The empirical focus of this paper is a martial art, Savate, which has received little scholarly attention from social scientists in the English-speaking world. The disciplinary framework is based on symbolic interactionist approaches to bodies, embodiment and movement. The ethnographic methods employ the research agenda of John Urry as set out in his wider call for a mobile sociology. Here Urry’s research agenda is used as a strategy: a key goal for ethnographic researchers. The utility of Urry’s sociological work on mobilities for scholarship on combat sports is exemplified. Until now that approach has not been widely used in martial arts investigations or sports studies. The data are drawn from an ethnographic study conducted dialogically by an experienced Savate teacher and a sociologist who observes him teaching. Nine ways in which the ethnographic data on Savate classes are illuminated by the mobilities paradigm are explored so that previously unconsidered aspects of this martial art are better understood and the potential of Urry’s ideas for investigating other martial arts and sports is apparent.
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