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Embodiment, Information Practices and Documentation: a study of Mid-Life Martial Artists
University of Technology, Australia.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0576-036x
2019 (English)In: CoLIS 10, Conceptions of Library and Information Science, 10th international conference: Book of Abstracts / [ed] Tanja Merčun, Polona Vilar, Ljubljana: Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts , 2019, p. 52-52Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study explores the concepts of embodied documentation and embodied information practices in the context of a study of martial artists in mid-life and beyond (aged 50+). The focus of this paper will be the practices through which they develop, maintain and share the embodied knowledge needed to pursue their martial arts. Combining auto-ethnography with qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, the study explores how participants meet the challenges of engaging in highly skilled embodied martial arts practices and how/whether these practices change as the practitioner enters mid-life. It will consider the possibility that, in a martial arts context, the most authoritative ‘document’ may be the bodies of the martial arts practitioners themselves in the moment of practice.

The study is in part auto-ethnographic, as both authors are themselves practicing martial artists (Olsson: Haidong Gumdo, Hansson: Yang Tai Chi). In addition, the study used semi-structured qualitative interviews with other mid-life martial artists and ethnographic fieldwork at martial arts clubs and training sessions, in some of which the researchers were active participants. Participants practiced a range of martial arts including Haidong Gumdo, taekwondo, fencing, karate, and various forms of tai chi, with several participants practicing two or more arts simultaneously.

The study’s findings show that the participants’ information practices are strongly social in nature, with participants working with a community of peers (training partners and coaches) to develop, maintain and share their martial expertise. Participants in the study consistently described their information practices as an on-going journey: particular goals may be achieved (a new technique, a higher dan) but these are always described as being waystations rather than endpoints. This takes on another layer for mid-life martial artists: participants talked about the need to re-learn and adapt already familiar techniques in order to adapt to their changing physical capabilities.

All participants were in agreement that the best – and many argued only effective – way of learning in martial arts was through working with other martial artists who had already mastered the technique and gaining feedback from them as one put it into practice.

For all participants, the body was the ultimate arbiter of truth. All participants constantly referred to their embodied practice when assessing their level of competence:

You can feel when you’re doing it right – it just flows. It always feels awkward and wrong at first. (D’Artagnan)

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ljubljana: Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts , 2019. p. 52-52
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-85693ISBN: 978-961-06-0219-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-85693DiVA, id: diva2:1328288
Conference
Conceptions of Library and Information Science 10th International Conference, 16-19 june, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Available from: 2019-06-20 Created: 2019-06-20 Last updated: 2019-08-05Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Abstract(190 kB)2 downloads
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Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

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