Taijiquan, genius loci and tourism: a participant observation about Chenjiagou


  • Sergio Raimondo Universita' di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4413-3158
  • Laura Rea Independent scholar and free translator
  • Yong-shun Wang National Huaqiao University




Martial arts, tai chi, tourism, cultural tourism, UNESCO, intangible cultural heritage


This essay analyses the key concepts enunciated by the international literature on martial arts tourism – and of the even broader category of cultural tourism. It combines notes produced by a participant observation and the images produced by the first author himself. The result is the illustration of a particular case of martial arts tourism included in the decade 2009-2018 and focused on Chenjiagou (Chen village), a village in inland China (Wen county, Henan province, People's Republic of China). Here tourists – attracted by the peculiar spirit of the place, genius loci, expressed in the landscape and in the local customs and reinforced by recurring or occasional celebrations – are contributing to the local economic development and urban improvement, by creating an informal planetary-scale network through the common interest in the martial art of taijiquan.


Download data is not yet available.

Métricas alternativas


Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. (2002, Nov. 14). Heritage Tourism and the Federal Government, Federal Heritage Tourism Summit, Report of Proceedings. Washington, DC, USA.

Campbell, C. (2005). The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism. Blackwell.

Castells, M. (2000). The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, III. End of Millenium. Blackwell.

Ciampi, M. (2007). La sociologia visuale in Italia. Vedere, Osservare, Analizzare. Bonanno.

Cynarski, W. J. (2017). A cyclical meeting of experts as a special case of martial arts tourism. Ido Movement for Culture. Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology, 17(3), 31-37. https://doi.org/10.14589/ido.17.3.4

Cynarski, W. J. (2020). Tourism of martial arts: social-cultural perspective. Rzeszów University Press.

Dumazedier, J. (1962). Vers une civilization du loisir. Editions du Seuil.

English-Lueck, J. A. (1990). Health in the New Age: A Study of Californian Holistic Practises. University of New Mexico Press.

Faccioli F., & Losacco, P. (2010). Nuovo manuale di sociologia visuale. Dall'analogico al digitale. Franco Angeli.

Ferrarotti, F. (2000). L’enigma di Alessandro. Incontro tra culture e progresso civile. Donzelli.

Figueiredo, A. A., Black, W., Bujak, Z., Maroteaux, R. J., & Cynarski, W. J. (2020). Martial arts tourism of the “Europe—Far East” direction, in the opinion of Grand Masters. Sustanaibility, 12(21), 8857. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218857

Gaffney, D. (2006), Subiendo peldaños métodos de entrenamiento tradicional en la Aldea de Chen Taijiquan. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiaticas, 1(1), 32-47. https://doi.org/10.18002/rama.v1i1.160

Gaffney, D., & Siaw-Voon Sim, D. (2009). The Essence of Taijiquan. Blurb.

Gammon, S., & Robinson, T. (2003). Sport and Tourism: A Conceptual Framework. Journal of Sport Tourism, 81(1), 21-26. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775080306236

Gianni, T. (2013). Tang Hao e la sua ricerca sulle origini della tradizione. In S. Raimondo (Ed.), Gioco, dramma, rito nelle arti marziali e negli sport da combattimento (pp. 63-73). Exorma.

Gibson, H. J. (1998a). Active sports tourism: Who participates? Leisure Studies, 17(2), 155-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/026143698375213

Gibson, H. J. (1998b). Sport Tourism. A Critical Analysis of Research. Sport Management Review, 1(1), 45-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1441-3523(98)70099-3

Giddens, A. (1990). The Consequences of Modernity. Stanford University Press.

Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Harvard University Press.

Granet, M. (1919). Fêtes et chansons anciennes de la Chine. E. Leroux.

Granet, M. (1934). La pensée chinoise. La renaissance du livre.

Green, T. A. (2015). Playing Conflict in Folk Performance, Analysis, 1-8.

Green, T. A., & Svinth, J. R. (2003) Martial arts tourism. In T. A. Green & J. R. Svinth (Eds.), Martial Arts in the Modern World (411-416). Praeger.

Hall, M. C., & Zeppel, H. (1990). History, Architecture, Environment: Cultural Heritage and Tourism. Journal of Travel Research, 29(2), 54-55. https://doi.org/10.1177/004728759002900212

Hesse, H. (1973). Il pellegrinaggio a Oriente. Adelphi. (1sted. 1932, Id. Die Morgenlandfahrt. Eine Erzählung, S. Fischer Verlag).

Johnson, J. A. (2021). Taekwondo as an Academic Field of Study for Non-Koreans: An Unconventional and Extreme Form of Martial Arts Tourism, Sustainability, 13(6), 3124. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063124

Ohnesorge, H. W. (2020). Soft Power: The Forces of Attraction in International Relations. Springer International.

Kang, G. (1995). Spring Autumn: The Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts - 5000 Years. Plum.

Lu, Z., (2018). Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts. Routledge.

Lucianus. (1990). Storia vera, Rizzoli. (1sted. II century A.D.).

Mattioli, F. (2007). La sociologia visuale: che cosa è, come si fa. Bonanno.

Nguyen, T. H. H., & Cheung, C. (2014). The Classification of Heritage Tourists: A Case of Hue City, Vietnam. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 9(1), 35-50. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743873X.2013.818677

Nye, J. S. Jr. (2004). Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. Public Affairs.

Partikova, V. (2019). Exploring the self-perception of kung fu teachers. An interpretative phenomenological analysis, European Journal for Sport and Society, 16(3), 247-267. https://doi.org/10.1080/16138171.2019.1661143

Pauwels, L., & Mannay, D. (2019). The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods. SAGE.

Pawelec, P., Świder, P., & Cynarski, W. J. (2020). Martial arts tourism. Meta-analysis of publications from 2005-2020. Sustainability, 12(17), 7069. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177069

Porchet, P. (2019) An ethnographic survey in Guangfu. “Taiji Township”. Blog scientifique de l’Institut Confucius de l’Université de Genève, 1-7.

Raimondo, S. (2011). Heritage tourism and Taiijquan. The case of Chenjiagou, Henan, RPC. Ido Movement for Culture. Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology, 11(1), 52–59.

Ramshaw, G., & Gammon, S. J. (2005). More than just Nostalgia? Exploring the heritage/sport tourism Nexus, Journal of Sport Tourism, 10(4), 229-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775080600805416

Ramshaw, G., & Gammon, S. J. (2017). Towards a critical sport heritage: implications for sport tourism. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 21(2), 115-131. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775085.2016.1262275

Said, E. (1978) Orientalism. Pantheon Books.

Skowron-Markovska, S. (2019) Chinese guóshù ("national art") in Shaolin Temple. Ido Movement for Culture. Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology, 1S, 25-31. https://doi.org/10.14589/ido.19.1S.5

Skowron-Markovska, S., & Nowakowska, M. (2021). Chinese Destinations Related to Martial Arts Tourism from the UNESCO Perspective. Sustainability, 13(14), 7581. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147581

Smith, V. L., & Eadington, W. R. (1995). The Emergence of Alternative Forms of Tourism. In V. L. Smith & W. R. Eadington (Eds.), Tourism Alternatives. Potentials and Problems in the Development of Tourism (pp. 1-12). John Wiley &Sons.

Sobry, C. (2004). Le tourism sportif. Presses Universitaires du Septentrion.

Sofield, T., & Li, F. (1998). Tourism Development and Cultural Policies in China. Annals of Tourism Research, 25(2), 362-392. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0160-7383(97)00092-3

Standeven, J., De Knop, P. (1999). Sport Tourism. Human Kinetics.

Su, X., & Teo, P. (2009). The Politics of Heritage Tourism in China: A View from Lijiang. Routledge.

Theroux, P. (2011). The Tao of Travel. Enlightenments from Lives on the Road. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Touraine, A. (2005). Critica della modernità. Il Saggiatore. (1sted. 1992, Id. Critique de la modernité, Fayard).

Tu, C. F., Green, T. A., Zheng, G. H., & Feng, Q. (2013). Dragon Dance in Tu Village: Social Cohesion and Symbolic Warfare. Ido Movement for Culture. Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology, 13(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.14589/ido.13.1.1

Tuan, Y. F. (1977). Space and Place. The Perspective of Experience. University of Minnesota Press.

UNWTO. (1995). Technical manual no. 2: Collection of tourism expenditure statistics. World Tourism Organisation.

Van den Berg, L., Braun, E., & Olgaar, A. H. J. (2000). Sport and city marketing in European cities. Euricur.

Van Rheenen, D., Cernaianu, & S., Sobry, C. (2017). Defining sport tourism: a content analysis of an evolving epistemology, Journal of Sport & Tourism, 21(2), 115-131. https://doi.org/10.1080/14775085.2016.1229212

Viard, J. (2003). Court traité sur les vacances, les voyages et l’hospitalité des lieux. Ed. de l’Aube.

Weed, M. (2005). Sports tourism theory and method: concepts, issues & epistemologies. European Sport Management Quarterly, 5(3), 229-242. https://doi.org/10.1080/16184740500190587

Weed, M. (2009). Progress in sports tourism research? A meta-review and exploration of futures. Tourism Management, 30(5), 615-628. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2009.02.002

Windress, K. (2016). Musical Pilgrimages to Cuba: Negotiating Tourism and Musical Learning in Cuban Batá Drumming, Musicultures, 43(1), 132-152. https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/MC/article/view/25263

Zhang, G., Green, T. A., & Gutiérrez-García, C. (2016). Rural Community, Group Identity and Martial Arts: Social Foundation of Meihuaquan. Ido Movement for Culture. Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology. 16(1), 18–29. https://doi.org/10.14589/ido.16.1.3




How to Cite

Raimondo, S., Rea, L., & Wang, Y.- shun. (2022). Taijiquan, genius loci and tourism: a participant observation about Chenjiagou. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 17(1), 50–72. https://doi.org/10.18002/rama.v17i1.7029