Results: BJJ Psychology Part I

The previous posts have dealt with some (relatively) objective demographic measures but with this post I'm moving into some of the more subjective (& thus controversial) psychological data. This week I'm covering data on motivations for training & the relative proportion of individualist & collectivist personality traits (technically referred to as allocentric & idiocentric). Motivations were recorded by having people rank each item in order of importance and individualism/collectivism was measured by a popular 16 item scale (devised by the cross cultural psychologists Triandis & Gelfand).

The findings reveal a relatively balanced mix of personality traits amongst the BJJ community but are also lower on the individualism scores than is typical for a US heavy sample. This suggests that being part of the BJJ community pulls people into a more collective mindset. Another interesting result is that the most competitive and individualistic trait is actually the weakest orientation indicating that although BJJ is ultimately a competition between individuals, it is very much still a team sport! This also corresponds with the fact that 'Having Fun' was the No.1 motivation for training.

When dealing with the more subjective data its important not only to remember the limitations of the sample (i.e. 727 people, predominately North American males using BJJ/MMA forums) but also to note that psychological scales are often subject to debate/differing interpretations. To help address this when designing the study, I tried to select only well-validated and commonly used psychological scales but even so for all measures reported I'll be including links so those who are interested can take a look at the various scales in greater detail.

As usual, if anyone has any further questions about the data (or the scales!) feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly and I'll be happy to provide more information/answer any questions.

And finally, sorry for the delay in getting this post up, my supervisor was over visiting Japan so I had a bit of a hectic week!


Results: BJJ Demographics

Last week I provided some general demographic data about who exactly completed the 2012 BJJ belt promotion survey. This week I'm starting to get into the real meat of the data by focusing on some of the specific 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' demographics. The results/trends reported are all based on averages (corrected for outliers), but even with that it's important to bear the general demographics (see the previous week's post) of the sample in mind, before drawing any broader conclusions. 

Still, despite the typical survey limitations there are some nice trends which are likely to apply to their wider BJJ population (such as the time spent training by various belts, the proportion of roles for each belt, etc.). There are also some things that surprised me from the data, specifically:

1) The relatively high average age of people training in BJJ: I had kind of expected averages, at least for white and blue belts, to be in the low twenties, maybe teenagers and people in the early 20s aren't taking online surveys? 

2) Committed white belts: 6 hours would translate to roughly 3 x 2 hr classes a week or 4 x 1.5 hr classes. 3/4 sessions a week is certainly normal for lots of white belts but the average? It seems a bit higher than my personal experience suggests!

3) 6 hours being the mean/median average amount of hours trained: Again I had expected there would be more beginners training once a week that would pull down the average but while there are plenty of people who meet that profile they are offset by a large group training more frequently (typically 3-5 times a week). On a side note, the highest hours training a week reported was 40 and the lowest predictably was 0.

There's plenty more data to come and I haven't even touched the topic of gradings/belt promotions yet! So feel free to drop me a line if there is any specific data you are curious about. I'm also happy to share more detailed results with anyone interested in the statistical nitty gritty. Next week I'll dig into some of the psychological data relating to motivations and personality types.


Results: Survey Demographics

Well, its almost one year ago that I launched the belt promotion/grading survey and I haven't managed to get round to posting the results, as initially promised. I've got lots of good excuses for this (including having a newborn son, moving to Japan and being crushed by PhD work) but the fact remains that an update for the BJJ community, who collectively put hundreds of hours into completing the survey, is long overdue! 

As such, from now I'll be starting to post weekly updates that break down the interesting findings from the survey and hopefully help to provide some (partial) answers to longstanding questions surrounding BJJ belt promotions. I'll also be detailing how the findings relate to the ritual project I work on at Oxford and what exactly some of the more unusual questions were about ... but first up today is the basic demographics to help introduce who exactly the respondents are.

In total there were actually over 1,000 responses collected but due to dropouts/requests to keep data anonymous the final total sample ended up being 727. Women seem quite poorly represented with only 36 respondents but this could be representative of the overall proportion of women training (5% fits with my experience but I wonder if everyone else agrees?). There was a nice mix of experience levels but less national and ethnic diversity than hoped for. That said, given that the survey was in English and most respondents came from a selection of popular North American message forums such a skew was somewhat predictable.

I've represented the data in some infographics below and while some of it is rather unlikely to be relevant to the results or people's training experiences it is good to get a better idea of who the data analysed comes from.

The next post will start to dig into the more specific BJJ data, with a breakdown of the relevant BJJ demographics including team affiliations, years training, different schools attended, motivations for training and so on. Finally, just a quick note to say thanks to everyone who took part and for being so patient to hear about the results!