Dr George Jennings

 

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Lecturer in Sport Sociology / Physical Culture










Research/Publications

George is a qualitative sociologist who works between the realms of cultural sociology, cultural anthropology and comparative philosophy. His primary research interest lies in the study of alternative and traditionalist physical cultures, such as Eastern movement forms, martial arts, native games and folkloric dance.

His previous (auto)ethnographic and narrative work looked at the long-term practice of Wing Chun Kung Fu and other traditionalist Chinese martial arts in Britain, and he later studied the emerging martial arts of contemporary Mexico through an ethnographic and case study approach.

George continues to look at traditionalist and pre-Hispanic Mexican physical culture alongside a new study on the dynamic relationships between martial arts/combat sports, health and society. Connecting to this, he works with colleagues on the phenomenological understandings of embodied experiences in various physical cultures with the Health Advancement Research Team (HART) based at the University of Lincoln.

Academic Books
Jennings, G. (Forthcoming). Martial arts, health and society: Critical perspectives. As part of the Martial Arts Studies book series. London: Rowman & Littlefield International.

E-book chapters

Jennings, G. (Forthcoming). Xilam and Mexican / Mesoamerica heritage: Exploring relationships between tangibility and intangibility. In V. Lo Iacono (Ed.). Intangible heritage in physical culture.

Jennings, G. (Forthcoming). Pre-Hispanic dance in Mexico as native heritage: Following the path of Quetzalcoatl. In V. Lo Iacono (Ed.), Dance heritage. 

Book chapters

Jennings, G. (Forthcoming). Highlighting aspects of Mexican sexuality in the martial art of Xilam. In J. Piedra de la Cuadra (Ed.), Sport and sexuality in Spain and Latin America. 

Jennings, G. (Forthcoming). “Removing the skin”: The inclusive philosophy, physicality and sexuality in the Mexican martial art of Xilam. In J. Piedra (Ed.), Sport and sexuality in Latin America.

Jennings, G. & Cabrera, B. (2015). Gender inequality in Olympic boxing: Exploring structuration through the online resistance to weight category restrictions. In A. Channon & C. Matthews (Eds.), Women Warriors: International Perspectives on Women in Combat Sports (pp. 89-103). Palgrave MacMillan.

Jennings, G. (2015). Mexican female warriors: The case of maestra Marisela Ugalde, founder of Xilam. In A. Channon & C. Matthews (Eds.), Women Warriors: International Perspectives on Women in Combat Sports (pp. 119-134).Palgrave MacMillan.

Brown, D. & Jennings, G. (2013). In search of the martial habitus: Identifying dispositional schemes in Wing Chun and Taijiquan. In R. Garcia Sánchez & D. Spencer (Eds.), Fighting Scholars: Habitus and ethnographies of martial arts and combat sports (pp. 33-48).London: Anthem Press.

Journal articles
Allen Collinson, J., Vaittinen, A., Jennings, G. & Owton, H. (In press). Exploring lived heat, “temperature work” and embodiment: novel auto/ethnographic insights from physical culture. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

Jennings, G. (2016). Ancient wisdom, modern warriors: The (re)invention of a warrior tradition in Xilam. Martial Arts Studies, 2, 59-70.

Jennings, G. (2015). Transmitting health philosophies through the traditionalist Chinese martial arts in the UK. Societies, 4(4), 712-736.

Brown, D., Jennings, G. & Sparkes, A.C. (2014). Taijiquan the ‘Taiji World’ way: Towards a cosmopolitan vision of ecology. Societies, 4(3), 380-398.

Channon, A. & Jennings, G. (2014). Exploring embodiment through martial arts and combat sports: A review of empirical research. Sport in Society , 17(6), 773-789.

Channon, A. & Jennings, G. (2013). The rules of engagement: Negotiating painful and intimate touch in mixed-sex martial arts. Sociology of Sport Journal, 30, 487-503.

Jennings, G. (2013). Martial arts and embodied interaction: Reflections on YMCA training experiences. The Journal of the International Coalition of YMCA Universities, 1, 60-68.

Jennings, G. (2013). Interviews as embodied interaction: Confessions from a practitioner-researcher of martial arts. Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin, 16, 16-24.

Beltrán Carrillo, V.J., Tortosa Martínez, J., Jennings, G. y Sánchez, E.S. (2013). Contributions of a group-based exercise program to overcome fibromyalgia: A qualitative study giving voice to female patients. Women and Health, 53(6), 612-629. 

Jennings, G. (2012). Learning, mastery and ageing: Alternative narratives among British practitoners of traditionalist Chinese martial arts. Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science, 1, 128-142.

Brown, D. & Jennings, G. (2011).Body lineage: Conceptualizing the transmission of traditional Asian martial arts (in the West). Staps, 32(93), 61-71.

Jennings, G., Brown, D. y Sparkes, A.C. (2010). “It can be a religion if you want”: Wing Chun Kung Fu as a secular religion. Ethnography, 11(4), 533-557.

Brown, D., Jennings, G. and Molle, A. (2009). Belief in the martial arts: Exploring relationships between Asian martial arts and religion. Stadion: International Journal of the History of Sport, 35, 47-66.

Brown, D., Jennings, G. & Leledaki, A. (2008). The changing charismatic status of the performing male body in Asian martial arts films. Sport in Society, 11(2/3), 174-194.

Invited talks

Jennings, G. (2017). Machos and Mummies Boys: Gender Tensions in a Mexican Combat Sport. Presentation and roundtable discussion, Gender and Sexuality in Policy and Practice group (GASP), Cardiff University, 25th January 2017.

​Jennings, G. (2016). Fun and Games in Xilam: Using Play as Pedagogy in a Mexican martial art. Ethnography Seminar Series, Cardiff University, 7th November 2016.

Jennings, G. (2016). Mesoamerican philosophy: Lessons from a Mexican martial art. New Acropolis School of Philosophy, London, UK. 12th September 2016.

Jennings, G. (2015). Standing postures in the traditional Chinese martial arts: A form of therapy? Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.

Jennings, G. (2014). Health philosophies in traditional Chinese martial arts. Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.
Jennings, G. (2014). Taijiquan the Taiji World way: For an ecological vision and cosmopolitan wellbeing. Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.​

Short articles

Jennings, G. & Vaittinen, A. (2016). Mediated transformation: The role of multimedia in Wing Chun pedagogies. In www.chinesemartialstudies.com (Kung Fu Tea blog).

Jennings, G. (2016). Mesoamerican philosophy: Lessons from a Mexican martial art. In New Acropolis Magazine, 18 (September 2016), Culture Section.

Book reviews
Sparkes, A.C. & Smith, B. (2014). Qualitative research in sport, exercise and health. Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin.

Ruspini, E., Hearn, J., Peape, B. & Pringle, K. (2011). Men and masculinity around the world: Transforming men’s practices. NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies.

Markula, P. & Silk, M. (2011). Qualitative research in physical culture. Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin.

Shilling, C. (2008). Changing bodies: Habit, crisis and continuity. Sociology, 45(4), 718-719.

Conference presentations
Jennings, G. (2016). Ancient wisdom, modern warriors: The (re)invention of a Mesoamerican warrior tradition in Xilam. In The 2nd Martial Arts Studies Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

Jennings, G. & Vaitinnen, A. (2016). Sensuous transformation: The role of multimedia in Wing Chun pedagogies. In The 2nd Martial Arts Studies Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

Jennings, G. (2015). Sharing women’s stories: The life history of Marisela Ugalde, the founder of Xilam. In The 1st Martial Arts Studies Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

Jennings, G. (2011). Fighting in an interview: Reflexions of a practitioner-researcher of Chinese martial arts. Department of Education, University of Bath, UK.  

Jennings, G. & Brown, D. (2010). Kung Fu brothers: Narratives of secular family in a British Wing Chun association. British Sociological Association Sport Study Postgraduate Forum. Loughborough University, UK.

Jennings, G. & Brown, D. (2009). Mind, body and nature: The social practice of Taijiquan in British public open spaces. British Sociological Association Sport Study Postgraduate Forum. Chelsea School, University of Brighton, UK.  

Jennings, G. & Brown, D. (2009). Cultivating the martial habitus through partner training: Examples of Tai Chi and Wing Chun Kung Fu. 3rd International Qualitative Conference in Sport and Exercise. University of Roehampton, UK.  

​​​​​Media work
Collaboration as a consultant for the BBC2 series Timeshift – Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting: The Rise of the Martial Arts in Modern Britain.

Invitation to speak on local Mexican radio Mexico en la Piel (Radio San Javier, Tlanepantla) about the research project on the martial arts of Mexico.

Teaching/Supervision

Module leadership
SSP5010 Sociology of Sport - Module Co-Leader
SSP4008 Sports Studies: a Critical Introduction - Module Leader
SSPP7103 Social Issues and Sporting Experience - Module Leader

PhD supervision
George is very interested in supervising students engaging in research on sports, games and physical cultures from different cultures and nations, and also the specific nuances of Welsh and British games. He is keen to work with researchers engaging with cultural and social theory and a mixed qualitative strategy employing (auto)ethnography, interviews and documental/media analysis.

Current PhD Students
​Valeria Lo Iacono. Dance as Living Cultural Heritage: A Trans-Cultural Ethnochoreology of Raqs Sharqi (Third Supervisor)

Qualifications

Associate of the Higher Education Academy
PGCHE Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Universities of Abertay Dundee and Dundee
PhD Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter
MSc Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter
BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Exeter

Awards
Nominated for lecturer of the year, University of Abertay (2011).
Early Career Qualitative Researcher, Routledge (2009).
Research Award for Excellence, University of Exeter (2008).
Teaching in Higher Education, University of Exeter (2008).
Research in the Community, University of Exeter (2008).

External links

George is Research Associate at the University of Lincoln (Health Advancement Research Team).

Co-founder of the Journal of the International Coalition of YMCA Universities.
Regular reviewer for Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas
Reviewer for Body & Society, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, Senses & Society and Sport in Society.​ 

Sporting / Coaching background

George is a long-term practitioner of martial arts, having started his training at the age of 14. He is a qualified instructor of Wing Chun Kung Fu, and has trained in Judo, Kendo, kickboxing, Taekwondo and Xilam. He is currently creating a training methodology based on different martial arts movements and methods that might be useful for sport coaches and exercise therapists.