the first few UFC events.

My fun fact I learned from this interview: Rorion Gracie was the fight choreographer for Lethal Weapon and likely the reason Mel Gibson triangle choked Gary Busey.

Kyle's Expertise:

Listening to someone like Kyle talk about film is like having access to a talking Wikipedia that skims any of the boring bits. His expertise certainly lies in his depth of knowledge about specific subjects.

2. Ben Judkins on East/West Binaries and Invented Traditions

What I posted about Ben:

Today's Martial Arts Studies Podcast mini-review looks back at the very first episode featuring Dr. Ben Judkins discussing invented traditions and East/West binaries. His explanation of invented traditions and customs was particularly helpful here. Ben's book The Creation of Wing Chun and his blog Kung Fu Tea are two important cornerstones in contemporary Martial Arts Studies research.

My fun fact learned from the episode: Aleister Crowley practiced yoga...but it wasn't the kind of yoga your aunt does in the park. This is a great reminder of how martial arts can operate rhetorically, responding to different cultural exigencies and are always invented, usually quite purposefully, and designed for an intended audience.

Check out the full video here (important for some interesting pictures Ben discusses) or on Apple podcasts.

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