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INTRODUCTION TO THE SPECIAL ISSUE ON COMBAT SPORT

Keywords: Combat Sports

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Combat Sports Special Issue Editorial INTRODUCTION TO THE SPECIAL ISSUE ON COMBAT SPORT The World heavyweight professional boxing championship is arguable the biggest prize in sport. Why is this the case? It is not just the glamour that is appealing, but also the intriguing appeal of two combatants in a fixed environment. All combat sports share this similarity and in doing so, combat sports become appealing for spectators to watch, provide competitors with their ultimate challenge, and provide sport scientists and medics with a rich environment to apply their work. The role of research and theory driven interventions is key to the credibility of sport science and sports medicine. An intervention and/or treatment must be based on sound reason and the effects should be considered beforehand, both positive and negative. Equally, the nature of combat sport, where the aim is to strike, throw, or grapple with an opponent which can lead to injury, invariably raises questions on whether it is morally acceptable for these activities to be called a sport. Therefore, thorough investigation of the nature of medical issues is needed. The case for banning boxing in inextricably linked to the notion that the aim of the sport is to cause harm to the opponent; if harm was minimized and injury became less of an injury, the case for banning boxing would be weak. Quite clearly there are a plethora of arguments that point to a need for theory driven research in combat sport, and plugging this gap in the literature is an aim of this special issue of the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Possibly the most convincing argument for me to get involved in driving this issue stems from experiences in applied work with professional boxers (Hall and Lane, 2001; Lane and Hall, 2003), amateur boxers (Lane, 2002), kickboxers (Lane, et al., 1999) and tae-kwon-do athletes (Chapman et al., 1997) in which a raft of situations and issues were presented that required answers based on research and theory. An intention of this special issue was to provide up-to-date research in combat sport that can be used by theory driven practitioners and theorists alike. The authors for this special replied to an open call for papers. The principle that we select the best is key to raising quality. All papers were subjected to peer review. Nineteen papers have been published out of the 41 that were submitted, and given no papers were rejected because they did not focus on combat sport, it is argued that the resultant papers represent quality submissions. Diversity in terms of where authors come from a

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