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Collegiate combative physical education classes, such as boxing, grappling, wrestling, and martial arts, offer many positive benefits to students and institutions. There has been an increased interest in combative sports in recent years. As a result of media focus on high-profile female athletes in combative sports, combative physical education classes have become increasingly popular with women. Physical education programs stand to greatly benefit from gender integration of combative classes. Educators and administrators, however, need to consider a number of social, psychological, physiological, and medical factors in order to ensure successful gender integration. Approaching gender integration with a careful and deliberate process that involves physical educators, administrators, and medical personnel will ensure programs maintain an authentic yet safe environment contributing to the attainment of course objectives. When executed in a prudent and deliberate manner, gender integration of combative course offerings has been anecdotally observed to improve women’s self-confidence, sense of inclusion, teamwork, and to enhance cohesion among students of both genders.

Bedard, Bigelman, Fielitz, Coelho, Kobbe, Barone, Gist, and Palmer are with the Department of Physical Education, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.

Address author correspondence to Alexander J. Bedard at alexander.j.bedard.mil@mail.mil.
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