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On the way to the seminar this weekend, someone advanced the hypothesis that engineers are more likely to be attracted to aikido than to other martial arts.

Has anyone studied this? Are there comparative demographics of various martial arts? (kinetic/grappling/etc.?)

  • I discuss some of the issues with martial arts demographics in my answer here: martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/7024/… – Steve Weigand May 2 '17 at 3:11
  • @SteveWeigand: Do you feel like they're similar enough to be Duplicates? – Macaco Branco May 2 '17 at 14:39
  • @SeanDuggan I think they're similar in some ways, but different enough to have its own question. Maybe it will inspire someone to actually perform a poll. – Steve Weigand May 2 '17 at 18:58
  • I've seen a couple of polls/studies about martial arts - I was kind of hoping that this might serve as an inspiration for something similar. Might be an interesting paper for someone in a PT/Sports therapy program. – Mark C. Wallace May 2 '17 at 21:43
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Yes.

To give a few excerpts, Simmons Market Research states

... an estimated 18.1 million Americans participated in karate or some other form of martial art at least once in the past year. Included in that estimate are 9.4 million adults, 5.5 million teenagers and 3.2 million kids.

They then break into further statistics for age groups, gender, and affluence. For example:

An estimated 5 percent of adults say they participated in martial arts last year at least once, and a quarter of those (28 percent) say they do martial arts every chance they get. Surprisingly, this bunch is fairly evenly split between men (52 percent) and women (48 percent). But for the most part, participants are young. Sixty-three percent are between 18 and 34, compared with 25 percent who are between 35 and 49 and 11 percent who are 50 or older.

Interestingly, Asian American adults are no more likely to participate in martial arts than are whites; around 5 percent of each group is involved in the sport. Blacks, on the other hand, are more likely than whites or Asians to engage in martial arts, with 7 percent saying they have participated in the sport at least once in the past year.

And, indeed, income is a definite factor:

Alas, karate lessons don't come cheap, and the likelihood that a child will partake in martial arts increases proportionately with the income of his or her parents. Fifteen percent of kids whose parents earn $75,000 or more a year participate in martial arts, compared with 13 percent of those whose parents make between $50,000 and $75,000. Only 10 percent of kids whose parents earn $50,000 or less participate in the sport.

Sports & Fitness Industry Association apparently has a more comprehensive and current report, but a subscription is required to access it.

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    Very nice find indeed! – Sardathrion - against SE abuse May 2 '17 at 12:53
  • @Sardathrion: As per the discussion there, it shouldn't be provided alone, but with the content of the answer, much like how one is not to provide a link-only answer. After that, it's the risk of seeming condescending, but I balance that against providing evidence that plugging in the right search terms can find relevant results. Frankly, I think most of what I found is the same resources as in Steve's answer. – Macaco Branco May 2 '17 at 13:09
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    A good answer, yes, but it would be improved by adding information on the age-distribution of the total population; that way, one could tell whether the age distribution of martial arts practitioners is of statistical significance. – Canned Man May 2 '17 at 20:23
  • Any info on distribution amongst incomes / job types? I notice in my club, adults tend to be either college students or lower-middle class, while at the children classes, it's higher-middle class. It may be interesting to learn if this is representative. – Raf May 8 '17 at 14:03
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    @Raf: From the SImmons research, "Alas, karate lessons don't come cheap, and the likelihood that a child will partake in martial arts increases proportionately with the income of his or her parents. Fifteen percent of kids whose parents earn $75,000 or more a year participate in martial arts, compared with 13 percent of those whose parents make between $50,000 and $75,000. Only 10 percent of kids whose parents earn $50,000 or less participate in the sport." – Macaco Branco May 8 '17 at 14:19

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