Lessons from the Dojang: Student Affairs Issues from the Perspective of the Martial Arts

By Michael Perini.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 18, 2014 $US5.00

Thinkers have been applying long-standing martial arts philosophies to a variety of professional genres for years. Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” tends to be the most widely used, but one may also find Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book of Five Rings” and others, particularly applied in the business realm. Where these ideas find less traction though is in the realm of education, specifically higher education, as some of the philosophies operate better in the boardroom than in the classroom. However, much of the experience associated with martial arts provides an alternate prism to view conflicts and difficulties in the field of higher education, particularly student affairs. This discussion will not seek to apply Sun Tzu’s, Musashi’s, or any other prominent martial arts theorist’s opinions to higher education. Instead, in the context of personal narrative, the author will draw upon his experience as a martial artist as well as his theoretical and experiential learning in student affairs in order to expand the discussions on a variety of concerns within the field. In particular, the work addresses some of the concerns discussed in “Contested Issues in Student Affairs: Diverse Perspectives and Respectful Dialogue,” so as to provide direct, pragmatic solutions and the means for functional application.

Keywords: Student Affairs, Martial Arts, Experience and Theory, Collaboration

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, November 2014, pp.21-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 18, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 350.632KB)).

Dr. Michael Perini

Reference, Research, and Instruction Specialist, Fenwick Library Reference, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Michael Perini received a bachelor of arts in classics and history when he graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2003. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta. In 2006, he earned his master’s degree in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed the requirements for the master of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies for higher education administration at George Mason University in 2011. Additionally, he was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. Michael is currently a doctoral candidate in the higher education program at George Mason University. Michael's research interests include for-profit educational institutions, distance education, and the exploration of the concepts of public and civic good.