O. O'Donovan, J. Cheung, M. Catley, A. McGregor, and P. Strutton
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) 5 (CSSI), 2 - 12
The purpose of this study was to investigate trunk and knee strength in practitioners of hard-style martial arts, and to examine reaction times in these participants by measuring simple reaction times (SRT), choice reaction times (CRT), and movement times (MT). Thirteen high-level martial artists and twelve sedentary participants were tested under isokinetic and isometric conditions on an isokinetic dynamometer. Response and movement times were also measured in response to simple and choice auditory cues.
Results indicated that the martial arts group generated a greater body-weight adjusted peak torque with both legs at all speeds during isokinetic extension and flexion, and in isometric extension but not flexion. In isokinetic and isometric trunk flexion and extension, martial artists tended to have higher peak torques than controls, but they were not significantly different. During the SRT and CRT tasks the martial artists were no quicker in lifting their hand off a button in response to the stimulus [reaction time (RT)] but were significantly faster in moving to press another button [movement time (MT)].
Conclusions. The results reveal that training in a martial art increases the strength of both the flexors and extensors of the leg. Furthermore, they have faster movement times to auditory stimuli. These results are consistent with the physical aspects of the martial arts.