Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

In karate athletes are supposed to develop a high level of reaction time in response to opponent attacks. The aim of this study was to analyze reaction time in Portuguese karate shotokan athletes.
96 shotokan athletes from the Portuguese Karate Association participated. The samples were physically characterized and evaluated by Simple Reaction Time (SRT), Choice Reaction Time (CRT) and Decision Time (DT) tests.
Data was analyzed by athletes’ age (15 to 19, 20 to 35 over 35 yr), by level of expertise (9th to 4th kyu, 3rd to 1st kyu, dan) and by gender (Male and Female).
Male athletes present significant differences from female athletes in height, weight, years of practice and body fat mass.
In relation to SRT all groups tend to a value near to 300 ms without significant differences among them, but the CRT and the DT is significantly higher in the Dan athletes and over 35’s than in the other groups. On the other hand the Dan and + 35 yrs athletes tend to make fewer mistakes.
Gender does not influence significantly the reaction time in the shotokan karate athletes, but it seems that women tend to have slower reaction times than men.
Athletes with more years of practice and more experience need more time to response to the stimulus than other athletes, but they tend to make fewer mistakes in their choices than other subjects.