Preparedness for sport depends on a number of different cognitive factors, and it is believed that the manifestations of athlete’s readiness for sport may be different among athletes from different combat sports backgrounds. This study sought to identify links between neurodynamic and cognitive functions among athletes practicing different martial arts.

28 wrestlers, 34 judokas, and 23 boxers underwent tests to identify nonverbal intelligence, comparison of numbers and speed of perception.

Wrestlers demonstrated the greatest visual analysis ability as well as the lowest processing time, followed by judokas.

Impulsiveness (the ability of the nervous system to quickly shift during excitation and braking conditions) was greatest in boxers and lowest in wrestlers.

On tests of nonverbal intelligence, wrestlers and judoka demonstrated faster decision making but lower efficiency in comparison to boxers.

These findings highlight differences in cognitive abilities of different combat sports athletes, which are likely an adaptation of their regular training interventions, but also identify areas that may be focused on with specific cognitive training techniques

#thescienceofstriking #combatsports #cognition #boxing #wrestling #judo

[1] G. Korobeynikov, ‘Link between neurodynamics and cognitive functions among athletes practicing different martial arts’, Rev. Iberoam. Psicol. Ejerc. El Deporte, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 149–154, 2021.

About the author

Sam 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.

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