Reaction times and anticipatory skills of karate athletes.
Two experiments were conducted to investigate the reaction times (RTs) and anticipation of karate athletes. In Experiment 1, choice RTs and simple RTs were measured with two types of stimuli. One was videotaped scenes of opponent's offensive actions, which simulated the athletes' view in real situations, and the other was static filled circles, or dots. In the choice RT task, participants were required to indicate as soon as possible whether the offensive actions would be aimed at the upper or middle level of their body, or the dot was presented either at a higher or a lower position. In the simple RT task, they were required to respond as soon as possible when the offensive action started from a static display of the opponent's ready stance, or a dot appeared on the display. The results showed significant differences between the karate athletes and the novices in the choice RT task, the difference being more marked for the video stimuli than for the dot stimuli. There was no significant difference in simple RT between the two groups of participants, for either type of stimuli. In Experiment 2, the proportions of correct responses (PCRs) were measured for video stimuli which were cut off at the seventh frame from the onset of the opponent's offensive action. The athletes yielded significantly higher PCRs than the novices. Collectively the results of the two experiments demonstrate the superior anticipatory skills of karate athletes regarding the target area of an opponent's attack (Scott, Williams, & Davids, Studies in perception and action II: Posters presented at the VIIth International conference on Event Perception and Action, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, 1993, p. 217; Wiiliams & Elliot, Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology 21 (1999) 362), together with their advantage over novices in non-specific sensory functions (e.g., vertical discrimination).