Faculty Spotlight

Anthropology Professor Published in Emerging Martial Arts Journal

University of GuamDr. Doug Farrer practices Chin Woo crouching tiger quarterstaff stance in Singapore in 2007.

University of Guam professor of Anthropology Dr. Douglas Farrer was recently published in the Autumn 2015 issue of the brand new journal Martial Arts Studies—a publication printed by the Cardiff University Press in Wales—for his research regarding the efficacy and entertainment of martial arts.

Drawing from 40 years of careful practice and study of martial arts from around the world, Farrer threw his colleagues in the craft for a loop.

“I’m trying to look at this problem in martial arts,” he said. “All martial arts have an element of efficacy. All of them are really dangerous, but all of them have an element of entertainment. My paper is about what happens when people confuse what is fundamentally entertainment with efficacy.”University of GuamFarrer conducting pilot research in Yap in 2013.

Within his paper, titled “Efficacy and Entertainment in Martial Arts Studies,” Farrer describes both the practicality and performance aspects of martial arts such as Chin Woo of Singapore and Malaysia, Yapese stick dance, Seni Silat of Malaysia, and even Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is widely practiced on Guam. 

For his research, Farrer interviewed masters and students of the martial arts, he participated and trained in them as well. The conclusion showed was that it takes skill and knowledge to distinguish between the efficacy and entertainment characteristics.

“The purpose of martial arts is more than just fighting,” he said. “It’s about self-preservation and self-defense on the highest level such as defending yourself, family, community, village, country, and nation. It’s not just defending yourself against each other. It’s mastering yourself.”

Farrer was also invited to be the keynote speaker for the Martial Arts Studies Conference in Cardiff over the summer to speak about the research he conducted for his paper.

Read “Efficacy and Entertainment in Martial Arts Studies” by Dr. Douglas Farrer.

For more information, contact Farrer at d.s.farrer@gmail.com or on Twitter @schizmogenesis.