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Terere Kids Project at Oxford University

The 6th Martial Arts Studies Conference: Martial Arts, Religion, and Spirituality was held on July 15th and 16th 2020. Due to the pandemic, the conference which was initially planned in Aix- Marseille University was redesigned to be held as a digital panel.

At the conference, our friend and Italian PHD student Gabriele Paone presented his work Kimono and Rifle: An Ethnographic Study of BJJ Among the Youngest Inhabitants of a Carioca Favela.

During his time in Rio, Paone conducted six months of field research in 2018 in the Cantagalo-Pavão-Pavãozinho favela. This study investigated how the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helps to give balance to children and young people constantly exposed to a reality of extreme contrasts.

For example, between the wealth of adjacent tourist areas and the poverty of the local streets; between the criminality of drug traffickers who enforce a strict code of conduct in the community and the policemen who sell weapons to those same traffickers.

In his study, Paone observed that BJJ can provide the youngest inhabitants of the chaotic community a safe environment far from the excesses that characterize the favela, a fixed point, a direction, a place in which they are not discriminated, but in which to show their worth regardless of skin color, gender, socioeconomic background or religious orientation. BJJ may offer these children an alternative spiritual path in which to find a point of reference in opposition to that of the criminal godfather and to live a life, “on the right path,” as they say in the favela.

You can see a video from his presentation below:

MARS 2020 - Digital Conference - Martial Arts, Religion & Spirituality

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