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Title: Teaching and learning in a Japanese koryū dōjō : a classical Japanese martial art as a community of practice
Author: Seabourne, Anna
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 9636
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
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This research is about teaching and learning in the classical Japanese martial art of Takenouchi-ryū Bitchūden and what it means to be a participant in a traditional dōjō in Japan. There is a lack of research which foregrounds the practices at the level of the martial arts dōjō in contemporary Japan, and in particular of the koryū bujutsu (classical martial arts). Previous research has documented their history and the modern forms of budō which developed from their traditions, but not how teaching and learning function in the koryū of today. The purpose of the research was to explore what a koryū offers contemporary practitioners and the way that transmission is structured, ordered, controlled and facilitated. Through developing a thick description of the life of the dōjō and its members, this research aims to show how the dōjō works as a community of practice with members mutually engaged in the joint enterprise of teaching and learning. Using community of practice theory as a lens to examine how learning, teaching, and progression through the ryūha are presented, the research took an ethnographic approach to gathering data through participant observation at the main dōjō in Kyoto, related dōjō in Okayama and Tokyo and events such as public demonstrations. Data was gathered on three visits for fieldwork between 2012-2014. This was supplemented by twenty-one semi-structured interviews of members of the ryūha; researching the views of selected long-term participants in other koryū using a survey tool; as well as supplementary data in the form of documents, videos, and postings on social media. The research found that although there is a paradigmatic trajectory, which moves from being a paying student to a role based on contribution through teaching, a variety of forms of engagement exist within the community of practice. This reveals a complexity beyond the senpai-kōhai hierarchy often reported in Japanese educational organisations. As with other iemoto-like systems, authority and secrecy continue to play a role in how the koryū are structured, but also in the way in which knowledge is transmitted. The research suggests that teaching and learning extends beyond the formal curriculum; has both explicit and tacit elements; and can be categorised as four types: kihon (basics), kata (paired pattern practice), kuden (oral teachings) and enbu (demonstrations). These findings are important because they deepen understandings of what engagement in this kind of traditional Japanese practice entails; how teaching and learning opportunities are constructed within the community of practice of the dōjō; and why long-term practitioners see it as an integral aspect of their lives, an important source of well-being, and intrinsic to how they deal with the challenges of life in contemporary Japan.
Supervisor: Cox, Rupert ; Cave, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: enbu ; kihon ; koryu ; ryu ; dojo ; kuden ; social theories of learning ; kata ; teaching ; ryA°« ; Takenouchi-ryA°« ; martial art ; Japan ; community of practice ; koryA°« ; dA° jA° ; learning