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Jiu-jitsu and society: Male mental health on the mats

Sugden, JT (2020) Jiu-jitsu and society: Male mental health on the mats. Sociology of Sport Journal. ISSN 0741-1235

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Abstract

The growth in Mixed Martial Arts gyms worldwide, along with adjunct media discourse has been matched by the number of participants, characterized by the dedication and sacrifice imbued. These factors catalyzed this research which sought, initially to understand the motivations of MMA gym members and the role that the training plays in their lives. Through an immersive participant ethnography lasting 3 years, the author trained, socialized, fought and competed with members of an urban MMA gym in the UK. The findings focus on the subculture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) existing within and alongside MMA and where men of diverse age and creed profess a path to ease in respect of mental health. Drawing from the salutogenic health model and the sociology of health literature, this paper shows that through membership of an MMA gym and dedication to BJJ, participants embody a version of health that is closely aligned to Antonovsky’s theory of salutogenesis. This theory of health helps explain not only the dedication of BJJ practitioners, and the growth of MMA more broadly, but also posits a fresh perspective on the role of alternative physical activities in male mental health redress.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Manuscript has been published online as Ahead of Print: Accepted author manuscript version reprinted, by permission, from Sociology of Sport Journal , 2020, https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2020-0051. © Human Kinetics, Inc.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences, 1504 Commercial Services, 1608 Sociology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Business & Management (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Human Kinetics
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2021 12:38
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2021 12:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1123/ssj.2020-0051
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14081

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