Martial arts are often emphasized as a combination of philosophical and physical regimens, with the unifying power to bring people together for a common goal. People across social boundaries were seen as gathering to learn and practice the martial art they studied. While unity is often stressed and remembered, the divisive qualities of martial art are less focused. Under pressure, different styles and routines evolved, and came to emphasize the differences between cultures. Different practices were used as divisive identities, and contrasting regimens were used as aspects denoting “us” and “them”.
- In the past, different fighting systems have been used to sow division.
- In the late 1930’s, martial arts proved to be a cultural barrier between Americans and Asians.
- Once spread, governments can exercise little control over how the public interprets images such as that of the Kendo Boy Scouts.
“I have previously hypothesized that participation in martial arts communities might contribute to the formation of both bonding and bridging types of social capital.”