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Martial Arts Ph.D. Research Project – Data Collection


A few months back some of our black belt members had the opportunity to participate in a Ph.D. research project at the University of Sunshine Coast, lead by Colin Gavagan.  Here’s a short message that Colin has written about the project. (Photos below).

To the members of Sunshine Coast Karate,

Recently Sensei Martin Phillips and senior black belts Helen O’Grady, Matthew Stevenson, Klaudia Caston and David Strazzari all took part in my Ph.D. research project at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The title of my research project is:

“A multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between Karate point sparring techniques under varying task constraints.”

The purpose of the research is to explore how expertise and changing task and environmental settings affect the performance and effectiveness of Karate techniques. Of particular interest is how movement coordination (kinematics) is adapted to meet these changing situations.

As participants in this study, Sensei Martin, and co’s full body movements were recorded in the University of the Sunshine Coast 3D motion lab as they punched and kicked two different stationary targets at various targets. This is the same technology that is used to create 3D digital models movies and computer games. To accurately capture bodily movements in 3D, all participants were required to be fitted out with numerous low weight retro-reflective markers placed on some anatomical landmarks. Data collection took up to 8 hours for some testing session. This particular round of data collection is only the first 2 such planned studies and the second of three studies of three studies in the Ph.D. research.

Once all the results have been analysed, it is hoped that the findings can be used to help establish a framework of the most effective techniques for Karate point sparring and how to better prepare for such events in training. Is it also hoped that the data may help to improve the systems for awarding points and reduce the number Judges’ errors. The results will be used to provide support to coaching and judging development pathways. Each participant in the study will eventually receive a small data pack about their own performance.

Thank you again to all the participants from Sunshine Coast Karate for their efforts and patience.

Kind Regards,

Colin Gavagan

Thank you to Colin for the invitation and sharing these photos.  It was a really interesting experience being dressed up like a Christmas tree 😉  Looking forward to seeing the results of the study.

Here are a few of the photos that Colin provided, more on the SCK facebook page.  (Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge).

About the Author

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