This is the first book to examine the body in training in the context of religion, sport and wider physical culture, offering important insight into the performative, social, cultural and gendered aspects of somatic discipline and exercise.
The book presents a series of fascinating thematic and case-study led chapters from around the world, examining topics including the martial discipline and symbolism of artistic gymnastics; religious interpretations of body vulnerability in the context of marathons; the religious language of corporeal training in sport and martial arts. Drawing on multi-disciplinary perspectives, from sport, religion, history and philosophy, the book explores the often contested and sometimes over-zealous application of training in both sport and religion and the ways in which this can cause harm to athletes or adherents.
This is fascinating reading for any advanced student or researcher with an interest in the body, physical cultural studies, the ethics and philosophy of sport, the sociology of sport, religious studies, Asian studies or philosophy.
Part I: Personhood
1 ‘Giving the Best of Yourself’ in Sports: The Catholic Church’s Attention to Sports in Past and Present
2 Holy Marathon – ‘Running Religion’?: Religious Interpretations of Body Vulnerability in the Context of Marathons
Kristin Graff-Kallevåg and Sturla J. Stålsett
3 Gaining Balance in Religious Training: What Might Sports and Physical Culture Coaches Learn from This?
Part II: Virtue
4 Corporeal Enhancement and Sport’s Spiritual Dimension: A Virtue Ethics Proposal
Tracy J. Trothen
5 Training the Body (Stretching the Mind) and Moulding the Spirit: Sport, Christian Asceticism and Life as Self-Gift
6 Towards an A to Z of Faith in Sport
Part III: Asceticism and Aesthetics
7 Aesthetics and Symbolism in Artistic Gymnastics: From Martial Discipline to Ritual Practices Embodied in Performance
8 The Metaphysical Framework of Transformational Combat in Eastern Religions and Martial Arts: Implications for Sports and Physical Culture Training
Part IV: Education, Gender and Mental Health
9 On the Bodies of Children: The Troubling Messages of American Youth Sports
10 Jewish Women and Physical Culture Training at Various Jewish Ys in Early Twentieth-Century American Culture
Linda J. Borish
11 Promoting Western sport and PE ideas in China: Lessons Learned and Future Directions
Concluding Remarks: Making Connections
Questions for Discussion and Reflection
'A fresh and very important new book. By focusing on the place of the body, the authors have brilliantly managed to reveal that sport is no mere corporeal activity. It is clear that this book has been crafted in such a way as to open up further discourse and debate, and to stimulate new ways of conceiving the familiar. I have little doubt that this work will energise others to expand our understanding of sport and its relationship to religion, and help open up new insights into the broader topic of sport and spirituality. And if this can begin to influence how we do sport, how it is practiced and played in the lived world beyond academic debate and theorising, the authors will have provided us with a great and much needed service.'
Dr Mark Stephen Nesti, Sportinspirit Limited, UK