Journal Archive

International Journal of Martial Arts - Vol. 1

[ Article ]
International Journal of Martial Arts - Vol. 1, pp. 1-24
Abbreviation: injoma
ISSN: 2287-8599 (Online)
Online publication date 27 Aug 2015
Received 27 May 2015 Accepted 10 Aug 2015

“Just Be Natural with Your Body” : An Autoethnography of Violence and Pain in Mixed Martial Arts
Magnus Stenius1 ; Ronald Dziwenka2
1Umea University (
2New Mexico State University (


The aim of this article is to investigate bodily experiences through an autoethnographic fieldwork study in a mixed martial arts (MMA) club, and to analyze what experiences of pain can contribute to the understanding of the phenomenon of MMA in general and the violence associated with the sport in particular.

We argue that the experience of pain can give one the opportunity to sense the emotional and instrumental effects of MMA practice. We have crafted a definition of scripted violence in MMA, comprehended the body’s development and evaluated the bodily accomplishments gained from the fighting process.

Informed by Julia Kristeva’s notion on horror and Maurice Merleau-Pontys’ phenomenology of the body, we discuss the concept of “stained-violence” by applying an inter-subjective approach to the notion of a body’s inner abject.

The autoethnographical knowledge we acquired in this study allows us to assert that a researcher’s own bodily reformation is an important asset to apply to examine the consequences of engaging in MMA training. We also apply a body-based method of performing autoethnographic research in order to examine the kinds of bodily improvements that can develop through MMA practice.

Keywords: abject, autoethnography, MMA, pain, stained-violence

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