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Martial Arts Leadership: Cultural and Regional Differences in Motivations, Leadership & Communication

Author:

Sonja H. Bickford

University of Nebraska Kearney, US
About Sonja

Sonja Bickford is an Assistant Professor of Communication (Advertising) at the University of Nebraska Kearney. With a doctorate in global business and leadership her research interests include the understanding the development of leadership and community in martial arts dojangs. As the director of the Arctic and Rural Research Center (A.R.R.C.) she is interested in addressing issues in sustainability such as community sustainability through youth leadership, communication, stakeholder engagement, and environmental and social impact assessments.

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Abstract

With the aim of better understanding the motivations for studying martial arts, and finding examples of valued leadership skills and methods in instruction, a comparison of martial artists (instructors, students and parents of younger students) was conducted via a survey across several countries: the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Finland. The framework taken to evaluate ‘leadership’ within martial arts is the theory of transformational leadership, developed by Bass [1985]. In this framework, transformational leaders display certain characteristics, such as espousing ideals, acting as role models, and showing care and concern for followers. They are also noted to inspire their followers by formulating a vision and setting challenging goals, as well as stimulating them intellectually to think about old problems in innovative ways. We propose, based on the findings from the international survey, that transformational leadership theory may provide a framework for instructors. The overall results and comparisons of the study may be pertinent to instructors and students of martial arts. For instructors, understanding what students look for in a club in terms of values and characteristics sought through training and leadership styles is valuable. This work could be used to help instructors understand and develop the traits and characteristics that could be used to construct motivational or instructional methods to best achieve goals in their respective curriculum.

How to Cite: Bickford, S.H., 2020. Martial Arts Leadership: Cultural and Regional Differences in Motivations, Leadership & Communication. Martial Arts Studies, (10), pp.108–118. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/mas.114
Published on 17 Nov 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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