The martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a transformative and self-defining activity for many participants. This ethnography explores how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu becomes a transformative practice. Through the use of thick participation and theories of embodiment this thesis proposes that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s intense physicality facilitates community building. This thesis considers the role of gender within this community and suggests that re-learning the body through ritual and embodied knowledge can lead to an altered body-mind experience.
Buddhist practice in the United States has grown and developed immensely since it’s first introduction a hundred and thirty years ago. Previously practiced only by Asian immigrants for whom Buddhism was part of their home culture, the tradition is now practiced by millions of Americans of many cultures, and has developed into it’s own distinct Western form. Using a synthesis of Bourdieu and Wenger’s theories regarding practice and cultural reproduction, this paper analyzes one Buddhist center, Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery, located in Morrison, Colorado. Compassionate Dharma Cloud Monastery offers a unique point of study in that it is divided into two distinct communities that practice differently, yet side by side. A close examination and comparison of practice in these communities offers insight into the myriad forms of Buddhism present in the United States, and illuminates the diversity of people who seek spiritual guidance from this ancient tradition.