Background and Purpose: Taekwondo (TKD) is a popular sport worldwide involving skilful kicking and single-leg stance movements that require high level of balance control. However, studies looking at TKD training on balance were limited to the elderly population only. No study has investigated the effect of TKD training on balance performance in youngsters. Therefore, this study was conducted with the aims to: (1) To compare the single leg standing balance performance of adolescent TKD practitioners with non-practitioners. (2) To determine the sensory system(s) that contributes to the balance function in adolescents with and without TKD training. Methods: 21 adolescents (11-14 years old) who received regular training in TKD were recruited. They were divided into 2 groups: short-term training (1-4 years of TKD experience) and long-term training (5-9 years of TKD experience). 10 age and sex matched sedentary individuals were also recruited as control. The balance assessments involved the unilateral stance (US) test and sensory organization test (SOT) in the SMART EquiTest® computerized dynamic posturography machine. The mean centre of gravity (COG) sway velocity when standing on the non-dominant leg with eyes open, somatosensory ratio, visual ratio, and vestibular ratio were recorded for analysis. One-way ANCOVA was used to compare the variables of interest among the 3 groups with sex and age as the covariates. Alpha was set at 0.05. Significant results were further analyzed with post-hoc Bonferroni test. Results: The results revealed a significant difference in unilateral stance COG sway (F2,28Z4.888, pZ0.016) and visual ratio (F2,28Z6.607, pZ0.005) among the 3 groups. Post-hoc contrasts revealed that both short and long term TKD practitioners swayed significantly less than the control subjects when standing on the non-dominant leg with eyes open (pZ0.016 and 0.012 respectively). However, only short term TKD practitioners had significantly better visual ratio than control subjects (pZ0.018). They even had significantly better visual ratio than the long term practitioners (pZ0.036). In addition, there was no significant difference in the vestibular and somatosensory ratios among the 3 groups. Conclusion: More than 1 year of TKD training can improve single leg standing balance in young adolescents. The visual system seems to be more involved in contributing to the balance ability in short term TKD practitioners. Long term practitioners rely less on visual input to balance. Further study is required to find out which system(s) contribute to the better balance performance in advanced TKD practitioners.
Fong, S. M., & Ng, G. Y. F. (2010). The Effect of Taekwondo Training on Balance and Sensory Performance in Young Adolescents. Hong Kong Physiotherapy Journal, 28(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hkpj.2010.11.010