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.
Jennings, G. (2021). Conceptualising sexuality through the Mexican martial art of Xilam. In J. Piedra & E. Anderson (Eds.), Lesbian, gay and transgender athletes in Latin America (pp. 75-97). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jennings, G. (2021). "A punch has no paternity!": Technique, belonging and the Mexicanidad of Xilam. Ethnography (open access online),
Ma, X., Xie, J. & Jennings, G. (2021). Health, identification and pleasure: An ethnographic study on the self-management and construction of Taijiquan park culture space. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 8860 (online).
Jennings, G. (2020). Mexican Xilam as a gateway to (in)tangible pre-Hispanic cultural heritage. In S-Y Park & S-Y Ryu (Eds.), Traditional martial arts as intangible cultural heritage (pp. 132-143). Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea: ICM.
Okade, Y., Shibata & Jennings, G. (2020). Cultivating Values through Budo: Instilling Reigi (Respect) in Japanese Junior High School Kendo. In F. Chambers, D. Aldous & A. Bryant (Eds.), Threshold concepts in physical education: A design thinking approach. London: Routledge.
Jennings, G., Dodd, S. & Brown, D. (2020). Cultivation through Asian form-based martial arts pedagogy. In D. Lewin & K. Kenklies (eds.), East Asian Pedagogies: Education and formation and transformation across cultures and borders (pp. 63-77). New York: Springer.
Jennings, G. (2019). The 'light' and 'dark' side of martial arts pedagogy: Towards a study of (un)healthy practices. In C. L. T. Corsby & C. N. Edwards (Eds.), Exploring research in sports coaching and pedagogy: Context and contingency (pp. 137-144). Newcastle: Cambridge Publishers.
Piedra, J., Gallardo, D. & Jennings, G. (2019). Boys in Rhythmic Gymnastics: Gymnasts’, parents’ and coaches’ perspectives from Southern Spain. In McGrath, J. Cleland & E. Anderson (Eds.),
The Palgrave Handbook of Sport and Masculinity (pp. 433-448). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Jennings, G. (2018). Messy research positioning and changing forms of ethnography: Reflections from a study of a Mexican martial art. In A. Plews (Ed.) Messy ethnographies in action (pp. 41-50). Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press.
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.
Jennings, G. (2018). Ethnography in martial arts studies. In P. Atkinson, S. Delamont & M. Williams (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopaedia of Social Science Research Methods (online handbook). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
Ma, X. & Jennings, G. (2021). "Hang the flesh off the bones": Cultivating an "ideal body" in Taijiquan and Neigong. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 4417 (online).
Pedrini, L. & Jennings, G. (2021). Cultivating health in martial arts and combat sports pedagogies: A theoretical framework on the care of the self. Frontiers in Sociology (online).
Pedrini, L. & Jennings, G. (2021). Cultivating health in martial arts and combat sports pedagogies: A theoretical framework on the care of the self. Frontiers in Sociology (online),
Jennings, G. (2020). Martial arts under the COVID-19 lockdown: The pragmatics of creative pedagogy.
Sociología del Deporte, 1(2), 13-24.
Jennings, G. & Delamont, S. (2020). Style, stamina and mobile masculinities: The reinvention of Savate in the Anglosphere.
Sport in History, 40(3)
Brown, D., Jennings, G. & Pedrini, L. (2019). Introduction: Cultures of Combat - Body, Culture, Identity.
Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa,3(10), 297-316 DOI: 10.3240/95526
Jiménez-Loaiza, A., Beltrán-Carrillo, V., González-Cutre, D. & Jennings, G. (2019). Healthism and the experiences of social, healthcare and self-stigma of women with higher weight. Social Theory & Health (online early)
Jennings, G. (2019). Bruce Lee and the invention of Jeet Kune Do: The Theory of Martial Creation. Martial Arts Studies, 8, 60-72. doi.org/10.18573/mas.84
Jennings, G. & Cynarski, W. (2019). Martial arts in postcolonial times: Local theories for local contexts. Ido Movement for Culture. Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology, 19(3), 11-23.
Jennings, G. (2018). From the calendar to the flesh: Movement, space and identity in a Mexican body culture. Societies, 8(3), 66.
Partikova, V. & Jennings, G. (2018). The Kung fu family: A metaphor of belonging across time and place.
Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 13(1), 35-52.
Allen Collinson, J., Jennings, G., Vaittinen, A. & Owton, H. (2018). Weather-wise? Sporting embodiment, weather work and weather learning in running and triathlon. International Review for the Sociology of Sport (online early) http://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/Vd8iJVvbCUicA72VR8Xs/full
Beltrán-Carrillo, V., Jiménez-Loaisa, A., Jennings, G., González-Cutre, D., Navarro-Espejo, N. & Cervelló, E. (2019) Exploring the socio-ecological factors behind the (in)active lifestyles of Spanish post-bariatric surgery patients, International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 14(1), DOI: 10.1080/17482631.2019.1626180
Allen Collinson, J., Vaittinen, A., Jennings, G. & Owton, H. (2016). Exploring lived heat, "temperature work" and embodiment: Novel auto/ethnographic insights from physical culture. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (online early).
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.
Brown, D., Jennings, G. & Sparkes, A.C. (2014). Taijiquan the ‘Taiji World’ way: Towards a cosmopolitan vision of ecology.
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).
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.
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,
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.
Jennings, G. (2021). Invited participation in "Trauma Informed Martial Arts: Inaugural International Conference." 12-13 June 2021.
Jennings, G. (2019). Beyond the self: Shared cultivation in global martial arts. Virtual presentation given at III Budo Conference, Odintsovo, Moscow region, Russia, 10th October 2019. Available at: https://vimeo.com/365466454
Jennings, G. (2019). From McMindfulness to McDojo and back again: Commercialisation, values and inclusivity in the martial arts. Panel on McMindfulness, Cardiff University, 9th August 2019.
Jennings, G. (2019). Building theory on the margins of academic and mind-body disciplines. GW4 Doctoral Training Workshop "Mind the Gaps: Interdisciplinary Mindfulness Research", Cardiff University, 18th July 2019.
Jennings, G. (2019). Martial arts therapies: Biopsychosocial interventions from around the world. Physical activity for health and risk prevention: an holistic approach through martial arts, University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy, 29 March 2019.
Panel on ethics in ethnography. Ethnography Seminar Group, Cardiff University, 31 October 2018.
Delamont, S. & Jennings, G. (2018). Style and stamina: Masculinities in UK Savate. In Masculinities in Martial Sports: West, East and the Global South. Durham University, UK, 6-7 December 2018.
Jennings, G. (2017). Mexican physical culture: A festival of creativity and diversity. Invited talk for Day of the Dead celebration with Latin American Society, Cardiff University Student Union, 2nd November 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). Taking a slow look at "messy" documents: Reflection from a decade of martial arts research. GW4 Doctoral Training Special Session on Documents Research, Cardiff University, 23rd June, 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). El genero y la sexualidad en el arte marcial mexicano de Xilam (Gender and sexuality in the Mexican martial art of Xilam). University of Seville, Spain, 28 November 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). Definiciones y modelos de artes marciales: Una fundacion de investigacion sobre la salud (Definitions and models of martial arts: A foundation for health research). Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Elche, Spain, 29 June 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). Trabajando como investigador en el Reino Unido y Mexico: Un analisis de la profesion (Working as a researcher in the United Kingdom and Mexico: An analysis of the profession). Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Elche, Spain, 28 June 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). Japanese philosophy and global sociology: Possibilities for an international martial arts studies. AHRC Funded New Research in Japanese Martial Arts Event, Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, 3 May 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). Olympic boxing and the UFC: A critical look at the intended and unintended "legacy" of the events. Bath University, 24 March 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). Martial arts as sustainable, healthy practices: social perspectives on self-cultivation. The Gate Community and Arts Centre, Cardiff, 21st February 2017.
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
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.
Jennings, G., Dodd, S., Stuart, K., Pedrini, L., Aimini, G., Jehu, L. & Loucher, J.-F. (2019). Inclusive martial arts coaching. The 5th International Conference Cluster for Research in Coaching (CRiC), University of Worcester, 5th September 2019.
Jennings, G. (2018).Jennings, G., Pedrini, L., Aimini, G., Jehu, L. & Loucher, J.-F. (2019). Inclusive martial arts coaching. The 5th International Conference Cluster for Research in Coaching (CRiC), University of Worcester, 5th September 2019. The pen and the sword: The linguistic pedagogies of Chinese Taijiquan and the European longsword. Linguistic Ethnography Discussion and Study Group, Cardiff University, 14 November 2018.
Jennings, G. (2017). The cultural pedagogy of Xilam. School of Sport and Service Management, University of Brighton, 30 November 2017.
Jennings, G. & Pedrini, L. (2017). Critical Health Pedagogy in Martial Arts and Beyond. Coaching & Pedagogy Research Group Seminar, Cardiff School of Sport, 30 May 2017.
Jennings, G. (2021). Martial arts as artistic vehicles for lifelong learning. UNESCO ICM Insight 2022 (Volume 5) "Quality Martial Arts Education", online. Available at: http://www.unescoicm.org/eng/library/bookreport.php?ptype=view&idx=8115&page=1&code=bookreport_eng
Sanz, M. & Jennings, G. (2019). Working with the Roma to be more active and healthy: Challenges and action from Spain. Discover Society (August 2019). Available at: https://discoversociety.org/2019/08/07/working-with-the-roma-to-be-more-active-and-healthy-challenges-and-action-from-spain/
Jennings, G. (2019). The senses as embodied knowledge: A call for shared cultivation. Tai Chi Chun & Oriental Arts: The Journal of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain, No. 55, pp. 39-41.
Jennings, G. (2018). Anatomies of the Body and Sword: Where Martial Arts and Language Meet. Linguistic Ethnography Discussion and Study Group. Available at:
Owen, C., Channon, A. & Jennings, G. (2018). Cobra Kai: Karate Kid spin-off is a social parable for our times. The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/cobra-kai-karate-kid-spin-off-is-a-social-parable-for-our-times-101530
Jennings, G. (2018). Health research: Where medicine meets martial arts studies? International Society of Critical Health Psychology. Available at: https://ischp.info/category/commentaries/
Brown, D. & Jennings, G. (2018). The real-life dangers of learning self-defence from viral videos - martial arts experts. The Conversation. Available at:
Jennings, G. (2017). Pursuing health through techniques of the body in martial arts. Journal of the International Coalition of YMCA Universities, 5, 54-72.
Jennings, G. (2017). Seeking identity through the martial arts: The case of Mexicanidad. In chinesemartialstudies (Kung Fu Tea), https://chinesemartialstudies.com/2017/08/14/seeking-identity-through-the-martial-arts-the-case-of-mexicanidad/
Jennings, G. (2017) Learning Language through the Body: Lessons from the Martial Arts. Entropy Publishing - spanishlanguagebites - Available at: http://www.spanishlanguagebites.com/education-articles-learning-language-through-the-body-lessons-from-the-martial-arts-by-dr-george-jennings/
Jennings, G. (2016). Can the violence-inspired activities of martial arts be good for our health? Love Fighting, Hate Violence (LFHV) blog:
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.
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.
Okade, Y., Shibita, K. and Jennings, G. (2021). Learning from the martial arts: A Japanese case study. AEISEP 2020 Canada, 9 June 2021.
Jennings, G. (2020). "We are the gods!": From Mesoamerican religion to embodied philosophy in Mexican Xilam. Martial Arts, Religion and Spirituality (MARS 2020), 14 July 20202, available online:
Jennings, G. (2018). Bruce Lee and the invention of martial arts: Crises, creativity and the pragmatic body in motion. Martial Arts Studies Conference: Bruce Lee's Cultural Legacies, Cardiff University, 12 July, 2018.
Jennings, G. (2018). Studying sport and mobility using non-Western theory: A call for a postcolonial, global canon. Sport in a Mobile World Postgraduate Seminar, University of Aveiro, 21 June, 2018.
Ibinarriaga, B. & Jennings, G. (2018). The time for biographies: Studying Pioneers of Mindfulness and Martial Arts in Mexico. Sport in a Mobile World Postgraduate Seminar, University of Aveiro, 20 June, 2018.
Ibinarriaga, B. & Jennings, G. (2018). The time for biographies: Studying Pioneers of Mindfulness and Martial Arts in Mexico. Narrative and Biographical Methods: Professional Learning and Organisational Change. University of Brighton, 18 June, 2018.
Jennings, G., Allen-Collinson, J., Vaittinen, A. & Owton, H. (2018). Autophenomenography and martial arts: Future directions for practitioner research. Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, University of Bergamo, 8 June 2018.
Jennings, G. & Partikova, V. (2018). The Kung Fu Family: A Collectivist Metaphor of Belonging Across Time and Place. British Sociological Association (BSA) Annual Conference, 10 April 2018, Northumbria University, UK.
Jennings, G. (2017). The 'light' and 'dark' side of martial arts pedagogy: Towards a study of (un)healthy practices. International Coaching Conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, 6 September 2017.
Jiménez-Loaisa, A., Jennings, G., Beltrán-Carrillo, V. & González-Cutre, D. (2017). Female bariatric patients as actors: A dramaturgical analysis of identity roles before and after surgery. BSA Medical Sociology Annual Conference, University of York, 13-15 September 2017 (poster presented by Alex Jimenez).
Jennings, G. (2017). Messy researcher positioning and shifting types of ethnography: Reflections on a study of a Mexican martial art. Annual International Ethnography Symposium, Manchester University, 30 August – 1 September 2017.
Allen Collinson, Vaittinen, A., Jennings, G. and Owton, H. (2017). The Heat of the Action: Novel Insights from Auto/ethnographic Research on Physical Cultures. Virtual lightning talk at the 12th International Conference of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Hiroshima, Japan, 26-28 July 2017 (presented by Jacquelyn Allen Collinson).
Jennings, G. (2017). Out of the Labyrinth: The recently invented Mexican martial arts riding the wave of
Mexicanidad. Martial Arts Studies: An International, Interdisciplinary Conference, Cardiff University, 11-13 July 2017.
Jennings, G. (2017). Reclaiming sacred spaces: The case of Mexico-Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) and reinvented warrior traditions. British Sociological Association (BSA) Annual Conference, University of Manchester, 4-6 April 2017.
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.
Jennings, G. (2017). Communicating martial arts knowledge: Conferring over a wealth of possibilities. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas, 12(1), 45-49.
University of Seville, Spain (27 November – 1 December 2017)
Universidad Miguel Hernandez, Elche, Spain (27-30 June 2017)
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.