Corporeality in Martial Arts Anthropology
The aim of this paper is to discuss the subject as well as the problem of corporeality in the anthropology of martial arts. The authors wish to begin with the concept of corporeality as it is found in the available literature on the subject. The main issues which require additional contemplation are: the anthropology of the psychophysical progress, the humanistic theory of Eastern marital arts and the sociology of fitness culture. Anthropological research on martial arts attempts to explain the place and meaning as well as the significance and value of humans practicing the various psychophysical forms of East Asian martial arts. Therefore, emphasis must be placed on the numerous varieties of martial arts and the resulting examples and cultural values found therein. Through such a perspective can corporeality's place and importance be examined. Among the classifiable models found in somatic culture, one of the most fundamental is the model of asceticism and self-fulfillment. Historically significant and still relevant is also the example of fitness, connected with treating the body as it were an instrument.
Within the context of martial arts being used as a psycho-educational form of education, the body fulfills, above all, the role of a tool to be used on the way towards enlightenment and wisdom. It is utilized specifically in spiritual progress. Improving one's physical abilities is therefore an ascetic journey of physical perfectionism and technical accomplishment all towards achieving spiritual mastery. In some cases, spiritual development is described in terms of energy (qi, ki) and connected with the capacity of one's health. Yet, the motivation for participating in martial arts more often comes from the body itself and its psychophysical health rather than moral and spiritual improvement. However, in our era of globalizing and commercializing almost all aspects of culture, some confusion can emerge from the polymorphic treatment of corporeality in martial arts as is now practiced around the world.