Master Thesis -
Digital Training Assistance in Karate

Motiontracking and Application Concept


University of Applied Science and Art - Hildesheim

Period of time

Winter Semester 17/18


  • Research
  • Conception
  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • UI Design


Prof. Stefan Wölwer
Prof. Alessio Leonardi

Kata Tracker

The Kata Tracker is a digital Training Assistance for Karate Athletes. It is a Media Installation to track the motion and techniques of a Karate Practicioner and to visualize the captured data. This Data is provided to the Athlete by a Software Application in which this data can be analysed to improve the Karatekas performance.

My goals for this project

The goal of this Project was to find appropriate ways of tracking motion in Karate and to explore the application of Motiontracking in the Karate training. Based on this research I created a concept for a digital training assistance in Karate.

"The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of character of its participants."

Gichin Funakoshi

The three pillars of Karate

To better understand my concept I want to give you a brief overview of Karate. Karate is a martial art of Japanese origin, which, despite many different styles in its essence, requires far more than just athletic achievement from the practitioner. In addition to physical fitness, mental values ​​such as respect, decency, self-control, mindfulness and discipline are also taught.

  • Kihon

    Kihon is the base of Karate and all moves and techniques are trained seperate and individually and are executed over and over again.

  • Kata

    Kata is a defined solid form in which predetermined moves and techniques are executed in order.

  • Kumite

    In Kumite the application of moves and techniques are trained with a partner


Of the three basic pillars of karate, Kihon, Kata and Kumite, this concept only considers Kata. The target group of this concept are recreational athletes and their karate clubs, who want to train Katas with this system in addition to the regular training. Immediately after the Kataperformance, the Karateka gets an insight into his own performance related data in form of an animation and additional performance-relevant data. He can use it to analyse his movement by himself and its possible to compare the performance to previous performances. For higher quality Feedback the user can compare his performance with that of a teacher, idealy in presence of the teacher, to identify his own mistakes and improvements. Based on the data, the karate instructor can then point out mistakes to the Karateka and thus support the Karateka in his development.


The movements are recorded with depth sensors cameras and the pressure sensors in the training mats record the step movements and the weight distribution. For a kata record, at least 16 mats should be placed in a 4x4 square in the dojo. Four depth sensor cameras are mounted on each side in a raised position to detect movements in all directions. The data is passed on to a computer or mobile device for processing and is visualized and documented in the mobile or desktop application for viewing and analysis. The system is synchronized with a web application, which allows sharing of records with other users. In the dojo, therefore, only one device must be available for recording and recordings can be assigned to profiles.


Foottracking with mats and Animation

The Foot position and placement during a Kata is very important as well as the weight distribution. For this digital foot recording, I decided to represent both foot positions. In addition, I've added body alignment to better understand this graphic.

3D Skeletontracking and Animation

All movements and techniques can be viewed as a 3-Dimensional Skeleton Animation. A great advantage of this skeletal representation is the reduction to the hinge points, which are very helpful in judging an executed technique. You can see where and which angle certain limbs have. Any viewing angle can be changed freely during the animation.



  • User Interview
  • User Observation
    • Karateseminar
    • Foto/Video Comparability
  • Online Survey
  • Experimentation with Technologies
    • Elektromyografie
    • Kinect
    • Photography time exposure


  • Mindmapping
  • User Scenarios
  • User Flow
  • Concept Map
  • Purpose Map
  • Animations
  • Analog Foottracking
  • Wireframes


For detailed information about this project you can take a look at the
Documentation Master Thesis