Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2009) 08, 47 - 52

Combat Sports Special Issue 3, Research article
The Effects of Height and Distance on the Force Production and Acceleration in Martial Arts Strikes
Richard P. Bolander1, Osmar Pinto Neto2, Cynthia A. Bir1, 
Author Information
1 Wayne State University, Biomedical Engineering Center, Detroit, USA
2 Universidade Camilo Castelo Branco and Instituto de Pesquisa e Qualidade Acadêmica (IPQA), São Paulo, Brazil

Cynthia A. Bir
✉ Wayne State University, Biomedical Engineering Center, Detroit Mi, 48202, USA
Publish Date
Received: 26-02-2009
Accepted: 31-07-2009
Published (online): 01-11-2009
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Almost all cultures have roots in some sort of self defence system and yet there is relatively little research in this area, outside of a sports related environment. This project investigated different applications of strikes from Kung Fu practitioners that have not been addressed before in the literature. Punch and palm strikes were directly compared from different heights and distances, with the use of a load cell, accelerometers, and high speed video. The data indicated that the arm accelerations of both strikes were similar, although the force and resulting acceleration of the target were significantly greater for the palm strikes. Additionally, the relative height at which the strike was delivered was also investigated. The overall conclusion is that the palm strike is a more effective strike for transferring force to an object. It can also be concluded that an attack to the chest would be ideal for maximizing impact force and moving an opponent off balance.

Key words: Sports, acceleration, Kung Fu, law enforcement, combat

           Key Points
  • It has been determined that the palm strike is more effective than the punch for developing force and for transferring momentum, most likely the result of a reduced number of rigid links and joints.
  • A strike at head level is less effective than a strike at chest level for developing force and transferring momentum.
  • Distance plays an effect on the overall force and momentum changes, and most likely is dependent on the velocity of the limb and alignment of the bones prior to impact.
  • The teaching of self defence for novices and law enforcement would benefit from including the palm strike as a high priority technique.
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