Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Combat Sport

  • Garry ChickEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1067-1



A combat sport is a competitive activity engaged in by two individuals or teams that models actual combat wherein winning or losing is defined by agreed-upon rules and is substantially determined by physical contact and/or the use of real or simulated weapons by opponents.


Play fighting is common among mammals, many birds, and members of some other taxa. It involves not only competition but also cooperation in that fighting is simulated but does not include injurious bites or blows or lethal bites as occurred in conspecific aggression or predation. Play fighting also involves play signaling and self-handicapping in one form or another. Among human children, play fighting is often referred to as “rough-and-tumble play” (RTP) which, when not suppressed by adults, involves approximately 10% of free play, particularly among males. RTP influences brain growth in rats, specifically in the number and complexity of...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism ManagementPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Menelaos Apostolou
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NicosiaNicosiaCyprus