The Role of Effective Mass and Hand Speed in the Performance of Kung Fu Athletes Compared with Nonpractitioners

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Osmar Pinto Neto Universidade do Vale do Paraiba

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Marcio Magini Universidade do Vale do Paraiba

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Marcelo M. F. Saba Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais

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The main goal of this article is to quantify the contribution of effective mass (me) and hand-speed (shi) on the palm strike performance of kung fu athletes (kung fu group) compared with nonpractitioners (control group). All subjects were asked to strike a basketball. Hand and ball speed (sbf) were determined by high-speed video analysis. The value for me was determined by an equation that does not depend upon post-impact measurement of the hand speed. The results show that kung fu athletes had greater shi (6.67 [SD 1.42] m/s), p = 0.042), higher me (2.62 [SD 0.33] kg, p = 0.004), and greater sbf (9.00 [SD 1.89] m/s), p = 0.004) than the nonpractitioners (5.04 [SD 0.57] m/s, 1.33 [SD 0.19] kg, and 5.72 [SD 0.44] m/s, respectively). Comparing the average values obtained for me and hand and forearm mass (m), it was found that for the control group me is statistically equal to m (p = 0.917), whereas for the kung fu group me is significant greater than m (p = 0.003). It is suggested that for impacts against heavier objects, the effective mass would be the main factor to distinguish a martial artstrained from an untrained subject.

Pinto Neto and Magini are with the Instituto de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento, Universidade do Vale do Paraiba, São José dos Campos, Brazil, and Saba is with the Departamento de Geofísica Espacial, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, São José dos Campos, Brazil.

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