Embodying martial arts for mental health: Cultivating psychological wellbeing with martial arts practice

Archives of Budo Science of Martial Arts and Extreme Sports 10:59-70 (2014)
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The question of what constitutes and facilitates mental health or psychological well-being has remained of great interest to martial artists and philosophers alike, and still endures to this day. Although important questions about well-being remain, it has recently been argued in the literature that a paradigmatic or prototypical case of human psychological well-being would characteristically consist of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Other scholarship has also recently suggested that martial arts practice may positively promote psychological well-being, although recent studies on martial arts have not yet been reviewed and integrated under the PERMA framework from positive psychology to further explore and explicate this possibility. This article therefore contributes to the literature by reviewing recent work on psychological well-being and martial arts to determine whether there is substantive support for the claim that practicing martial arts can positively contribute to one flourishing with greater psychological well-being.

Author's Profile

Adam M. Croom
University of California, Berkeley


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