by Dr. Stanislaw Sterkowicz
Head of Department of Combat Sports at Academy of Physical Education in Krakow, Poland
and Dr. Tadeusz Ambrozy

Introduction

Judo, karate, and self defense are combative activities, each of them consists of attacking movements such as sticking, kicking, pushing, or pulling and of defensive movements for blocking the attacks (Cooper et al. 1982). In a classification of ju-jitsu movements the exercises and the break-falls are included. There are breaking tricks and there are practical application of the throws and holds and combination tricks as the self-defense against a knife or a club or a gun or a blow with a fist (Nakae, Yeager 1958). Interest in utilitarian character of the ju-jitsu, the inclination to the movement activities in the organized forms, self improvement (in terms of fitness, self-control, perseverance and ethics of self-defense proportional to the degree of danger) have helped to increased the popularity of this Japanese discipline in Poland (Sterkowicz 1991).

Several studies have been carried out in which the motor fitness characteristics of martial artists are considered (Birrer et al 1988, Claessens et al. 1986, Hirata and Mori 1967, Shaw and Deutsch 1982). However, motor fitness studies of the jujitsukas are unknown. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the motor fitness of the trainees of the ju-jitsu.

Material and Methods

At the seminar in Cracow (March 1990) the authors were instructors of the practice and the theory of ju-jitsu. The test group consisted of 25 participants of the seminar, who came from the different cities of Poland. Those young men had the experience in ju-jitsu from 1,5 to 6 years and the advancement from 3 Kyu to 1 Kyu. They started ju-jitsu training relatively late (at 17-18 years on average), but fifteen of them had some years of experience form the other martial arts (karate, kempo, kung-fu, taekwondo). The weight and the height measurements were taken. Apart from the somatic variables, Rohrer’s, ponderal index and ectomorphic component according to special formulas were calculated (Carter and Heath 1990).

The test battery of the International Committee on the Standardization of Physical Fitness Tests (ICSPFT) were used for evaluation of the motor fitness. Those tests already have standards for young people of Polish population. An average score of 50 points has been established on norms in tests (Zak 1977). We ask the question „How did the subjects evaluate the effects of the ju-jitsu on their physical fitness?”. We used a special test with the throws Ippon seoi nage, too.

There were three participants on the mat. Those two, who named Uke stand face to face to each other at the distance of 6 m. The testing subject named Tori started face from the middle of that distance with the motor task: move quickly and perform projections changing his partners by turns. Working interval consisted of maximum number of throws to be performed successively at the following time periods of 15, 30 and 30 seconds with 10-seconds rest periods in between. Mean values and standard deviations were calculated for all variables. For motor characteristics correlation coefficients were calculated.

Results and Discussion

A) The type of the body build

Physical characteristics for ju-jitsu group are given in Table 1. The relation of the body height to the body weight, Rohre’s index, ponderal index and somatotype ectomophy component shows that students of ju-jitsu have slim and muscular type of the body. In comparison with the karateists the jujitsukas have similar type of the body build (Claessens et al. 1986)

Table 1. The number characteristics of the men practicing ju-jitsu

N=25 Age (yrs) Height (cm) Weight (kg) RI HWR Ectomorphy
Average 20.6 178 73.62 1.28 42.8 2.7
S.D. 1.7 4.3 8 0.08 0.9 0.7

B) Motor fitness profile and some correlations between tests Fifty six percent of the tested claimed in their answer to the question that the ju-jitsu training had a very great or great influence on their physical fitness. These effects in the subjective evaluation on the nominal scale were connected with the total scores in the battery tests (1-8) of the ICSPFT (Table 2).

Table 2. The Influence of ju-jitsu training on the motor fitness in the opinion of the tested and the objective total scores achieved in tests 1-8 by ju-jitsu men

Effects # of answers % Total in ICSPFT Mean
Very great 2 8 523.3 66.82
Great 12 48 495.4 55.88
Average 9 36 446.2 90.79
Little 2 8 396.3 27.22
Without effect 0 0

Table 3. Mean, standard deviation and correlation coefficients for the feature of the motor fitness

Tests Mean S.D. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. 50 m run (sec) (running speed) 7.53 0.40 X ***
-0.774
***
0.805
-0.243 **
-0.520
**
0.539
0.361 ***
-0.709
***
-0.511
2.Standing long jump (cm) (explosive strength) 238.5 21.3 ***
-0.774
X ***
-0.697
0.278 *
0.423
**
0.551
*
0.413
**
0.565
0.278
3. 1000 m run (sec) (endurance) 212.0 19.5 ***
0.805
***
-0.697
X 0.139 ***
-0.625
***
0.558
0.366 ***
-0.604
*
-0.397
4. Hand grip (kgs) (static strength) 56.1 5.6 -0.243 0.278 0.139 X -0.246 -0.041 -0.080 -0.001 -0.079
5. Pull-ups (n) (strength of the hands and shoulders) 10..3 4.4 **
-0.520
*
0.423
***
-0.625
-0.246 X -0.349 0.186 *
0.482
*
0.495
6. Shuttle run (sec) (agility) 10.9 0.8 **
0.539
**
0.551
***
0.558
-0.041 -0.349 X ***
-0.618
**
-0.559
*
-0.444
7. Sit-ups (n in 30 s) (trunk and abdomen) 31.4 4.9 0.361 *
0.413
0.366 -0.080 0.186 ***
-0.618
X 0.374 0.242
8.Stand and reach down (cm)(flexibility) 17.8 4.8 ***
-0.709
**
0.565
***
-0.604
-0.001 *
0.482
**
-0.559
0.374 X *
0.405
9. Number of throws Ippon Seoi Nage in 75 sec 27.3 3.2 ***
-0.511
0.278 *
-0.397
-0.079 *
0.495
*
-0.444
0.242 *
0.405
X


Remarks: Correlation coefficients significant: *=p<0,05; **=p<0,01; ***=p<0,001

Table 3 shows the results for the ju-jitsu group on the ICSPFT tests battery. Compared to the Polish reference data of young adults, the ju-jitsu group achieved better results on the seven tests of the ICSPFT. In the motor fitness profile we can see the best score in the strength of the trunk (abdomen muscles) – 73.2 points. This group have good score in the test of flexibility (63.7 points), and in the strength of the hands and shoulders (63.0 points), and the static strength ( 68.5 points. They show lower results on the running tests (the 1000 meters endurance run, the 4 x 10 m run, and the 50 m run) and the explosive strength of the legs, i.e. standing long jump. On the 50 m run the ju-jitsu men score is only 40.9 points, i.e. below the average for the reference data. Thus evaluated scoring norms enable as to sum the achievements in particular tests characterizing strength, speed, endurance, or flexibility. It may be thus checked how practicing of a given discipline profiles the physical fitness of particular contestants, what fitness abilities are dominant in them, and what are maintained on a lower but still sufficient level.

In the special tests (no.9 in Table 3) the number of “Ippon seoi nage” repetitions decreased in the third interval of work, probably because of poor endurance factor of the tested subjects (Table 4).

Table 4: Number of the Ippon seoi nage throws noticed
Time Mean +/- S.D. Min Max
15 sec 5.6 0.86 3 7
30 sec 11.1 1.45 9 14
30 sec 10.6 1.29 8 13
Total 75 sec 27.3 3.23 22 34

A quality of the grip is very important for the effectiveness in the self defense. Therefore in addition we tested the value of static strength in the special ju-jitsu grip (Kawaishi 1961). We put on the tip of the thumb of the subjects the dynamometer for the evaluation of our pressing strength. strong pain reflexes were demonstrated by the subjects when we flexed the thumb with the strength of about 10-16 kgs. As we calculated earlier the ju-jitsuka had the grip strength about 56.1 kgs on average. So, it gives him great superiority in the action considered above.

Physical fitness tests measure predispositions defined in a smaller or greater degree: somatic, energetic and coordination features including, at the same time, considerable yet undefined load of motor skills. thus the measure of functional features examined the motor fitness, too. The shuttle run and standing long jump indirectly characterized maximum anaerobic power and the an endurance run tested mainly aerobic efficiency of subjects (Szopa 1989).

The percentage area of fast twitch (FT) fibers in the muscle could be well evaluated by the result of field performance test. The ratio of 50 m sprint speed to 12-min. run speed was valid to estimate muscle fiber composition of vastus lateralis for trained adult males (Katsuta and Takamatsu 1987).

However in ju-jitsu group significant relationship between the results of the 50 m run (speed) and the 1000 m run (endurance) has been considered. We stated significant relations between the number of sit-ups (test 7 in the Table 3) and the achievement in the standing long jump (test 2), and the time of the shuttle run (test 6), and many others. The results of the standing long jump (explosive strength) shows the most significant correlation of all test (a common factor). Only the static strength (test 4) was independent of the others tests). The enumerated connections may prove the existence of the influence ju–jitsu has on shaping the physical fitness since it is assumed that tests trials should not be interconnected.

The total number of Ippon seoi nage throws which were performed in 75 sec (Table 4), depended on the results of the following tests: run 50 m (speed), run 1000 m (endurance), shuttle run (agility), the number of pull-ups (strength of the hands and shoulders) and the flexibility tests. It was found that there was a distinct relationship between ju-jitsu experience (in years) and results on the special tests (r=0.428; p<0,05). Correlation coefficient between the ju-jitsu experience and total score in the battery tests of the ICSPFT was not statistically significant (r=0,065).

The exercises incorporated into martial arts training combine static and dynamic components and produce in the black belt martial arts athletes flexibility, strength and VO2 max values within the range of moderately trained individuals (Birrer et al. 1988). But there were some differences between disciplines.

The motor fitness of judoists and karateka was evaluated by means of the Leuven Motor Test Battery. The judoists perform significantly better than karateka only of one motor ability test, which measures the factor running speed (Claessens et al. 1986). At Chukyo University, the trainers of martial arts were subjected to the motor test, too. The results of the tests proved that judo trainers were the best in strength of the back muscles, in pull-ups and grip strength respectively. The karate trainers showed the best time records in the 1,500 m run-walk, whereas they were the worst in grip strength respectively. The sumo trainers were the best in grip strength, but their results were the worst in 1,500 m run-walk and in pull-ups (Hirata and Mori 1967).

Final Remarks

Our work concerned the influence of ju-jitsu training on the motor fitness. The tested subjects were able to judge correctly their motor fitness level. In order to improve their functional features (for example endurance), some outdoor activities have been suggested for every subject. The individual profiles let as to find the weaker points in their motor fitness preparation (for example speed). For that reason, it is possible set more precisely the training goals for every individual trainee.

References

  • Birrer R.B. et al. 1988. The Fitness Profile of the Black Belt Martial
  • Arts Athlete. Exercise Physiology. Current Selected Research, Vol.3, p. 133-140.
  • Carter J.E.L., Heath B.H. 1990. Somatotyping-development and applications. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge-Sydney.
  • Claessens A. et al. 1986. Body Structure, Somatotype, and Motor Fitness of Top- class Belgian Judoists and Karateka. A Comparative Study. Kinanthropometry III, E. and F. N. Spoon, London-New York, pp. 53-57.
  • Katsuta S., Takamatsu K. 1987. Estimation of Muscle Fiber Composition using Performance Tests. International Series of Biomechanics, Vol. 6A. Biomechanics X-A. National Board of Occupational Safety and Health, Umea, Sweden Kinetics Publishers, Champaign IL, pp. 989-993.
  • Kawaishi M.1961. Ma methode de Self-defense. Adaptation de J.Gailhat.
  • Nakae K., Yeager C. 1958. Jiu-jitsu Complete. A.Thomas, Preston.
  • Shaw D.K., Deutsch D.T. 1982. Hearth Rate and Oxygen Uptake Response to Performance of Karate Kata. Journal of Sport Medicine and Physical Fitness, Vol.22, pp. 461-467.
  • Sterkowicz S. The Motivation of the Men practising Ju-jitsu. Shobukai Simbun, No. 25, October, pp. 17-19.
  • Szopa J. 1989. from Research on Motoricity Structure. A Factor Analysis of Predispositions and Motor Effects Boys and Girls aged 8-19 years. Antropomotoryka, No.2, pp.15-71.
  • Zak S.1977. Tables and T-scores of ICSPFT. Academy of Physical Education, Cracow.

Kodokan emblem

“He who can suppress a moment’s anger may prevent many days’ sorrow.”

Last modified May 21, 1998