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Virtual reality plays a vast role in creating a better future. As time goes by, it is becoming more significant to the human. In this study, the application of martial arts will be covered on. So, to be more specific, this will be focusing on two main aspects which is rehabilitation and gaming. In other words, this paper will look at rehabilitation and gaming that use martial arts as a medium. Basically, when talking about martial arts or sport science it is normally going to look at activities that will involve physical movement (Bailenson, Patel, Neilson, Bajscy, Jung, & Kurillo, 2008), anticipation (Witte, Emmermacher, Bandow, & Masik, 2012) and many more. However, the applications of martial arts is becoming a more diverse field as people start to look at it in a higher level compared to before such as the Far East martial arts like Tai Chi is now being use in rehabilitation which to helps in maintaining good health because it can reduce the probability of falling for the elderly (Heinz, Kunze, Gruber, Bannach, & Lukowicz, 2006). At the same time, martial arts in games has also being considered as an outstanding achievement as it helps in entertainment and also creating a more interactive learning (Hamalainen, Ilmonen, Hoysniemi, Lindholm, & Nyakanen, 2005). So, by integrating both virtual reality and martial arts, it will be looked at, in a far and better scale. This is in a way shows that researcher right now are more interested in the interaction and the immersive of the user with the technology as to what extend does it look similar to the real world (Heinz et al., 2006). Hence, many research question has arisen in this aspects such as a research that has been conducted, mainly motivated by the question on whether tactile feedback (whole body) can train a person in reaching or moving something in the virtual environment whether through explicit or implicit means (Bloomfield & Badler, 2008).
Besides that, when it comes to martial arts or sport exercise, it can be very dangerous at times if not being practice correctly and appropriately. So, the motivation behind the study is that, by implementing virtual reality in this martial arts field, it can improve the safety of the practitioner and avoid any kind of unnecessary danger (Phunsa, Potisarn, & Tirakoat, 2009). At the very same time, activities that involving martial arts training can sometimes be very dull and boring (Bailenson et al.
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On top that, researcher were also interested in applying this martial arts field in the game aspect with the help of virtual reality technologies such as developing a game based-learning system for martial arts that required emphasis of gesture movement with the aid of Kinect sensors (Chye & Nakajima, 2012). This is in other words, shows that virtual reality are becoming more significant in different kind of areas in the world.
2. Does it make a significant contribution to body of knowledge? And How so?
As stated above, virtual reality is gaining more attention in this martial arts field. This is in other words, prove that virtual reality itself has become more complex and more reliable. For example, as contrast to the traditional virtual reality settings, fully immersive virtual settings are far more different and better, in the sense that fully immersive virtual settings are able to capture full body motion in which with this ability, it can use the user full range of physical motion to interact with the virtual environment, avatars, and computer controlled agents (Patel, Bailenson, Jung, Diankov & Bajcsy, 2006). Besides that, with the help of virtual reality, it can also improve the anticipation aspect in a way it helps in examining the anticipation of martial artist or even athletes in a more realistic way (Witte et al., 2012). To explain further, by studying this anticipation, it is actually studying on the reaction time of the martial artist or athletes when facing with the virtual attacks in which is there any different in time of reaction between virtual environment and real scenarios (Witte et al., 2012). So, the performance of the martial artist and even athletes can be improve.
On top of that, virtual reality also helps in improving physical rehabilitation in which traditional rehabilitation requires patient to do simple martial arts movement or physical action which may be a little bit dry and boring (Bailenson et al., 2008). Hence, with the help of virtual system, it can help in creating a more interactive rehabilitation, increase patients motivation and it can helps in giving feedback to the users as it will reduce errors during the motion process (Bailenson et al., 2008).
Interactive games that involve martial arts is also becoming a more demanding fields as users prefer to play things that are more entertaining in a sense it gives us the sense of immersive or sense of presence just like a real world (Hamalainen et al., 2005). Hence, a research has been conducted showing that it can have those kind of things even inside the virtual environment in which they have created an artificial reality martial arts game called Kick Ass Kung-Fu that will help the user to engage in virtual enemies and fight them (Hamalainen et al., 2005). This is not just to show that martial arts field is improving but also the gaming and rehabilitation aspect is also improving.
3. Do the technology describe are still relevant, why?
The technology are still considered as relevant to be used and in fact it can be develop more to be a better technology. For instance, technology like HMD or a projection system that surrounds the user like a CAVE, would really help the user as it provide a more immersive display in which this will improve the mobility and at the same time improve learning in an interactive way (Bailenson et al., 2008). On top of that, technology such as Kinect sensors is also being considered as a reliable and relevant technology to be used as it provide the possibility to track and analyse motion, without the need to attach any sensors to the users and to make it more relevant to use, it is relatively cheap compared to the other 3D sensors (Chye & Nakajima, 2012). Besides that, with the help of virtual reality technology, it can improve the aspects of anticipation in which this is really important to the martial artist or athletes (Witte et al., 2012). The research conducted found out that by using this virtual reality technology, it helps in improving the reaction time of anticipation in a novice martial arts practitioner (Witte et al., 2012).
On top of that, when in training or practice, it is important to have a feedback in the right and wrong of their performance in which this will help to reduce errors made by them (Bailenson et al., 2008). So, in order to achieve the desired outcome, the technology used is still considered as relevant as it will provide a two ways communication between the users and the technology itself in which this will help to give a better feedback for a better performance (Bailenson et al., 2008).
As mention above, by applying virtual reality in martial arts, it also helps in rehabilitation of a patient. For instance, the application called “Staying Alive” which uses Tai Chi to interact the system with the user, helps to rehabilitate cancer patient in the sense that it help to relax them and improve the blood circulation (Becker & Pentland, 1997). So, with the help of virtual reality technology such as Interactive Virtual Environment (IVE) and wireless virtual reality system, ALIVE, it can help the patient to engage with a more interactive and interesting rehabilitation (Becker & Pentland, 1997).
Besides that, it is still being considered as relevance in which with the help of technologies like video mirror test, it can help this martial artist to improve their skills greatly such as by delaying the camera view by a few seconds, martial artist can perform a spin kick and eventually see it repeated on the screen immediately as to compared with the traditional mirror in which you cannot see yourself spinning around (Hamalainen et al., 2005). Thus, improving the training aspect.
4. Suggestion to improve the study?
Although, virtual reality itself can be considered as a successful achievement, there are still room for improvement. For example, it can increase the level of pleasure to the user in the sense that it will give a complete and fully immersive environment that will not have any user problem (Chye & Nakajima, 2012). Besides that, it should also consider the edutainment aspect in which it need to create a virtual system that will not only focus on education or learning but also in the term of entertainment which helps in a more interesting and interactive learning (Phunsa et al., 2009). On top of that, in the sense of martial arts games such as Kick Ass Kung-Fu, it will be interesting if it has a two player mode in which it can either human vs human or human vs computer that will have a sense of realness (Hamalainen et al., 2005). At the same time, it can also improve the physical sense of the confinement and constraints of the virtual environment as this criteria is said to be lacking in the virtual reality (Bloomfield & Badler, 2008).
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