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Alex Channon and George Jennings

Within the sociology of sport and its related disciplines, martial arts have become increasingly popular sites for research on embodiment, gender and society. While much previous work in this area has focused upon the embodied experiences of either male or female practitioners, relatively few studies have directly addressed the social significance of mixed-sex practice. In this empirically-focused paper, we draw on qualitative, semistructured interviews with both male and female long-term exponents of various different martial arts disciplines in England, exploring experiences of intersex touch within training. Within a social-constructionist, feminist framework, we suggest that heteronormative, patriarchal and paternalistic gender structures can potentially be challenged through sustained mixed-sex practice. As such, this article contributes to work on transformative sporting bodies, martial arts and gender subversion.

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Kelly Cornett, Katherine Bray-Simons, Heather M. Devlin, Sunil Iyengar, Patricia Moore Shaffer and Janet E. Fulton

concurrently aligning their work with similar goals to improve quality of life in communities. 5 The arts sector is a substantial part of the nation’s economy, accounting for 4.3% of the gross domestic product and representing a large array of industries, organizations, and workers. 6 Thus, the purpose of

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Terry Eddy, Lamar Reams and Stephen Dittmore

As online business models have evolved, learning what drives users’ consumptive behaviors has gained increasing interest to sport researchers and sport properties. An increasing number of sport properties are expanding, and deriving revenues from, their presence on digital-media platforms (e.g., MLB, NBA, NFL, UFC, WWE, etc.). Of the sport properties mentioned, none are more reliant on digital-media activity than the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivations and related consumption habits of users of non-subscription-based (i.e., free-to-use) online message boards. Findings suggest that message-board users find value in the opportunities for interactivity and that heavy online mixed-martial-arts users watch more events and purchase more merchandise than those who spend less time online.

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Carla A. Santos, Scott Tainsky, K. Alexander Schmidt and Changsup Shim

To date, scholarly attention to mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization has been limited. This study sought to address this gap in literature by focusing on the news media’s framing of public officials’ discourse concerning MMA. In so doing, the study addressed the entanglement of news media, sport, and contemporary political maneuvering. Overall, findings suggest two dominant media frames: leveraging of sociopolitical capital to protect societal values and leveraging of sociopolitical capital to advocate for legislation. Specifically, the authors propose that news media have framed and reframed MMA as a succession of moral threats and reassurances that are given voice by public officials in the name of protecting the citizenry.

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Mark Mierzwinski, Philippa Velija and Dominic Malcolm

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), like the majority of relatively violent sports, has mainly been organized around the capabilities of the male body. However various indices suggest that women’s engagement with MMA is growing. The purpose of this paper is to offer an analysis of women’s involvement in MMA using a figurational sociological approach. In doing so, we draw on interview data with “elite” female mixed martial artists to explore the extent to which females within MMA experience a specifically gendered “quest for excitement.” The paper further illustrates how the notion of “civilized bodies” can be used to interpret the distinctly gendered experiences of shame in relation to fighting in combat sports, the physical markings incurred as a consequence, and perceptions of sexual intimacy in the close physical contact of bodies. In so doing this paper provides the first figurationally-informed study of female sport involvement to focus explicitly on the role of violence in mediating social relations, while refining aspects of the figurational sociological approach to provide a more adequate framework for the analysis of gender relations.

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Bareket Falk and Guy Mor

The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of a 12-week training program on the motor performance of 6- to 8-year-old prepubertal boys (n = 14). Each subject participated in a 40-min session twice a week, which included three sets of upper body strength exercises (1 to 15 repetitions/set), unregimented lower body strength exercises, coordination, balance, and martial arts skills. The control group included 15 prepubertal boys in the same age range. All subjects were pre- and posttested on 20-s sit-ups, seated ball put, standing broad jump, sit-and-reach flexibility, 6 × 4-m shuttle run, and a coordination task. The experimental group improved significantly (p < .05) more than the control group in the sit-ups and in the long jump. Both groups improved (p < .05) in the coordination task. No significant changes were observed in body weight, seated ball put, flexibility, and shuttle run. A twice-weekly training program seems to improve performance in selected motor tasks in 6- to 8-year-old boys.

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Lachlan P. James, Emma M. Beckman, Vincent G. Kelly and G. Gregory Haff

Purpose:

To determine whether the maximal strength, impulse, and power characteristics of competitive mixed-martial-arts (MMA) athletes differ according to competition level.

Methods:

Twenty-nine male semiprofessional and amateur MMA competitors were stratified into either higher-level (HL) or lower-level (LL) performers on the basis of competition grade and success. The 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) squat was used to assess lower-body dynamic strength, and a spectrum of impulse, power, force, and velocity variables were evaluated during an incremental-load jump squat. In addition, participants performed an isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) and 1RM bench press to determine whole-body isometric force and upper-body dynamic strength capabilities, respectively. All force and power variables were expressed relative to body mass (BM).

Results:

The HL competitors produced significantly superior values across a multitude of measures. These included 1RM squat strength (1.84 ± 0.23 vs 1.56 ± 0.24 kg BM; P = .003), in addition to performance in the incremental-load jump squat that revealed greater peak power (P = .005–.002), force (P = .002–.004), and velocity (P = .002–.03) at each load. Higher measures of impulse (P = .01–.04) were noted in a number of conditions. Average power (P = .002–.02) and velocity (P = .01–.04) at all loads in addition to a series of rate-dependent measures were also superior in the HL group (P = .005–.02). The HL competitors’ 1RM bench-press values approached significantly greater levels (P = .056) than the LL group’s, but IMTP performance did not differ between groups.

Conclusions:

Maximal lower-body neuromuscular capabilities are key attributes distinguishing HL from LL MMA competitors. This information can be used to inform evidenced-based training and performance-monitoring practices.

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Victor Silveira Coswig, David Hideyoshi Fukuda and Fabrício Boscolo Del Vecchio

The purpose of this study was to compare biochemical and hormonal responses between mixed martial arts (MMA) competitors with minimal prefight weight loss and those undergoing rapid weight loss (RWL). Blood samples were taken from 17 MMA athletes (Mean± SD; age: 27.4 ±5.3yr; body mass: 76.2 ± 12.4kg; height: 1.71 ± 0.05m and training experience: 39.4 ± 25 months) before and after each match, according to the official events rules. The no rapid weight loss (NWL, n = 12) group weighed in on the day of the event (~30 min prior fight) and athletes declared not having used RWL strategies, while the RWL group (n = 5) weighed in 24 hr before the event and the athletes claimed to have lost 7.4 ± 1.1kg, approximately 10% of their body mass in the week preceding the event. Results showed significant (p < .05) increases following fights, regardless of group, in lactate, glucose, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatinine, and cortisol for all athletes. With regard to group differences, NWL had significantly (p < .05) greater creatinine levels (Mean± SD; pre to post) (NWL= 101.6 ± 15–142.3 ± 22.9μmol/L and RWL= 68.9 ± 10.6–79.5 ± 15.9μmol/L), while RWL had higher LDH (median [interquartile range]; pre to post) (NWL= 211.5[183–236] to 231[203–258]U/L and RWL= 390[370.5–443.5] to 488[463.5–540.5]U/L) and AST (NWL= 30[22–37] to 32[22–41]U/L and 39[32.5–76.5] to 72[38.5–112.5] U/L) values (NWL versus RWL, p < .05). Post hoc analysis showed that AST significantly increased in only the RWL group, while creatinine increased in only the NWL group. The practice of rapid weight loss showed a negative impact on energy availability and increased both muscle damage markers and catabolic expression in MMA fighters.

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Jules Woolf, Brennan K. Berg, Brianna L. Newland and B. Christine Green

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a rapidly growing combat sport with unique development procedures unlike most traditional sports. In this study the development processes at an exemplar MMA gym were examined. Institutional work theory was used to understand how and why the sport is being developed in this setting. The results provide a microlevel account of the processes and operation of the sport as it develops, and indicate that traditional sport development models may not adequately represent all sports. Subcultural values reflecting what it takes to be a fighter along with a fighter’s duty to the gym influence recruitment, retention, and transition strategies of athletes. Two forms of institutional work, refinement and barrier work, were identified as simultaneously aiding and hindering the development of the sport. Along with furthering institutional theory research, this study contributes to the discourse on alternative ways of sport development for MMA and emergent sports.

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Choong Hoon Lim, Tywan G. Martin and Dae Hee Kwak

The current study employs the hedonic paradigm model (Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982) to investigate the interceding function of emotions on the relationship between personality (i.e., risk taking) and attitude toward mixed martial arts. This study also examines sport-media (e.g., television) consumption of a nontraditional sport. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the proposed model incorporating risk taking, pleasure, arousal, attitude, and actual consumption behavior. The study found a significant mediation effect of emotion (pleasure and arousal) in the relationship between risk taking and attitude. In addition, attitude showed a direct and significant influence on actual media-consumption behavior. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed, along with future directions for research.