2014, Volume 10, Issue 1
Elite female tae kwon do athletes have faster reaction time and longer movement time than males during a striking kick
Ulysses Fernandes Ervilha1, Valmar Fernandes da Silva2, Rubens Correa Araújo3, Luis Mochizuki4, Joseph Hamill5
1Physical Education Graduate program, São Judas Tadeu University, São Paulo, Brazil
2School of Physical Education, Federal University of Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil
3Department of Physiotherapy, University of Taubaté, Taubaté São Paulo, Brazil
4School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
5Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, United States
Background and Study Aim: An important aspect of ap bal ap dolio tchagui kick in tae kwon do is that it is usually performed in reaction to a signal or event. That is, given a specific stimulus (i.e. the movement of the opponent), the tae kwon do athlete must react as quickly and accurately as possible to the stimulus. Reacting to a stimulus requires preparation and it is essential to determine this preparation of an elite athlete to perform a task. Therefore, to investigate this movement a reaction time paradigm is appropriate wherein the athlete accomplishes the kick in response to a stimulus. The study investigates the processing, reaction and motor response of male and female athletes in an ecological task. The purpose of this study was to verify the authenticity of the two hypotheses: (1) that the pre-motor time, response time and motor time would the same for males and females; (2) that the magnitudes of the muscle activation would be different between males and females.
Material and Methods: The main method is an analysis and comparative study of empirical data. We collected data on 13 Brazilian national calibre tae kwon do athletes (6 male and 7 female) when performing a simple reaction time kicking manoeuvre. The experimental equipment included EMG electrodes placed on six muscles and an electrogoniometer placed on the knee of the kicking limb.
Results: We found that pre-motor and response times were faster for females than males for several muscles but the faster movement time for males was sufficient to equate the total time between males and females. These results suggest that quantification of biomechanical parameters from skilled athletes allows coaches to understand the movement which will ultimately improve the technique to establish training goals.
Conclusions: It is suggested that the knee extensors muscles are mainly responsible for a kicking movement. Our data showed that trunk stabilizers were activated prior to the main knee extensors muscles. In tae kwon do, athletes have to be very precise and fast in order to surprise their opponent, avoiding defence and counterattack. Monitoring pre-motor muscle activation during training sessions, potentially gives support for specific training and/or aiming movement optimization.
Key words: emg, response time, pre-motor time, martial arts