AuthorSam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia). A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009. As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.



Language has been a major focus in recent times in regards to chronic pain management, however its relevance to acute injuries is often under appreciated. This editorial proposes 8 recommendations in terms of language used in the case of acute injury.   In the absence of trauma, do not assume that pain indicates tissue damage Assuming the presence of tissue damage may cause an athlete to...



The sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) requires both fast, explosive actions, as well as maximal force contractions, often at ends of ranges. An imbalance between elbow flexor and extensor strength may predispose the athlete injury in this area, due to reduced joint stability.   In this study, 23 male BJJ athletes first underwent strength testing of the elbow muscles in an isokinetic...

BRIEF REVIEW: A Novel Test for Assessing Kick Capacity in Taekwondo


As Taekwondo (TKD) competition is primarily composed of a succession of short-duration, high-intensity interactions, it is important for tests designed to measure the repeat effort ability of its athletes to assess these characteristics.    Previous TKD-specific tests, such as the Frequency Speed of Kick Test (FSKT) have used metrics such as the total number of kicks in a certain amount of...



WHAT IS “ANIMAL CONTEST THEORY”? Animal contest theory assumes that animals possess accurate information about their own fighting ability or resource-holding potential (RHP) and, under some models, that of their opponent. In the animal model, defeat is often indicated when one animal surrenders and retreats. RHP may also be applied to humans, and in a combat sporting environment is not just only...

BRIEF REVIEW: What are the odds of the “puncher’s chance”


THE PUNCHER’S CHANCE In combat sports, the puncher’s chance refers to the scenario whereby a combatant who is thought to be inferior in ability prior to a bout, or who is being outclassed during a bout, still has the ability to win the bout via KO or TKO.   Researchers in Australia analysed the statistics from all UFC bouts between 1997 and June 2020 that ended in KO and TKO. These...

BRIEF REVIEW: Beta-alanine and sodium bicarbonate supplementation in combat sports


Due to the repeat high intensity burst nature of combat sports, they are highly reliant on glycolytic mechanisms for energy production. Glycolysis results in intramuscular H+, which needs to be buffered via intracellular (phosphates, carnosine) and extracellular (bicarbonate) buffers and a dynamic buffering system.  Supplementary Sodium Bicarbonate and Beta Alanine have both been shown to...

BRIEF REVIEW – Weight Cutting in Muay Thai


Within the process of rapid weight loss (RWL)/rapid weight gain (RWG) to make weight for combat sports, there is always a trade-off between the advantages of being heavier than the opponent, and the disadvantages of impaired performance and potentially serious negative side effects.  21 competitive male (16) and female (5) Italian Muay Thai athletes underwent a supervised RWL/RWG protocol to...

BRIEF REVIEW: Energy Systems in BJJ


Physical preparation for any sport requires a thorough understanding of the specific physical demands and dominant energy systems. BJJ is a sport consisting of repeated, intermittent, high-energy bursts of activity, and as such, requires contribution from all energy systems.  This study sought to investigate the relative energy systems contribution using a sample of 10 male international-level...

Brief Review: Mouthguard Measurement of Head Impact in MMA


Concussion is an extremely prevalent condition in contact sports and is one with potentially serious long-term consequences. In other sports where concussion has been identified as a major issue, such as American Football, head kinematics has been studied with the use of helmet-based accelerometry.  An alternative for measuring head impact in MMA athletes, who do not wear helmets during...

Lower Limb Power is Correlated with Punching Speed in Karateka


Previous studies have shown correlations between lower limb force and power outputs, and punching speed and power in individual strikes from a static position. This study sought to investigate whether such correlations exist with punches thrown in combination, and also with punches thrown from more dynamic, fight-specific positions.  10 national-level male Italian karate athletes underwent 3...

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