Energy System Contributions 

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This narrative review focuses on the studies that estimate the energy systems’ contributions during match simulations of striking (boxing, karate, and taekwondo), grappling (judo), and weapon-based (fencing) Olympic combat sports. The purpose is to provide insights into the metabolism of these athletes. In striking Olympic combat sports, the oxidative contribution varied from 62% (in karate and taekwondo) to 86% (in boxing), the ATP-PCr system contribution varied from 10% (in boxing) to 31% (in taekwondo), and the glycolytic contribution was between 3% (in the third round of taekwondo) and 21% (in karate). In grappling combat sports, only judo was studied, and for a 4 min match, the oxidative contribution was 79%, followed by 14% ATP-PCr system contribution and 7% contribution from the glycolytic system. In fencing, the only weapon-based Olympic combat sport, the oxidative contribution varied from 81% (in the first bout) to 90% (in the second bout), followed by 9% (bout 2) to 12% (bout 1) contribution from the ATP-PCr system, and 0.6% to 7% contribution from the glycolytic system during 3 × 3 min bouts of épée match simulation. Hence, Olympic combat sports are primarily powered by the oxidative system, but the key scoring actions are likely fueled by anaerobic pathways.

Keywords: glycolysis; oxidative system; phosphagens system; phosphocreatine; martial arts; performance

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In grappling combat sports, only judo was studied, and for a 4 min match, the oxidative contribution was 79%, followed by 14% ATP-PCr system contribution and 7% contribution from the glycolytic system.

Contributions of the oxidative, ATP-PCr, and glycolytic systems during judo simulated matches lasting from 1 min up to 5 min (adapted from Julio et al. [16]). The values represent the mean percentage of each energy system for each duration (refer to the text for specific comparisons between different match durations). Franchini, 2023.

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