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Rhythm and harmony in extreme sport participation (2009)

Extreme sport is often viewed as the ultimate form of control over the natural environment, wherein the basic laws of physics and nature do not apply to the athlete. Other perspectives on extreme sport suggest that society leads people to feel powerless and insignificant, so extreme sport athletes use their activity to prove to themselves that they are, in fact, in command of their own destinies. In this study, the authors conducted interviews with experienced extreme sport athletes and asked the question, ‘How does the extreme sports participant relate to the natural world?’.

The results show that participants describe their relationship to nature as harmonious and rhythmical, an interaction between partners. Some respondents likened to it a ‘dance’. Through ‘dancing’ with the natural world, the participants generally undergo transformations in self-understanding at the same time that his or her view of nature also changes. As such, rather than the relationship between extreme sport athlete and nature being one of dominance or control, it was revealed that athletes perceive the relationship to be about coexistence, and harmony.

CITE: Brymer, E. & Gray, T. (2009). Dancing with nature: rhythm and harmony in extreme sport participation. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 9(2), 135-149.


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