Welcome to this Special Topics Edition for Combat Sports in the Strength and Conditioning Journal. Combat sports have been part of human society for thousands of years. In the Olympic Games of 648 BC, an ancient combat sport, called the Pankration, allowed fighters to use both grappling and striking techniques similar to today's mixed martial arts. Over the past 10 to 15 years, combat sports have exploded in popularity with the advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). The competitors in the UFC usually have an expertise in one of the grappling (jiu-Jitsu, judo, or wrestling) or striking (boxing, karate, or taekwondo) disciplines of combat sports. Additionally, the Olympic sports of boxing, judo, taekwondo, and both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling continue to be commonly practiced across the globe.
This special issue on combat sports will review the physiology, proper warm-up and stretching, and traditional strength and conditioning programs specific to the combat athlete. Also, this issue will review unconventional methods, techniques, and equipment used for training combat athletes. Proper nutrition, dietary supplements, hydration, and making weight for combat sports are thoroughly reviewed, and recommendations are made based on the latest science. Also, the health, physical, and psychological benefits of the combat sports, specifically judo, for children and adolescents will be reviewed.
As a guest editor, I wanted to recruit the who's who in combat sports strength and conditioning as contributors for this issue. I believe we have succeeded in this goal by recruiting experts from all over the world. I hope that this issue will provide coaching guidelines and strategies for our National Strength and Conditioning Association practitioners who work with combat athletes or inspire those who may have an opportunity to do so in the future.
Many thanks must be given to the contributors of this issue. Also, I need to thank my PhD student, David Fukuda, MS, CSCS, who had a significant role in helping me put this issue together. Without him I would not have completed this project. And a final thanks to Dr Jeff Chandler for agreeing to do this issue with me as the guest editor.
Jeffrey R. Stout, PhD, FNSCA, CSCS