Dynamic balance in elite karateka

Christel Galvani, Daniela Ciprandi, Nicola Lovecchio, Matteo Zago, Andrea Mapelli, Yuri Francesca Shirai, Chiarella Sforza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


In karate, balance control represents a key performance determinant. With the hypothesis that high-level athletes display advanced balance abilities, the purpose of the current study was to quantitatively investigate the motor strategies adopted by elite and non-elite karateka to maintain balance control in competition. The execution of traditional karate techniques (kihon) in two groups of elite Masters (n = 6, 31 ± 19 years) and non-elite Practitioners (n = 4, 25 ± 9 years) was compared assessing body center of mass (CoM) kinematics and other relevant parameters like step width and angular joint behavior. In the considered kihon sequence, normalized average CoM height was 8% lower (p < 0.05), while CoM displacement in the horizontal direction was significantly higher in Masters than in Practitioners (2.5 vs. 1.9 m, p < 0.05), as well as CoM average velocity and rms acceleration (p < 0.05). Step width was higher in Masters in more than half of the sequence steps (p < 0.05). Results suggest that elite karateka showed a refined dynamic balance control, obtained through the increase of the base of support and different maneuvers of lower limbs. The proposed method could be used to objectively detect talented karateka, to measure proficiency level and to assess training effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-900
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Body stability control
  • Center of mass
  • Karate biomechanics
  • Kihon

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