Five Years and Twelve Months that Changed the Study of Martial Arts Forever

Paul Bowman, Benjamin N. Judkins
2020 Martial Arts Studies  
This is the tenth issue of Martial Arts Studies, published almost exactly five years after issue 1. Over those five years the academic study of martial arts has come to look very different from when we began. In many ways, arriving at five years of bi-annual publications, with each of our issues containing influential and innovative scholarship, feels like a landmark achievement. But we are also now twelve months into our relationship with COVID-19. As much as five years of Martial Arts Studies
more » ... has profoundly changed our field, COVID-19 has -in very different ways -changed the study of martial arts, possibly forever. Five years ago, we were still engaging the question of whether martial arts studies could ever be an academic field. After four years -twelve months ago -the field of martial arts studies was starting to feel fully realised, and that we were settling down into what now felt like business as usual. Then the pandemic hit, causing tumult, turmoil and transformation. Twelve months in, the consequences are still unfolding, for all countries and cultures, and in many social, cultural, and economic realms. Seeing research through into writing, then on through peer review and ultimately into publication, takes time. This means that the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet made its presence felt in all of the articles in this issue of Martial Arts Studies. Rather, what we see in them is the coming of age of our field: clear, confident and compelling contributions, from different disciplinary realms, using different methodologies, each contributing to an ongoing set of debates. Through them we can see that the academic field of martial arts studies found its feet and its voice -or rather, its range of voices -very quickly. The field is now flourishing around many mature scholarly theories, multiple vibrant conversations, multiplying research questions, and numerous productive approaches and methodologies. It is now apparent that although martial arts studies may have one broadly shared focus, it
doi:10.18573/mas.117 fatcat:eejhkmyff5glpb7jg2mymneto4