Comparison of Injury Rates Among Martial Arts

Bill Mattocks

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Found this interesting. It's from 2004, but I don't think anything has essentially changed in the meantime that would make the results invalid for the present time.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1725005/pdf/v039p00029.pdf

QUOTE:
CONCLUSIONS
(1) There is a threefold greater risk of injury in tae kwon do
than in Shotokan karate.
(2) Injury rates and types of injury in Shotokan karate and
kung fu are similar.
(3) Different martial arts have different distributions of
injury by body region.
(4) There are no significant differences in injuries between
sexes.
(5) Martial artists under 18 years of age are at significantly
lower risk of injury than older athletes.
(6) Athletes >18 years with at least three years of experience
are at greatest risk of sustaining major injuries (35%) and
multiple injuries (35%).
(7) Athletes ,18 years old with ,3 years of experience have
a low risk of multiple injuries (5%) and an extremely low
risk of major injuries (,1%).

END QUOTE

I thought it was interesting that the study concluded that older-than-18 martial artists with 3 or more years of experience were at significantly greater chance of injury than younger and inexperienced students.
 

Dirty Dog

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I wouldn't place much value on this study. With a MASSIVE sample size of 263 people, the only thing you can actually conclude is that 'sometimes people get hurt.'
 

Xue Sheng

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Really all you can get out of this small sampling as compared to the 8 million they referenced is (and I just saw another that reference 18.1 million people in the USA train some sort of MA)

CONCLUSIONS
(1) There is a threefold greater risk of injury in tae kwon do
than in Shotokan karate.
(2) Injury rates and types of injury in Shotokan karate and
kung fu are similar.
(3) Different martial arts have different distributions of
injury by body region.
(4) There are no significant differences in injuries between
sexes.
(5) Martial artists under 18 years of age are at significantly
lower risk of injury than older athletes.
(6) Athletes >18 years with at least three years of experience
are at greatest risk of sustaining major injuries (35%) and
multiple injuries (35%).
(7) Athletes ,18 years old with ,3 years of experience have
a low risk of multiple injuries (5%) and an extremely low
risk of major injuries (,1%).

And to be honest, I doubt there are many long time martial artists that are even a little bit surprised by this
 

Buka

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Wouldn't it be great if we never got hurt? We certainly try not to.

But, Martial Arts are a contact endeavor. I mean, what are you going to do, just sit around on the couch?
 

Xue Sheng

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As a long gone, much missed poster (exile) once called me a "genuine, certifiable MA House O' Pain maniac"

And to be honest, I think that is pretty much what any of us are that are in this for a long time are all "genuine, certifiable MA House O' Pain maniacs". We train, we get hurt, we recover, we get old, we train, we get hurt, take longer to recover, get a bit smarter, and try not to get hurt so much, but we still will get hurt and we still keep at it
 

Touch Of Death

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I wouldn't place much value on this study. With a MASSIVE sample size of 263 people, the only thing you can actually conclude is that 'sometimes people get hurt.'
No, I called it before I read the answer. TKD calls for extreme measures; so, you are going to get extreme pulled muscles. It should be common sense, really. :)
 

Touch Of Death

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This is really more about how you ask the question. Stratify the type of injury, and you will get different styles. Pulled muscles is an automatic TKD, but head injuries? Boxing; Torn shoulder? Judo. ETC.
 

Dirty Dog

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No, I called it before I read the answer. TKD calls for extreme measures; so, you are going to get extreme pulled muscles. It should be common sense, really. :)

Common sense... isn't.

You're going to get pulled muscles in any physical activity. I've pulled muscles tossing gear around on a SCUBA trip - go pick up a set of manifolded 100CF doubles. Now carry them down a jungle path to get to the cave entrance.
Personally, I do not consider a pulled muscle to be an injury. It's merely a side effect.
 

Touch Of Death

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Common sense... isn't.

You're going to get pulled muscles in any physical activity. I've pulled muscles tossing gear around on a SCUBA trip - go pick up a set of manifolded 100CF doubles. Now carry them down a jungle path to get to the cave entrance.
Personally, I do not consider a pulled muscle to be an injury. It's merely a side effect.
That is a problem. When you are in a street fight, it is, at least, a bit of an issue. :)
 

Dirty Dog

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That is a problem. When you are in a street fight, it is, at least, a bit of an issue. :)

You think? When was the last time you pulled a muscle and even noticed it right away? I have to say I never have. LATER it may hurt. The day after, it might hurt like hell. But at the moment? Piffle.
And that is just sparring, without the adrenaline rush of a fight.
 

Touch Of Death

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You think? When was the last time you pulled a muscle and even noticed it right away? I have to say I never have. LATER it may hurt. The day after, it might hurt like hell. But at the moment? Piffle.
And that is just sparring, without the adrenaline rush of a fight.
I think you have rationalized a little, but fair enough. :)
 

Dirty Dog

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I think you have rationalized a little, but fair enough. :)

Well, do you think a pulled muscle would render you incapable of defending yourself?

I don't consider myself particularly tough or impervious to pain. I just don't think a pulled muscles is going to have any major impact on my abilities in the moment.
I lost an eye, and was able to fight back. I got sucker punched and got my nose broken in the ER, and was able to fight back well enough that the assailant was subdued by the time other staff got to us. I broke my hand while sparring 3 students, and was able to finish the round. I have aches and pains and sore muscles all the time, after training hard.
All of these things suck, to varying degrees, AFTER, but at the time? Meh...

You can call it rationalizing if you like.
 
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