Combat Sports on agenda of the journal «Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kul'tury»


Dr.Hab., Professor A.N. Bleer
Postgraduate student A.Y. Gorbacheva
Dr.Hab., Ph.D., Associate Professor A.A. Peredel’skiy
Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sport, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPC), Moscow


Keywords: martial arts, training process design methods, athletic training, technical and tactical training.


Martial arts may be viewed in essence as derivatives of the most ancient generic forms of human activities geared to develop the arts of war and the relevant combat skills. On the other hand, it should be emphasized that martial arts have always been giving a top priority to individual creativity and personality-development principles [1, 3]. This natural mix of commonly and individually specific aspects of these cultures appears to be one of the reasons for the everlasting interest to the martial art related issues, including the ones addressed in special scientific studies.

This article is intended to summarize findings of comparative analysis of many publications on these issues in the Journal. Trying to assess the contribution of the “Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury” Journal to the modern sport science, including its martial arts domain, we would like to consider more specifically the core thematic blocks as they are designed and managed by the Journal editorial board and, having analyzed the accomplishments and drawbacks, highlight the positive trends and potential for further improvements.

Results and discussion

The “Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury” Journal was founded to address a variety of physical culture and sports related matters, with a special emphasis being made on the studies of different aspects and problems of athletic training systems in application to elite athletes in a variety of wrestling disciplines including Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling, judo and sambo. Notably less consideration has been given in the Journal so far to the boxing and karate training systems and related problems. As far as the situation with coverage of other oriental martial arts including taekwondo (in its different versions), wushu and some others is concerned, it appears even worse. As we have found based on the analysis of the publications on the theoretical and practical aspects of the athletic training process, these sports (or arts as many prefer to call them following the ancient tradition) have been left virtually uncovered by the Journal. There might be no point in taking this fact as alarming since these matters are still somewhat covered by other research and theoretical magazines, but since the study is focused on the coverage of the martial art culture by the “Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury” Journal, we believe it is worth mentioning at least.

Modern athletic training and conditioning systems and technologies have direct and indirect concerns to a wide variety of  issues including problems of mental, tactical and technical training process design with due attention to the relevant physiological aspects of the training. The relevant studies are well presented in a few sections of the “Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury” Journal, and this fact is undoubtedly appreciated by the authors active in these fields of research and adds to the popularity of the Journal in the sport community. We mean such sections as the “Adaptive Sports”, “Sport Medicine”, “Sport Physiology” and “Coach’s Column in the Journal”, with the latter section presenting the most important aspects of the athletic training and competitive performance.

Having analyzed the research contents of the Journal for the last five years, we would like to draw attention of the readers to a few trends. It is the tactical and technical aspects of the athletic training process that are given the top priority by the analyzed publications. Sport theoreticians express their grounded opinions on the important role of the technical skills and tactical mastery in an athletic training system [1]. It should be noted in this context that some researchers tend to separate these two components of training process giving preference to one or another, although most of the authors believe that they are closely linked and never come alone and, hence, there is no point in isolating them. When the technical skills are mastered and excelled, the tactical qualities are apparently improved or degraded at the same time depending on the progress or regress of the athlete, and we believe that this basic notion may be considered fair enough. Different authors, however, hold to different opinions and some of them may not agree with it of course.

As proved by the actual practice, the sport theory and methodologies in application to the athletic training systems are persistently improved and revised with time, and no technical or tactical element of the training process is immune from changes when some components are added and the others are removed, and this is nothing but a natural process. Rules of competitions follow the same trend being revised and adjusted, and every specific element of the sport follows the suit, so to say.

Basically, many researchers striving to develop and offer more effective training methodologies tend to design sets of special practices (that may be either systemic or situational) geared to step up the coordinative qualities of the athletes to use them as a basis for improving the technical and tactical skills of the athletes through the relevant training techniques of the combat sports discipline (i.e. judo, sambo, box, Greco-Roman or freestyle wrestling, taekwondo etc.). The relevant group of practices normally includes special exercises to excel the technical skills and expand the tactical knowledge of the athletes. It should be mentioned in this context that different training tools and simulators designed and made by the authors with specific goals in mind are being increasingly applied to help the athletes master certain complicated skills, techniques, motor sequences and holds. To test and rate the special strength fitness of elite wrestlers, for instance, the authors designed and made a training simulator to develop special strength qualities in athletes by modelling some elementary motor sequences of wrestling techniques. Practical application of the tool has proved the simulator being highly beneficial for the elite athletes’ training systems for the reason that the one or another technical skill mastering/ excelling process is put on a most efficient basis by the workload being applied to selectively reinforce the target muscle groups. As things now stand, research developments of many authors are increasingly being patented by the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent). Therefore, the Journal makes its important contribution to the progress of sports by publicizing the relevant methodologies based on the patented inventions.

On the whole, we would highlight the following points in the above background information. This domain of athletic training in combat sports is of great importance, particularly for the combat sports that require high speed- and strength qualities and skills for success.

Next research domain of special interest for the authors of the Journal explores body conditions of athletes and the psychological and educational aspects of the athletic training procedures and practices for the training period on the whole with an emphasis on the pre-season and regular season periods.

The body condition research implies studies of a variety of physiological conditions of athletes and impacts of every factor of sports activity on their bodies. On the whole, publications that address these problems are dominated by the studies of female athlete’s body conditions in fact. It may look strange for the reason that these sport disciplines are traditionally and historically believed to be solely men’s sports and, hence, female athletes preferring and devoted to these sports look unusual and are always in the focus of public attention and interest. This may be one of the main explanations for the interest of the authors in the positive and negative aspects of the women’s combat sports and their effects on the women’s bodies. It is commonly known that female body is different from male one in its responses to a variety of factors on the whole including those specific for the combat sport disciplines, and particularly the combat sports with their cruel contact fighting techniques [3].

Studies of the psychological and educational aspects of the training process on the whole with an emphasis on the pre-season and regular season periods are normally focused on the mental conditioning policies and practices that are indispensable in developing good athletic fitness for competitive bouts; and on the ways to find the best training methods for coaching teams (including team physicians, massage professionals, psychologists etc.) to the elite sport team training and conditioning on the whole and that of every athlete in particular. The psychological and educational aspects of the athletic training process are explored by the authors of the Journal in application both to the long-term training process on the whole and to its yearly cycles, with a special emphasis on the pre-season and regular season periods in the process and the most critical days of mental conditioning prior to major events. The studies describe the applied psychological regulation tools and the ideomotor training methods and their structuring within the weekly training cycles, with the relevant practices being normally scheduled at the start and the end of every training session. Such terms as “motivation” and “goal-setting” and their practical interpretations and applications receive the primary attention of the researchers. Despite the fact that studies of the personality-related issues and mental conditions of athletes generally fall within the psychology science proper, the authors tend to analyse motivations and goals of the athletes from the viewpoint of both the psychological and educational aspects of the training process in their interrelation, and we believe that this practical approach is well justified as it helps duly address these aspects in the early design stage of the training process. Such an approach gives the means to explore and factor in the personal mental qualities of every athlete and choose the right ways for the individual self-development as a basis for success in the sport discipline.

Traditional hardcore training methodologies are dominated by the procedure and practices geared to master standard wrestling skills and prime tactics with virtually no consideration for individual qualities of the athletes and, as a result, their techniques in the bouts are too standard; that means that such traditional methods give no ways for the individual potential of every athlete being fully employed for his/her success in the sport. Regretfully, this aspect of the training process is poorly addressed in the Journal papers. The publicized studies rather give the top priority to the technical and tactical skills and physical working capacity improvement methods and practices. Therefore, we have some reasons to conclude that the authors tend to ignore the importance of personality-related issues for the progress of the athletes in the context of the prime educational aspects of the athletic training process.

Furthermore, we would recommend that more attention should be given to the rehabilitation procedures that are very important for the athletic training process on the whole and the wrestlers’ training systems in particular; and we believe that this issue deserves to be ranked among the top priorities in the Journal. It is a matter of common knowledge today that sports activity of every individual athlete may be viewed as a complicated process evolving on the relevant individual mental, emotional and physiological backgrounds closely interrelated with the social behavioural models and activities of the person, and every of these contributing factors may be critical for effectiveness level of his/her athletic performance. We would therefore recommend that the Journal research publications should pay more attention to different rehabilitation methods applicable to the athletic training process with a special emphasis being made on the training methodologies in the stressful competitive phases. As a matter of fact, these matters have been inadequately covered in the “Teoriya i Praktika Fizicheskoy Kultury” Journal so far, with the few available studies being concentrated on some specific psychological aspects only. We would recommend the authors to broader explore the relevant aspects using a variety of methods including anti-stress relaxation treatments with different physiological parameters being metered in the process (including blood pressure, heart rate etc.), with reasonable application of applicable psychological tests (such as WAM [Wellbeing, Activity and Mood] tests, Spielberger-Hanin tests etc.).


Based on the above findings of the analysis we have made, we would note that the Journal, however versatile and important may be the studies of the combat sports disciplines publicized on its pages, has apparently failed to make a real breakthrough as far as the elite athletic training system research domain is concerned. This situation, however, appears to be quite normal in the sense that it reflects the present situation in these sport disciplines that are governed in their development policies and practices rather by the commercially beneficial standards than the top effectiveness and accomplishments driven ambitions that require complicated technical skills and tactical knowledge being mastered and acquired; and this situation is due to a variety of widely known and natural, understandable and objective reasons. But requirements to the sports in general and to the sport community (meaning the coaches, athletes etc.) in particular are getting more and more complicated and challenging with time. The wrestling sport actors find themselves increasingly exposed to the political and economical influences. The rapidly growing numbers of competitions, educational-and-training sessions and other events in the yearly training cycles cannot but cause different effects on the athletic performance standards and force the sport community to adjust to the new challenges and conditions.

Furthermore, we believe that it would be highly beneficial for sport science and the Journal to give more coverage on its pages to the most problematic issues relating to the theoretical and methodological grounds and historical origins of the genuine martial arts and to the modern developments in the relevant sport disciplines. We would recommend that the Journal should take efforts to expand the concept-addressed coverage of the relevant wrestling sport disciplines. 

In addition to the above mentioned points, we would recommend that the Journal should give more attention to the growing need in proactive approach to and forecasts of the main trends in the combat sports development process. It would help the Journal go beyond the present limitations imposed by the dominating statistical methods and would create the necessary facilitating research environment to give the boost to dynamically developing studies in this field that could undoubtedly lure more public interest to this special Journal that is already so important and highly valuable in our opinion.


  1. Malkov, O.B. Osnovnye komponenty taktiki poedinka v sportivnykh edinoborstvakh (Key components of fight tactics in combat sports) / O.B. Malkov, V.V. Gozhin // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2009. – № 2. – P. 3–6.
  2. Peredel’skiy, A.A. Istoriya stanovleniya traditsiy edinoborcheskikh iskusstv (History of formation of traditions of martial arts) / A.A. Peredel’skiy // Fizicheskaya kul’tura: vospitanie, obrazovanie, trenirovka. – 2008. – № 4. – P. 54–56.
  3. Peredel’skiy, A.A. Poedinok – osnovnoy metod pedagogiki edinoborstv (Fight ­ main method of martial arts pedagogics) / A.A. Peredelskiy // Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. – 2008. – № 2. – P. 17–19.


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