California State University Long Beach Extreme Sports and McConkey Paper Please follow the format correctly. Format: 1st Paragraph – “Introduction” of Ex

California State University Long Beach Extreme Sports and McConkey Paper Please follow the format correctly.


1st Paragraph – “Introduction” of Extreme Sports

2nd Paragraph – Discuss what drives McConkey to do what he does?

3rd Paragraph – Use a specific reference from the Lecture, Reading material or web research. Why do others in Extreme Sports do what they do despite suffering numerous serious injuries and too often death?

4th Paragraph – “Conclusion” Discuss your opinion if these risks are worth the reward.

Use “Key Words” to start each paragraph and support your perspectives with a segment from the videos.

Also please remember to give example from the materials to support your answer.


The documentary:

other materials need to include in paragraph 3: Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice
2017, Vol. 4, No. 1, 63–74
© 2017 American Psychological Association
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Evoking the Ineffable: The Phenomenology of Extreme Sports
Eric Brymer
Robert D. Schweitzer
Leeds Beckett University
Queensland University of Technology
We are witnessing an unprecedented interest in and engagement with extreme sport
activities. Extreme sports are unique in that they involve physical prowess as well as
a particular attitude toward the world and the self. We have scant understanding of the
experience of participants who engage in extreme activities such as Buildings Antennae
Span and Earth (BASE) jumping, big wave surfing, extreme skiing, waterfall kayaking,
extreme mountaineering, and solo rope-free climbing. The current study investigates
the experience of people who engage in extreme sports utilizing a phenomenological
approach. The study draws upon interviews with 15 extreme sports participants across
3 continents to explicate 3 unique themes: extreme sports as invigorating experience,
inadequacy of words, and participants’ experience of transcendence. The findings
provide a valuable insight into the experiences of the participants and contribute to our
understanding of human volition and the range of human experiences.
Keywords: phenomenology, ineffable, extreme sports
Supplemental materials:
Extreme sports refer to independent leisure
activities in which a mismanaged mistake or
accident would most likely result in death
(Brymer, 2005). Typical activities include surfing big waves over 60 ft (20⫹ m) tall; jumping
from solid structures such as bridges, cliffs, and
buildings with only a parachute (Buildings Antennae Span and Earth [BASE] jumping);
climbing difficult routes on mountains and cliffs
without the aid of ropes or other protection;
skiing sheer cliffs; and kayaking over waterfalls
100 ft high (30⫹ m). Few statistics are available
that focus specifically on participation rates in
extreme sports. However, research in the
broader action and extreme sport field suggests
that while many traditional sports such as golf
and basketball have witnessed declining participation over the past three decades, participation
rates in extreme sports have grown exponen-
tially (Howe, 1998; Pain & Pain, 2005). For
example, in 1996, snowboarding was the fastest
growing sport in the United States, with over
3.7 million participants (Howe, 1998). By 2002,
approximately 86 million individuals were taking up some sort of action or extreme sport
(Ostrowski, 2002). In 2003, approximately 30%
of all sporting goods sold in the United States,
equating to $14 billion, were extreme sports
related (Liberman, 2004).
Although extreme sports are still widely assumed to be a Western pastime, there has been
considerable uptake of such sports in other parts
of the world. For example, in 2016, approximately 130 million people engaged in outdoor
activities in China (Asia Outdoors, 2017). The
Chinese mountaineering association estimated
that about 50% of these individuals participated
in more intense adventure experiences. In June
2016, the Iran Surfing Federation became the
100th member of the international surf association. In Iran women are the surfing pioneers.
These trends of increased participation in action
and extreme sports are continuing (Brymer &
Houge Mackenzie, 2016).
The idea that adventure sports are only for the
young is also changing, as participation rates
across the generations are growing. Baby boom-
Eric Brymer, Institute of Sport Physical Activity and
Leisure, Leeds Beckett University; Robert D. Schweitzer,
Institute of Health and Behavioural Innovations and Faculty
of Health, Queensland University of Technology.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Eric Brymer, Institute of Sport Physical Activity
and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, LS6 3QS
UK, 0113 8123528. E-mail:
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
ers are enthusiastic participants of adventure
sports, more generally. A survey conducted in
the United Kingdom in 2015 suggested that
more pensioners expressed an interest in participating in adventure and extreme sports compared with individuals between the ages of 18
and 25 years (Inghams, 2015). Extreme sports
provide significant opportunities for women to
participate on equal ground with men. For example, in June 2016, a British woman completed the explorer’s grand slam in seven
months and 19 days, breaking the previous record. The feat involved climbing the highest
peaks on each continent as well as reaching the
North and South Poles. She joined a handful of
people who have completed the challenge in
less than a year. At the time of writing, fewer
than 50 people have completed all nine challenges.
Attempts to understand extreme sport participation have drawn on a range of theoretical
conceptualizations. Nevertheless to date, these
approaches have failed to consider what we
term the ineffable, or transcendental nature of
the experience. Theoretical models that purport
to explain motivation to participate in extreme
sports include sensation seeking (Rossi, &
Cereatti, 1993; Slanger & Rudestam, 1997; Zarevski, Marusic, Zolotic, Bunjevac, & Vukosav,
1998; Zuckerman, 2007), psychoanalytic interpretation of unconscious motivation (Hunt,
1995, 1996; Elmes & Barry, 1999), and personality orientation with reference to a typology
referred to as Type T or thrill-seeking personality (Self, Henry, Findley, & Reilly, 2007).
These models assume that participation is
motivated by a need to take risks or pursue the
“adrenaline buzz” (Allman, Mittlestaedt, Martin, & Goldenberg, 2009; Brymer, 2005; Delle
Fave, Bassi, & Massimini, 2003; Hunt, 1995;
Lambton, 2000; Olivier, 2006; Pizam, Reichel,
& Uriely, 2002; Rinehart, 2000; Rossi & Cereatti, 1993; Self et al., 2007; Simon, 2002). From
these perspectives, extreme sport participation
is most often judged to be deviant in some way
and socially unacceptable (Elmes & Barry,
1999; Hunt, 1996; Pain & Pain, 2005; Monasterio, 2007; Self et al., 2007). For example,
Elmes and Barry (1999) argued that extreme
sports—in this case, high-altitude climbing—
foster “the emergence of pathologically narcissistic, competitive, and regressive dynamics”
(p. 163). Self and colleagues (2007) argued that
extreme sports are deviant activities in which
participants lack the capacity to regulate emotions and behaviors in a socially acceptable
manner. Extreme sports have also been associated with drug abuse and criminal behavior.
Michel, Cazenave, Delpouve, Purper-Ouakil,
and LeScanff (2009) administered a battery of
tests to 11 BASE jumpers and found that the
BASE jumpers in the group tested consumed
more illicit drugs than a control group. The
authors reported that the BASE jumpers showed
significantly more clinical pathological personality features from Cluster B of the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Fourth Edition, Text Revision classification
compared with control participants. Finally,
Ranieri (2009) has speculated that extreme
sports athletes evidence personality deficits and
a pathological addiction to extreme risk seeking
that contributes to their involvement in these
We argue that there are a number of significant problems with the risk-focused perspective
we reviewed, including the fact that this perspective is simply not consonant with the experience of extreme sports participants. We challenge a number of the assumptions of this
perspective and popular beliefs regarding extreme sports, beginning with the mistaken assumption that all participants are young, male,
and under 30 years of age. This widespread
belief negates the experiences of many female
athletes and participants in extreme sports over
30. Second, the extant literature challenges the
risk-seeking stereotype of extreme sports enthusiasts (Brymer & Schweitzer, 2013a; Celsi,
Rose, & Leigh, 1993; Soreide, Ellingsen, &
Knutson, 2007; Storry, 2003). For example, researchers have found that extreme climbers
were high in extraversion and emotional stability but low in neuroticism (Freixanet, 1991).
Researchers have also reported that extreme
BASE jumping athletes and extreme mountaineers were more curious and less fearful compared with the general population (Monasterio,
Alamri, & Mei-Dan, 2014; Monasterio, Mulder,
Frampton, & Mei-Dan, 2012). Monasterio and
Brymer (in press) showed that mountaineers’
scores did not differ significantly from the normative population on characteristics such as
cooperativeness, persistence, and social dependency and that the large variation in the standard deviations across all measures was neither
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indicative of a discretely defined mountaineering personality profile nor a risk-taking profile.
The assumptions that have underpinned prevalent stereotypes regarding extreme sports participants have reflected not only popular misconceptions of such sports, but also a lack of
research on the lived-experience of extreme
sports participants. An exclusive theory-driven
focus on risk has ensured that other salient
aspects of the experience of extreme sports
mostly have been ignored (Brymer, Downey, &
Gray, 2009; Brymer & Oades, 2009; Brymer &
Schweitzer, 2013a, 2013b, 2015; Willig, 2008).
For example, Brymer et al. (2009) found that
extreme sports participants develop a deep and
profound relationship with the natural world,
which they often described as a partnership or
dance that is expressed as feeling part of nature.
Participants were clear that risk taking was not
a motive for participation (Brymer, 2010). Furthermore, risk-focused accounts are necessarily
deficit oriented and fail to capture the potentially profound and transformational nature of
the experience (Brymer, 2005; Brymer &
Oades, 2009; Brymer & Schweitzer, 2013a,
2013b; Celsi et al., 1993; Wiersma, 2014; Willig, 2008).
Participation in Extreme Sports as
Positive Experience
The notion that experiences associated with
extreme sports can be profound and positive is
gaining more widespread traction, as investigators have begun to explore the subjective experiences of extreme athletes. For example, as
alluded to previously, participant descriptions
of a deep connection to nature and feelings of
being at one with nature also seem to enhance
feelings of wellbeing in everyday life (Brymer
& Gray, 2009, 2010; Brymer et al. 2009). Veteran skydivers’ report regular extraordinary experiences such as peace, calm, stillness, and
altered perceptions of time and space while
engaging in skydiving (Lipscombe, 1999). Extreme sport athletes also describe deep and
meaningful experiences epitomized by feelings
of freedom as a state of mind (Brymer &
Schweitzer, 2013a, 2013b). In summary, far
from the traditional risk-focused assumptions,
extreme sports participation may well facilitate
more positive psychological experiences and
express human values such as humility, har-
mony, creativity, spirituality, and a vital sense
of self that enriches everyday life (Brymer &
Oades, 2009; Brymer & Schweitzer, 2013a,
2013b; Willig, 2008).
The current study focuses on the livedexperience of extreme sport, with the goal of
explicating themes that are consistent with participants’ experience. To undertake such a
study, we refer to nonordinary states of mind,
which we refer to, in this case, as “ineffable”
and “transformative.” The findings thus have
the potential to contribute to our understanding
of the full range of human experiences and,
ultimately, what it means to be human.
The Ineffable in Phenomenology
Phenomenology considers consciousness as
intentional; that is, consciousness is always directed at something. We use the term ineffable
from the Latin ineffabilis to refer to “that which
is beyond words” to describe a particular experience or form of consciousness. In our description of ineffable aspects of extreme sport, we
draw on Dienske’s (2000) phenomenological
description of the ineffable, as an entity in its
own right existing as an enriching experience
not just as the absence of “linguistic utterance”
(p. 3).
From a phenomenological perspective, an experience can be ineffable due to (a) a limited
vocabulary, as exemplified by a young child’s
attempt to find the words to describe an emotion
or feeling; (b) certain oppressions or taboos,
such as those reportedly encountered in some
religious or cultural contexts where particular
experiences are incompatible with the dominant
perspective; (c) a response to complexity or
nuance of feeling, such as the attempt to describe experiences such as love; and (d) the
experience of atmosphere (sensorial qualities
available in everyday space) that surrounds our
everyday life, such as the mist in the autumn
However, beyond the more everyday ineffable experiences highlighted above, the ineffable
is also, not uncommonly, associated with nonordinary or extraordinary human experiences
(White, 1993, 1988). Such experiences are characterized by tacit rich and bodily experiences,
such as the experience of unity with nature
(Brymer et al., 2009). Ineffable experiences exemplified by bodily or tacit rich experiences are
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by definition not easy to describe; instead,
words can only partially evoke the experience;
to truly appreciate or fully comprehend the experience, one must arguably live the experience.
Ineffable experiences have been observed in
events such as near death experiences (Fox,
2003; Grof, 1985) and bodily activities such as
sport (Murphy & White, 1978; Watson &
Parker, 2015), and are often characterized by an
“extension of consciousness within ordinary
space–time reality” (Grof, 1993, p. 12) or “beyond space–time reality” (Grof, 1993, p. 12). In
these instances the experience is invariably described as being beyond words, embodied, invigorating, and transcendent. Time often takes
on new meaning and is said to “slow down,” the
perceiver and perceived are described as merging, senses are enhanced, and space seems altered to include new ways of perceiving the
body–space continuum (Valle, 1998; Valle &
Mohs, 1998). In these cases ineffability, as a
phenomenological construct, reflects the extraordinary nature of the experience itself. At its
core the ineffable is real, important, and enriching.
Hermeneutic Phenomenology and
This article draws on findings from a larger
hermeneutic phenomenological study of the extreme sport experience in an effort to better
understand the relationship between the ineffable and extreme sports. In the tradition of phenomenology, the initial hermeneutic phenomenological study aimed to gain a deeper
understanding of the extreme sport experience
from the point of view of extreme sport participants (van Manen, 1997; Wertz, 2015). Findings in this study are particularly poignant because the larger phenomenological study did
not set out to specifically explore the experience
of the ineffable as an entity in its own right.
Phenomenological research seeks to illuminate the essence of an experience, as it is experienced in the lifeworld of people having the
experience (Wertz, 2015). Hermeneutic phenomenology, as differentiated from other variants of this philosophical school, acknowledges
that the process of gaining insights into lived
experience is interpretive rather than purely descriptive (Willis, 2001). This hermeneutic process is undertaken as a means to offer insights
into the experience examined, as opposed to
explaining or classifying the experience.
Hermeneutic phenomenological researchers
contend that although language and explicit accounts are a crucial tool in understanding experience, much of immediate experience is prereflective and thus not determined entirely or
captured adequately by language (Ajjawi &
Higgs, 2007). Nevertheless, the aim of hermeneutic phenomenology is to penetrate deeper,
beyond the reflective interpretation of an event,
to reveal the essence of an experience. As Willis
(2001, p. 7) points out: “When speech, language
and thought patterns generated from experiences in the world are used, they always involve
an interpretive process;” however, the aim here
is to try to disclose the most naïve and basic
interpretation that is already present but as yet is
unelaborated in the life world experience, a
phenomenological hermeneutic.
From this position, as hermeneutic phenomenological researchers, we interpreted the accounts of extreme sports participants, who
might have struggled to disclose their own experience, in an attempt to recuperate the elusive
primacy of intense, even transformative extreme sport experiences. The analysis proceeded across different individuals’ accounts,
because what may be a trace of the inexpressible in a single interview may recur across several different accounts as participants seek to
articulate a shared aspect of the phenomenon,
which is not easy to render into explicit form.
The hermeneutic approach is particularly appropriate when attempting to assemble a phenomenological account of people’s lived experiences, especially when this experience is
studied for the first time, when a particular topic
requires a fresh perspective, or when the experience is difficult to access (Cohen, Kahn, &
Steeves, 2000). Rather than projecting the analysts’ own biases or preconceived understandings of what is occurring, the hermeneutic phenomenological approach carefully obtains and
analyzes first-hand accounts of an experience
from those who have engaged with the experience. In practice this process requires that the
researcher be open to what the informant reports
during the data gathering and analysis process,
which requires that the researcher suspend or
“bracket” previous knowledge or subjective understandings about the experience. Even
though, as a researcher, we may not have per-
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sonal experience with the experience investigated, phenomenological analysis often produces a rich textual description of the
phenomenon that resonates with our own experiences or experiences we could conceivably
have in the future (Smith, 1997; van Manen,
1990; Wertz, 2015). The current study focuses
on one aspect of human experience, participation in extreme sports and, more specifically,
the experiences best captured by the term ineffable.
Following ethics approval from the university of the first author, 15 extreme sport participants (10 men and five women ages 30 to 70
years) were recruited across three continents:
Europe, Australia, and North America. Extreme
sport participants were required to meet the
inclusion criterion that they participated in “extreme sports” a…
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