An analysis of the relationship between hostility and training in the martial arts

Kevin Daniels, Everard W. Thornton

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Contrasting views and data are available on the issue of whether combative sports facilitate or reduce aggression. In the present study levels of hostility were assessed in two groups of martial arts students using the Buss-Durkee Inventory. Levels of hostility on a variety of the sub-scales were compared with scores from similar samples of participants in a body contact, aggressive but non-combative sport (rugby football) and a competitive sport with no body contact or direct aggression (badminton). When the effects of age and length of training were controlled by use of partial correlation there was no evidence to support group differences in either the combined score from the varied sub-scales of the inventory or the more specific assaultive sub-scale. However, there was evidence to suggest a significant effect of length of training on hostility levels in martial artists. Beginners attracted to the martial arts were more hostile but the hostility declined with the duration of training. No difference was apparent in this respect for students participating in either jui jitsu or karate. It is suggested that such differential effects with respect to length of training may lead to the overall absence of the between-sport differences. The results provide tentative support for the notion that the discipline of the martial arts may reduce assaultive hostility rather than serve as a model for such behaviour, yet support the need for prospective longitudinal studies on intra-individual hostility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1990


  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Martial Arts
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Time Factors

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