New research gives intriguing insights into Martial Arts and Mindfulness

posted in: MASRN, Mindfulness | 2


Pregnant warrior with deer-hooks by Bonbon. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

Here are some highlights for martial artists from a conference called: The Mindfulness Turn in Martial, Healing and Performance Arts at the University of Huddersfield on Saturday 19 November 2016. This free event was jointly hosted by the AHRC-funded Martial Arts Studies Research Network and by the Centre for Psychophysical Performance Research and the Mindfulness and Performance project at University of Huddersfield.

1. Why martial arts can be a powerful route to mindfulness (Deb Middleton) (Already published as an article on this blog on 21 November)

2. The Involved Witness (Sandra Reeve)

3. Exploring the past, present and future of “mindfulness” (Steven Stanley)

4. Depending on others in the martial arts – two unusual perspectives (Gey Pin Ang and Caroline Gatt)

5. This beautiful exercise illuminates Bruce Lee’s “Way of no Way” (Pasquale Esposito) (Already published as an article on this blog on 24 November)

6. A Neurocognitive Model of Mindfulness (Tamara Russell)

I haven’t written this session up for the blog, although it was fascinating – it was all about the physical processes that happen inside the different parts of your brain when you meditate, and the potential of the Default Mode Network (the part of the brain that activates when the brain is at wakeful rest, such as during daydreaming and mind-wandering) – as a wellspring of creativity.

Tamara was awesome to talk to at this event. She’s a clinical psychologist, and Director of the (currently virtual) Mindfulness Centre of Excellence in London; and a Kung Fu and Tai Chi teacher. She’s currently doing amazing work, including supporting some very vulnerable groups.

Check out Tamara’s website and Youtube videos to get a glimpse into her exciting world – from explaining to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Boxing how boxing can help young people psychologically (Tamara is a trustee of London-based charity Fight 4 Change), to being featured in a short documentary about how martial arts helps us connect body and mind, to promoting  the benefits of martial arts at a project for deprived young people in Brazil.

7. Remapping Embodied Arts (Ben Spatz)

Sadly I missed this talk at the end of the day, as had to leave. Here’s a write-up of Ben’s excellent talk at the Martial Arts Studies Conference in July though: On looking for secrets in your martial arts study



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