2012, Volume 8, Issue 4
Is karate effective in improving postural control?
Davide Filingeri1, Antonino Bianco2, Antonio Palma2, Daniele Zangla3, Antonio Paoli4
1Department of Sports Science (DISMOT), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy, School of Sport, CONI Sicilia, Palermo, Italy , Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre, Loughborough University, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom
2Department of Sports Science (DISMOT), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy, School of Sport, CONI Sicilia, Palermo, Italy
3Department of Sports Science (DISMOT), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
4Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Physiology Section, Padova, Italy
Author for correspondence: Antonino Bianco; Department of Sports Science (DISMOT), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy, School of Sport, CONI Sicilia, Palermo, Italy; email: antonino.bianco[at]unipa.it
Background and Study Aim: Performing complex motor skills, such as the ones performed by karate athletes, requires a great sense of balance. Because the posturo-kinetic performance seems to be improved by sport practice, especially by sports involving a lot of posturokinetic activities, the aim of this review was to critically analyse the scientific literature in order to appraise whether any positive correlation between karate and improved postural control is scientifically supported.
Material and Methods: The online search engines Scirus and Medline were used for generating the data. A comprehensive literature search was conducted based on the following keywords: “karate”, “postural control” and “body sway”. Results were collected and filtered manually.
Results: Four articles were identified related to karate practice and postural control, covering a period between 1998 and 2009. Although different experimental approaches were used to investigate this concept, overall the results of these studies confirm the effectiveness of karate in improving postural control.
Conclusions: Practicing karate seems to elicit long term improvements in postural control. However, a much deeper approach to this fighting sport, which would take into account its technical specificities (e.g. kata & kumite), is required in order to increase our understanding of the posture-kinetic impact of this relatively unexplored sport activity.
Key words: balance, body sway, karate, kata, kumite, performance