Low-level Taekwondo practitioners have better somatosensory organisation in standing balance than sedentary people

Hio Teng Leong, Siu N. Fu, Gabriel Y.F. Ng, William W.N. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Sports training, especially for those requiring fast and skilled movements have been reported to improve one's postural control, but the underlying sensory integration mechanism is unknown. The purpose is to explore the sensory organisation strategies for maintaining standing balance in Taekwondo practitioners, and to examine the quasi-static and dynamic balance performance in subjects with and without TKD training. Case-control study was used as a study design. Eleven subjects with low level of Taekwondo training for 1-3 years, and eleven sedentary healthy subjects were assessed with the sensory organisation tests (SOT) under six visual and somatosensory input conditions and their balance upon landing from self- or operator- triggered drop test with the eyes closed condition. The SOT measured the equilibrium scores, whereas the drop test assessed the time to stabilisation (TTS), normalised peak force and distance of antero-posterior and medial-lateral centre of pressure on landing. Results for the SOT test revealed that Taekwondo subjects performed better during stance with eyes closed on a fixed support than the untrained group (p = 0.011). For the drop tests, the untrained group was slower in postural correction as revealed by the longer TTS than the Taekwondo group after the operator-triggered drops (p = 0.018).All subjects had a larger normalised peak force in operator-triggered than self-triggered drops. In conclusion, we observed that people with low-level Taekwondo training have better balance performance than untrained subjects as shown in the SOT results and shorter TTS with the drop test. They may rely more on the somatosensory and vestibular inputs for maintaining balance. People with balance problems may benefit from Taekwondo training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787-1793
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Martial arts
  • Postural control
  • Sensory integration
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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