Psychological Collectivism in Traditional Martial Arts
Hong Kong Baptist University, HK
Veronika Partikova is a PhD Candidate at Hong Kong Baptist University, department of Physical Education. Her research, in the field of sport psychology, focuses on psychological collectivism and mental toughness in traditional martial arts. Besides academic work, she is a hung kuen kung fu practitioner herself.
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.