I grew up being pretty health conscious, active and engaging in multiple forms of physical activity through school sports programs and outside of school. After continuing to research Asian MMA and stunt culture I am discovering that I do have connections to the sport, however, I lack the deep cultural understanding, and my research at this point has been surfing the web, which has been helpful but I want to make a more authentic connection to what I am researching. In regards to making an empathetic connection, I can appreciate the importance of the sports and how it can influence an individuals lifestyle and professional career. I want to make sense of this Asian cultural sport as best I can. I have never experienced any MMA or stunt work. Through actively participating in some form of martial arts, I will be able to partake in an unfiltered experience drawing on knowledge from the teachers. This field work of participant observation forces me to step out of my comfort zone and immerse myself into the culture. Kawulich states “Participant observation is the process enabling researchers to learn about the activities of the people under study in t he natural setting through observing and participating in those activities”. (Kawulich, 2005)
While watching Rush hour (1998), see the last blog post… I was drawn to the humour and the slapstick style of comedy, as I have been influenced by western American cinema. this may have been something I could relate to, too much. So, I feel I must continue to engage with Asian platforms media and texts that include any stunt culture or MMA to continue experiencing revelations, and learn about the cultural aspect away from any supporting western media. This will include Anime (see below snippet of Baki the Grappler) and current films in animation such as (Kung Fu Panda). I can feel my perspective shift and have epiphanies arise as “Kung Fu advocates virtue and peace, not aggression or violence.”
As I learn about the historical side of the Asian MMA culture, it provides a cultural framework and foundation for me to analyse Asian texts. ‘A researcher decides who, what when, where and how to research, decisions necessarily tied to institutional requirements.‘ (Ellis 2011.) I am aware that the structural research decisions I make are directly linked to the interest of mine or things I can empathise with.
As I stated above I have limited understanding of Asian entertainment media and I do struggle to resonate with anything than universal human emotions in these shows, as values language and social norms are all very foreign to me I can occasionally feel displaced and uncomfortable in that setting. However, I understand the critical importance of
“the influence of Dragon Ball Z is more prevalent than ever. UFC bantamweight Marcus Brimage, for example, who was faced with the tall tasks of welcoming Cody Garbrandt and Conor McGregor to the organization, is an avid fan of the show and has cited it as one of his primary reasons for pursuing the sport. ”
I also need to look how the rise of social media and the internet has allowed Asian forms of MMA such as Kung Fu, Thai chi and taekwondo influence western culture and…
I kept noticing how anime portrays the male body of and masculinity, this should undoubtedly influence Asian perspectives of what is considered to be attractive and healthy.
Conversations regarding this masculinity are sustained online due to this pop culture conditioning. ‘Since sophomore year in HS, my fitness regimen has been inspired by the Dragon, Bruce Lee. This was partly because I’m too shy to work out in gyms, but the convenience of callisthenics is also appealing.’To platforms such as Reddit and fan fiction where fans can discuss evaluate character decisions.
- Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12
- Kawulich, 2005, Participant Observation as a Data Collection Method, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol 6, no 2.
- self.Asian American, Asian Fitness, Reddit, June 3rd,
- Lo, K 2005, Chinese Face/Off: The Transnational Popular Culture of Hong Kong / Kwai-Cheung Lo, Urbana; Chicago: University of Illinois Press, c 2005.
Taylor, T 2017, The Massive Influence of Dragon Ball Z on MMA, Jet Li, viewed: 8th September 2017, https://www.jetli.com/2017/07/massive-influence-dragon-ball-z-mma
- Travel guide China, 2017, Chinese Kung Fu (Martial Arts) accessed 1st September 2017, https://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/martial_arts/