This article explores the carnal dimensions of existence through ethnographic research in a mixed martial arts club. Mixed martial arts (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. Through data gathered from in-depth interviews with MMA practitioners and participant observation in an MMA club, I elucidate the social processes that are integral to the production of an MMA fighter habitus. I examine how body techniques are learned and become attached to the identity of mixed martial arts fighters. Using Crossley's concept of reflexive body techniques, I examine how MMA fighters engage in body callusing through use of reflexive body techniques thereby allowing them to withstand the rigors of the sport.

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Body and Society
Carleton University

Spencer, D. (2009). Habit(us), body techniques and body callusing: An ethnography of mixed martial arts. Body and Society, 15(4), 119–143. doi:10.1177/1357034X09347224