Psychological Collectivism in Traditional Martial Arts



This paper offers a new perspective for viewing traditional martial arts in terms of psychology. It argues that ‘traditional’ martial arts offer physical skills, moral codes, rituals, roles, and hierarchical relationships which, taken together, creates the perfect environment for psychological collectivism . Psychological collectivism focuses on individuals and their abilities to accept the norms of an in-group, understand hierarchy, and feel interdependence or the common faith of the group. First, this paper introduces the theory of psychological collectivism and connects it with traditional martial arts known as wushu or kung fu. It argues that traditional Asian martial arts create situations strong enough to activate collectivistic attributes of self and suggests that practitioners’ mind-sets can be different within and outside of the training environment. This kind of collectivistic interaction may provide one explanation for how non-Asian practitioners function in such training environments and how the traditional Asian martial arts can work as psychosocial therapies.


psychological collectivismtraditional martial artskung fuwushukung fu familymembership
  • Volume: 7
  • Page/Article: 49-59
  • DOI: 10.18573/mas.72
  • Published on 21 Jan 2019
  • Peer Reviewed