Sound and Music in A Mixed Martial Arts Gym: Exploring the Functions and Effects of Organized Noise as an Aid to Training and Fighting


  • John Paul Washburn University Department of Sociology Topeka, Kansas 66621 785.785.2250



Sociology of Music and Sound, Sensory Ethnography, Mixed Martial Arts, Sport


This paper has two distinct yet interrelated parts. First, it is a study into the sociology of sound and music—an exploration of how the phenomena of noise organizes and structures human behavior. Second, it is an auditory ethnographic excursion into the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting. Using a general qualitative approach grounded by the soundscape, participant observation and semi-structured interviews, we query MMA fighters’ experiences with sound and music, noting how these “sonic things” become key aids in bonding, training, and fighting. Lastly, we describe how participants use music to achieve various motivational and psychophysical outcomes. 


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