Sensing violence: An ethnography of mixed martial arts
This article describes the sensory experiences of fighting through an ethnography of mixed martial arts (MMA). MMA is an emergent sport where competitors in a ring or cage utilize strikes (punches, kicks, elbows, and knees) as well as submission techniques to defeat opponents. This sensory ethnography involves, inter alia, the documentation of the rhythms pertaining to the cadence of drills, the flow of sparring and grappling sessions, the attunement of bodies to other bodies through touch, the beat of music accompanying training sessions, the smell of sweat and flatulence, and the throbbing pain that is registered through taste. This article relies on 45 in-depth interviews with mixed martial art fighters and participant observation over a four-year period.