Volume 12, 2012
Possibilities of Embodiment
The Appearance of the Body
On Body Awareness and Combat Sports
If the absence and disappearance of the body have enjoyed considerable attention in the social sciences, the same cannot be said about its appearance, other than during dysfunctional states such as pain and illness. The present article draws from a large array of phenomenological studies and presents a situation in which the body comes to the fore in one’s consciousness during the learning of combat sports, a seemingly destructive practice. The argument that I will develop, starting from extensive ethnographic research in two distinctive combat sports, is that every type of bodily practice develops a specific type of reflective body awareness that has a significant impact upon both the way we feel our bodies and the way we feel the world. In other words, what we do with and to our bodies shapes the way we see and experience the world.