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Montassar Tabben, Bianca Miarka, Karim Chamari and Ralph Beneke

Purpose: To evaluate the concept of decisive moment (DM) as a novel analysis approach providing insights into factors leading to successful high-performance k umite karate outcomes using time–motion variables. DM represents the moment from which 1 of the 2 opponents uninterruptedly dominates the other until the end of the fight. Methods: A total of 120 elite seniors (60 men and 60 women) World Karate Federation combats were analyzed during 2 World Championships (2012 and 2014). Specific characteristics of karate combat (strategy, technique, tactic, target, and effectiveness) were evaluated and classified in 3 sections: at, before, and after DM. Results: DM occurred at about 49% (32.8%) of bout duration. Up to DM no clearly identifiable differences in performance characteristics were found between winners and losers. At and after DM, an offensive strategy with focus on upper-limb techniques, attack and counterattack, targeting the head showed highest potential to achieve and maintain dominance and to win. After DM, losers showed increasingly reactive techniques, mainly timed attacks and combinatory techniques. Conclusion: The DM concept presents a novel approach to time–motion analysis, which for the first time allowed identification of clear discriminating factors of success and defeat in kumite karate at the highest performance level.