v 1.01 2-04-03 A Comparative Study of the Effects of Martial Arts Training on Mood A study of judo, jujutsu and karate Andrew Yiannakis Greg Kane University of Connecticut USA Phil Tomporowski University of Georgia USA ____________________________________________________________ Paper presented at 5 th International Conference on Education, May 23-25 th 2003, Athens Greece ____________________________________________________________ ABSTRACT Numerous studies report that exercise has beneficial effects in the reduction of stress, and affects various psychological states, including mood and the treatment of depression (Bahrke & Morgan, 1978; Berger & Owen, 1987, 1988, 1992; Doyne, Ossip-Klein, Bowman, Osborn, McDougal-Wilson & Neimeyer, 1987). One area of research has focused on the effects of specific physical activities and sports on the participants. Maynard & Howe (1987) examined performance in rugby, Terry & Slade investigated the effects of karate competition and Berger & Owen (1988) studied the psychological effects of swimming, body conditioning hatha yoga and fencing.
Pyeca, (1964) examined the effects of judo and other physical activities on the personality of the participants and McGowan, Pierce and Jordan (1991) investigated the effects of karate, weight training and jogging. It has long been argued that the martial arts contribute in significant positive ways to psychological growth and development, especially ... more. less.
in the areas of empowerment, control and self confidence. It has also been argued that martial arts training helps reduce tension and aggressive tendencies and contributes to the development of self discipline.<br><br> Most of these assertions have never been tested and comparative studies which explore the possible differential effects of diverse martial arts are few in number. Yet the philosophies and the claims made by proponents of different martial arts tend to be very similar, extolling the virtues and positive physical and psychological impacts of their arts and styles. Is there any validity to these claims?<br><br> The limited research on the effects of the martial arts on personal growth and development, especially in the areas of stress and aggression reduction, on behavior and mood alteration, self perception and empowerment are, at best inconclusive. What is even less clear is whether different martial arts affect participants in different ways. It was the purposes of this project, therefore, to: (i) Conduct a comparative study of the short term effects of participation in three martial arts, judo, jujutsu and karate, on mood.<br><br> Methods and Procedures The Subjects The subjects were students taking beginning judo (N=15) , beginning jujutsu (22), and karate (N=23) for credit or as a club experience at a large northeastern university. The participants in beginning udo (mean age 20.6 yrs) and jujutsu (mean age 19.7 yrs) ranged in age from 18 to 24 years. In karate the subjects ranged from 19-27 years and had a mean age of 21.<br><br> The beginning judo class was composed of 11 males and 4 females and beginning jujutsu was made up of 16 males and 6 females. Karate had fifteen males and eight females. The senior author of this study was the instructor for both judo and jujutsu.<br><br> These three groups were selected for reasons of availability and because they differ in terms of their strategy and skills and philosophical orientation. Judo is exclusively a close quarter grappling art while jujutsu combines elements of close quarter, distance and ground finding while karate is strictly a distance fighting art. The key difference among the three arts however is that judo and karate are taught as rule-governed sports while jujutsu is taught as a combat form.<br><br> Thus the philosophies and orientations of these arts are quite different. Subjects in each of the three groups served as their own controls. Data Collection The data were collected over a two year period.<br><br> Subjects were given a brief, standardized introduction before their workout and then were administered the Martial Arts Mood Scale. After completing a two hour workout the same scale was then re-administered. All three classes were taught in the evening between the hours of 6.30 and 8.30 pm.<br><br> The Instrument The instrument is a 28 item semantic differential scale developed specifically for the martial arts by Yiannakis (1996). Items address specific dimensions of concern to those training in the martial arts and it was felt that this level of specificity was more desirable than other more generals scales such as the POMS (Profile of Mood Scale). The scale was tested for reliability using Cronbach's alpha with a beginning group of 52 students in judo, in the spring of 1997.<br><br> The resulting coefficient of r= .92 is more than adequate for this type of exploratory work. Validity was determined using a panel of five experts from the martial arts and the social sciences of sport. A major criterion employed in the retention of items was the degree to which a particular item made intuitive sense in the context of the martial arts.<br><br> Intuitive sense was defined as the degree to which an item was (i) clear, (ii) relevant to the topic and (iii) inclusive of the universe of content being addressed by this study. Several items which "failed" this test were eliminated and replaced by more suitable ones. This process involved six rounds of reviewing, rejecting and modifying items for inclusion.<br><br> Finally, two items (out of 28) administered to the beginning judo group were replaced with two items that were deemed more appropriate for jujutsu. Between group comparisons (Beginning Judo and Beginning Jujutsu) were therefore based on 26 rather than the total 28 items of the scale. Data Analysis The data were plotted by martial art using 26 or 28 items (as appropriate) and visually compared for differences in their distribution.<br><br> They were then tested for significant pre-post changes (within groups) using repeated measures analysis of variance. Results The findings are suggestive that martial arts training contributes in significant ways to mood enhancement. Beginning jujutsu students reported the largest and most significant changes while karate reported the fewest number of significant changes from pre to post workout conditions.<br><br> However, in general, all three groups reported feeling significantly sharper, more focused, empowered, optimistic, content, sociable and decisive immediately following the workout. Clearly, judo, jujutsu and karate affect participants in many positive and significant ways. In the case of karate, however, there was a post test increase in perceived tension.<br><br> Discussion While general similarities were observed from pre to post test conditions on the empowerment factor the three groups appear to affect the participants in some significantly different areas as well. Clearly, the three groups studied in this investigation create conditions that impact the participants in different ways. These conclusions must remain tentative at this time since we were not able to control for experimenter effects or self selection factors.<br><br> The underlying mechanisms involved in the exercise-mood equation are still not clearly understood. While we know that exercise helps the release of endorphins, stimulates circulation and elevates body temperature, the link with psychological parameters such as mood is still unclear. However, we speculate that the positive changes observed in this study may be an interaction of a number of variables.<br><br> These may include interaction effects between self selection and the arts themselves, the teachings, philosophy and structure of each martial art, the intensity and type of the workout (anaerobic/aerobic) and the degree to which each martial art stresses a sporting or combative orientation. Ultimately, the martial arts are vehicles that teach individuals that the acquisition of skills, knowledge and philosophy "empower." That is, they supply the student with an array of both psychological and techno-physical tools that provide the confidence, the resolve, and when necessary, the physical skills to stand one's ground, manage conflict, help a friend in need and retain a degree of control over their lives. In a fast changing world where local and global forces leave many people feeling helpless and unable to shape their own destiny, the empowering influence of the martial arts may help many individuals take back some of that control.<br><br> Fn: abs for 5 th Intern Conference, Athens