Review of Reinventing martial arts in the 21st Century, by George Jennings


  • Raúl Sánchez García Universidad Politécnica de Madrid



Martial arts, combat sports, sport sociology, sport ethnography


In Reinventing martial arts in the 21st Century (published by Peter Lang, 2023), George Jennings proposes a hybrid online/offline multi-situated ethnography to account for the circumstances of traditional martial arts nowadays. The book is divided in three parts, preceded by an extended an unusual preface about an ethnographic account of the practice of martial arts before, during, and after the COVID lockdown. Parts one and two present different lines of the recent development of traditional martial arts. Part three is clearly different from the other two, offering a well based ethnographic text on the life courses of some martial artists taken as case studies. Along the text, the author poses a well- balanced set of research techniques and sources to ground his analysis. Jennings affords innovative angles to see the current transformation of these cultural practices. Besides, the book points to a myriad of possible directions that the author will surely explore and further develop in future volumes.


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Author Biography

Raúl Sánchez García, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Raúl Sánchez-García (Spain) is Lecturer at the Social Sciences department of the School of Sports Science (INEF), Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). He is the secretary of the Sociology of Sport working group within the Spanish Federation of Sociology (FES) and co-editor of the academic journal Sociología del Deporte. His recent book The Historical Sociology of Japanese Martial Arts (2019) was awarded the Norbert Elias book Prize 2020. E-mail:


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Hine, C. (2008). Virtual ethnography: Modes, varieties, affordances. In N. Fielding, R.M. Lee & G. Blank, The SAGE handbook of online research methods (pp. 257-270). Sage.

Jennings, G. (2023). Reinventing Martial Arts in the 21st Century. Eastern Stimulus, Western Response. Peter Lang.

Marcus, G. (1995). Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology, 24, 95-117.




How to Cite

Sánchez García, R. (2023). Review of Reinventing martial arts in the 21st Century, by George Jennings. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 18(1), 59–61.



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