2008, Volume 4, Issue 1

Eastern martial arts and violence prevention: Reversing a stereotype

Chunlei Lu1

1Faculty of Education, Brock University, Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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Martial arts are among the most popular physical activities practiced worldwide; however, there are still concerns among Westerners that incorporating these activities in school programs may lead to incidents of violence. Other professionals, however, maintain that this is a concern caused by the false stereotype of martial arts (as propagated in entertainment and pop culture), and which stems from an ignorance of the true values promoted by legitimate Asian martial arts scholars and practitioners. This paper explores the philosophical and theoretical concepts upon which Asian martial arts disciplines are based, and provides ample research to support the theory that martial arts—as practiced in Eastern tradition—de-emphasize any associations with violence. Further, this paper illustrates that learning and practicing martial arts, in line with Eastern precepts of martial virtue, promotes a healthy active lifestyle, and can in fact discourage, rather than encourage, incidents of violence in society.

Key words: east-west, martial arts, violence prevention