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Energetics of karate (kata and kumite techniques) in top-level athletes

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Breath-by-breath O2 uptake (\( \dot{V}_{{{\text{O}}_{2} }} \), L min−1) and blood lactate concentration were measured before, during exercise, and recovery in six kata and six kumite karate Word Champions performing a simulated competition. \( \dot{V}_{{{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}} }} , \) maximal anaerobic alactic, and lactic power were also assessed. The total energy cost (\( V_{{{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{TOT}}}} }} , \) mL kg−1 above resting) of each simulated competition was calculated and subdivided into aerobic, lactic, and alactic fractions. Results showed that (a) no differences between kata and kumite groups in \( \dot{V}_{{{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{max}}}} }} , \) height of vertical jump, and Wingate test were found; (b) \( V_{{{\text{O}}_{{ 2 {\text{TOT}}}} }} \) were 87.8 ± 6.6 and 82.3 ± 12.3 mL kg−1 in kata male and female with a performance time of 138 ± 4 and 158 ± 14 s, respectively; 189.0 ± 14.6 mL kg−1 in kumite male and 155.8 ± 38.4 mL kg−1 in kumite female with a predetermined performance time of 240 ± 0 and 180 ± 0 s, respectively; (c) the metabolic power was significantly higher in kumite than in kata athletes (p ≤ 0.05 in both gender); (d) aerobic and anaerobic alactic sources, in percentage of the total, were significantly different between gender and disciplines (p < 0.05), while the lactic source was similar; (e) HR ranged between 174 and 187 b min−1 during simulated competition. In conclusion, kumite appears to require a much higher metabolic power than kata, being the energy source with the aerobic contribution predominant.

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We thank Dr. Pierpaolo Iodice and Dr. Fabrizio Schiazza for technical suggestions that assisted in the performance of the Wingate test, and Dr. Giampiero Merati and Dr. Luca Agnello for discussing the data. This research was supported by grants of G.F. and A.V.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Tiziana Pietrangelo.

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Doria, C., Veicsteinas, A., Limonta, E. et al. Energetics of karate (kata and kumite techniques) in top-level athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 107, 603–610 (2009).

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