Sikorski et al. (1987).

In the area of research into the metrics of Judo, the work of Sikorski, Mickiewicz, Majle and Laska from 1987 is probably the most cited.

Their 1987 paper “Structure of the contest and work capacity of the judoist” has been referenced and used as the basis for further research by the likes of Franchini and Sterkowicz. The work describes both the structure of matches and also the physiological elements and is of interest to researchers and coaches today.

The paper identified the periods of work (Hajime – Matte) and found that these were usually no longer than 30 seconds in duration (decreasing as the match progresses). The breaks between the work periods was on average 10 seconds (increasing as the match progresses). The trend of the duration of the work periods and rest periods continues until they are near equal in the final minutes of a match.

The paper also identified the most prevalent techniques:

  • Seoi Nage
  • Ko Soto gari
  • Uchi Mata
  • O Uchi gari
  • Ko Uchi gari

The study also identified that the most important tactical factor was the ability to cause an opponent to be penalised for passivity.

In my pilot study in 2006 of the Commonwealth Judo Tournament, almost 20 years later, the 30s per work period was near that of Sikorski et al. Although the 30 second figure from the original paper is taken from the conclusion (abstract), where as in the actual text the average is described as being 25 seconds. Perhaps indicating that in two decades the average work period increased by 5 seconds? This may also be supported by the average length of the rest period being 14 seconds in 2006.

Another factor to consider is the rule changes between 1987 and 2006.
Also the level of competition observed, perhaps the work period is affected by the level of athletes competing.

These observations were in part the inspiration for my current analysis of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Judo Tournament. Again, there are factors that prevent an ideal comparison as the Olympics is a very different tournament/event.  The 20 year progression in the sport and the rules may have affected the results.

If the results are quite different, what does this suggest? If they are similar what does this suggest?

In summary, the Sikorski et al (1987)  paper is important reading for anyone looking at Judo analysis and metrics. The paper has been citedin many other works and seems to form the basis for much of the later work in the area. Essential reading perhaps?


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