MECHANICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN TAEKWONDO SIDE KICK TO THE CHEST AND TO THE HEAD IN FUNCTION OF EXECUTION DISTANCE
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Taekwondo is a dynamic Korean martial art that is set apart from other martial arts by its emphasis on kicking techniques. The purpose of this investigation was to discover what effect altering the target distance or target height had on the performance of the ITF style side kick. The execution time and impact ankle velocity were highlighted as key performance variables. This area of research was deemed important because in competitive sparring kicking to different heights obtains different amounts of point (2 point for kick to the chest, 3 points for kick to the head). The execution distance of a kick is often variable in combat and as such it is important that any kick should be tested at multiple distances from a target. Participants (n=4) carried out side kicks under four different test conditions where distance and height were different (short chest, short head, long chest, long head), while motion data was collected. Results showed that changing target height made no significant difference to either execution time or impact velocity at a short distance. As such it was advised that under these parameters alone performers should perform a side kick at head height rather than chest height as they can score more points in the same amount of time. At a long distance however, both execution time and impact velocity were significantly different when target height was altered. Altering the target distance was shown to significantly change the execution time, but not the impact ankle velocity. It was surmised that the overall distance the foot had to travel to the target was one of the primary reasons for the differences observed and as such the side kick should preferably be executed at short distance. It was also suggested that these differences could be a result of a combination of flexibility being a limiting factor and participants being less competent with performing the side kick over a greater distance and to a greater height. As such it was advised that for future development of performance flexibility and strength over a greater range of motion should be developed. Also it was suggested that practitioners should practice the more complex side kick test conditions more frequently so that mastery of the skill is not a limiting factor. In this way even, if the side kick had to be performed under less than ideal conditions during sparring the potential negative effects would be reduced; thus creating a more effective performer.
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