Muay Thai, psychological well-being, and cultivation of combat-relevant affordances

Philosophies 7 (3):65 (2022)
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Some philosophers argue that martial arts training is maladaptive, contributes to psychological illness, and provides a social harm, whereas others argue that martial arts training is adaptive, contributes to psychological wellness, and provides a social benefit. This debate is important to scholars and the general public since beliefs about martial arts training can have a real impact on how we evaluate martial artists for job opportunities and career advancement, and in general, how we treat martial artists from different cultures in our communities. This debate is also important for children and adults that have considered enrolling in martial arts training programs but remain uncertain about potential outcomes of training due to the lack of research in this area. This article therefore contributes to the literature on martial arts by (1) outlining a framework that characterizes psychological well-being in terms of five elements, (2) discussing how results from empirical research support the hypothesis that Muay Thai training can contribute to psychological well-being by contributing to all five component elements, (3) discussing the psychological benefits of martial arts training from the perspective of an Everlast Master Instructor, and (4) discussing how martial arts training involves the cultivation of combat-relevant affordances.

Author's Profile

Adam M. Croom
University of California, Berkeley


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