The Science behind PowerKube
“We believe this to be the best, if not the only, measuring device for testing the peak force of striking in combat sports.”
Sports Science Department, University of East London
“The PowerKube has proven itself to be an essential measurement tool in our combat research programs.”
Head of Sports Science, Australian Combat & Exercise
From the first moment that we began developing PowerKube it was our prime motivation to create a device that would have the scientific and engineering integrity to deliver our vision of being the best combat sports training technology available anywhere in the world.
Throughout the development of the striking surface and the software we’ve worked with a series of the world’s leading sports science laboratories and masters of martial arts to make that a reality.
With their help and support we’ve been able to build a training tool that you can rely on day in, day out and time after time for accurate measurement so that you can improve your performance.
Here’s how we did it.
Development of the PowerKube
PowerKube’s development began in 2008 when consulted with and took advice from a group of masters of traditional martial arts across all styles and throughout the World - including those in China, Japan, USA, Israel, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, Brazil, UK and Russia. We expanded our horizons by discussing similarities and variations in fighting styles from professional fighters in traditional Boxing and Kickboxing as well as the top UFC fighters.
Throughout the design and development process we also worked with a range of sports scientists with experience both inside combat sports and from the wider athletic spectrum from many and varied disciplines.
The ability for PowerKube to meet your specific needs as a martial artist, boxer or athlete was designed and engineered into the system from the outset.
With a roadmap for PowerKube mapped out, based entirely on delivering results for those involved in combat sports, martial arts and a range of other athletes, we began the engineering and scientific development.
Firstly we needed a tactile striking surface that allowed trained fighters the ability to administer the hardest possible strike, which led to the development of our unique Controlled Compression Technology (CCT).
What does PowerKube measure?
We knew that attempts to directly measure force would be compromised. The Russians had done it in the 1970’s with a punching force plate and they hurt! So what could we accurately, reliably measure?
In seeking components we could measure that were an alternative to force, we looked at two measurables, power and energy.
In 2012 PowerKube acheived a world first by isolating the power generated at the point of impact, measuring in foot pounds weight/sec (which could equally be expressed as horsepower or kilowatts). Since the amplitude of the power is speed dependent (i.e. ‘the faster one hits it, the more power is generated’) we christened this metric ‘Speed Power’. This data aligns closely to the measurements garnered by traditional force plate punching machines.
In 2015, we isolated the (Kinetic) energy component generated during an impact, which we measured in the scale of calories X 10. This is the moving mass or body shifting component and relates to how far into an object a strike penetrates; we christened this component ‘Compressive Energy’.
All strikes from a short sharp jab to a heavy knee strike contain these components in varying amounts - indeed they are the only two components in any strike.
With the ability to measure simultaneously both power and energy, we were then able to express every known strike in every known sport impact, which when combined form a compound unit of force we christened the franklin(f) after its inventor, Kevin Franklin.
The final data component is to measure and display the reaction time from an audible and visual on screen trigger to the peak point of impact.
When pulled together these data components give you total control over the measurement of your performance so that you can monitor improvement over time and modify technique to drive incremental gains.
The final step was to test everything with the sports scientists.
Validation of PowerKube Data
Scientists want repeatability, reliability and consistency.
This is what PowerKube provides.
Prior to taking the PowerKube to market we put the system through exhaustive tests and validation with numerous sport scientists to ensure its accuracy, integrity, usability and value.
To date multiple peer reviewed papers have been published from universities around the world who have chosen the PowerKube to carry out research into combat sports performance.
‘Recently, scientists at the Australian Institute of Sport quantified the reliability of the StrikeMate for measuring maximal punching power in athletes. Their findings help coaches and athletes interpret the results of testing using the StrikeMate. Their assessments showed that if an athlete’s punching power improves by more than 1.8% over time, they can be confident that their training has led to positive change in performance, not simply random variation.'
Clare Humberstone, PhD BSc (Hons), Senior Sport Physiologist, Physiology,
Australian Institute of Sport, Australian Sports Commission.
'We have been using the PowerKube now for over 5-years, and in that time we have published a number of research papers which have investigated the effects of various types of conditioning programs on striking impact power, in combat athletes. The reliability of the PowerKube has been confirmed by our previous collaboration with the Australian Institute of Sport, where it was determined the PowerKube produces reliable measures of striking impact power, with little error in measurement (TE = 1.8%). However, the usefulness of this device, need not be restricted to research, for practitioners in the field, PowerKube enables coaches and other practitioners the ability to measure and monitor striking performance in a variety of settings. The PowerKube has proven itself to be an essential measurement tool in our combat research programs.'
Dr. Luke Del Vecchio, PhD ESSAM AEP ASpS2
Head of Sports Science, Australian Combat & Exercise.
‘Since using the PowerKube, the students at the University of East London have been able to understand the quantitative and qualitative data produced by generating force when striking in combat sports. When compared to the gold standard force platforms embedded in the floor in the biomechanics lab, the PowerKube holds its own, correlating to a high degree of accuracy when tested.We have used the PowerKube for 5 research papers that are currently undergoing publishing, including the Physiological Profiles of K1 Fighters and The influence of Olympic Lifting Derivatives on Muay Thai Roundhouse Kicks.
As academics we believe this to be the best and if not the only measuring device for testing the peak force of striking in combat sports. Its ease of use and readiness of feedback, is ideal for both the scientific and sports community alike. The impressive durability is outstanding, especially when fighters can produce over 6000 Newtons (611kg) on punch force impulse, the PowerKube can literally take anything thrown at it.
The University of East London highly recommends the PowerKube to all combat sports clubs, other applications could be used such as measuring the peak power output of tackling in NFL football and rugby.'
Lee Brown, MSc BSc CSCS
Sports and Exercise Scientist, Strength and Conditioning Coach
Sports Science Lecturer in Human Performance and Coaching