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Clare Humberstone

Position/Job Title: Combat Centre Specialist Lead 

Background/Qualifications: PhD, 8 years providing elite performance support to a wide variety of sports as a member of the AIS Physiology discipline. 

Key duties/responsibilities with the Combat Centre: Clare leads the AIS Combat Centre team in its mission to provide an elite performance environment and culture to support combat sport athletes achieve sustainable podium success. Having been involved in the leadership of the Combat Centre since its inception in 2013, Clare has developed an extensive network of relationships across the four Olympic combat sports in Australia. One of Clare’s key roles is to bring together these people and ideas to develop innovative strategies for accelerating Australia’s international achievements in combat sports. Clare is particularly passionate about providing additional opportunities for Australia’s best young combat athletes to thrive, and in doing so optimizing the pathways for athletes. Finally, Clare is on the look-out for ‘Game-Changer’ solutions; pursuing the kind of opportunities that have the potential to completely reposition combat sports in Australia for the better.

Michael Steinebronn

Position/Job Title: Combat Centre Project Adviser

Background/Qualifications: Associate Diploma in Industrial Research and Measurement, Diploma of Government (Project Management), PRINCE2® Foundation Examination. 

Key duties/responsibilities with the Combat Centre: Michael brings over 20 years’ experience at the AIS in key technical roles supporting research and high performance sports science. He brings to the Combat Centre a wealth of experience in technical support of sports science and project management. Michael will be responsible to develop a strategic approach to coordinate ongoing Combat Centre facility use, development and capital investment. Other key responsibilities will include developing and implementing strategies to attract international teams to the AIS for the benefit of Australian athletes and coaches. Michael will also develop strategies to promote the Combat Centre resources and activities to NSO’s and commercial clients. 

Interests: Project Management. Technology, particularly mechanical design (CAD), machining and fabrication. Exploring.

Stuart Cormack

Position/Job Title: Consultant to AIS Combat Centre; Senior Lecturer, School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University.

Background/Qualifications: PhD, over 20 years’ experience working in High Performance sport including at the AIS and in professional sport, life-long Judo player.

Key duties/responsibilities with the Combat Centre: Stuart will be working closely with Judo athletes, coaches, Judo Sports Science Advisory Committee and Combat Centre staff to improve performance of Australian Judo players. A major emphasis is on refinement of testing and training practices to benefit athletes who may compete in Tokyo 2020.

Interests: Applied sports science and athlete preparation from both a research and application perspective.

Raul Landeo

Position/Job Title: Consultant to AIS Combat Centre; Lecturer, School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University


Background/Qualifications: PhD, The University of New South Wales, more than 25 years’ experience at Taekwondo elite level competition as athlete, coach and researcher.


Key duties/responsibilities with the Combat Centre: Raul will be working as consultant to the AIS Combat Centre with focus on Emerging Athlete Program development, athlete development practices and assistant coach to the Australian elite Taekwondo athletes working towards Rio 2016.


Interests: Biomechanics, Taekwondo, athlete development and performance analysis

AIS Combat Centre Sport-Based PhD Scholars

Michael Maloney

Course: PhD


University affiliation: Victoria University


Area of Research : Skill Aquisition


Project Title: Bridging the gap between training and competition: The benefits of creating pressure in learning environments.


Michael is passionate about helping coaches to develop skill-sets in their athletes that stand up under the pressure of competition. Skills learned in training do not always transfer to more demanding, high-pressure competition environments. One rationale for skill breakdown under pressure is that athletes do not practice skills in learning environments that adequately simulate the psychological and physical demands of competition. Over the course of his PhD, Michael will work closely with coaches at the AIS Combat Centre to refine their session plans to consider competition pressure in skill sessions. His research will focus on (1) quantifying the psycho-physical differences between training and competition, and (2) developing strategies to improve the psycho-physical demands of learning tasks to enhance the transfer of skills to high pressure environments. Results of his research will have high practical application for coaches and will be generalizable to all sports.

Sally Bromley

Course: PhD


University affiliation: Federation University


Area of Research : Injury epidemiology and training load management


Project Title: Olympic Combat Sports: Injury and illness Epidemiology and load management


As a Judo athlete herself, Sally knows all too well the effect a long-term injury can have on delaying the achievement of sporting goals. Currently it is known that if an athlete completes 80% of their planned training in the 6 months leading into competition they are 7 times more likely to succeed. Medical illness has been shown to be the most common cause of missed training, with injury at a close second. To enhance the chances of success for Australian combat sport athletes, Sally’s PhD research will focus on quantifying the rates and incidence of injury and illness in Judo, Boxing, Taekwondo and Wrestling. She will be working closely with the national coaches and programs to translate this knowledge into preventative measures that reduce injury and illness occurrences.

Israel Halperin

Course: PhD


University affiliation: Edith-Cowan University


Area of Research : Psycho-physiology, motor learning, neuromuscular fatigue


Project Title: Impact of augmented feedback on pacing and performance in striking combat sports

From his personal experiences as a kickboxing coach and ex-competitor, Israel knows the effect that his words can have in the midst of competition. A fine line exists between advice that encourages athletes to push through their limits, and that which causes them to mis-pace their efforts and ‘blow-up’ early. Israel’s research projects investigate the different effects of coaching cues and instructions on performance of combat athletes. This will allow for the development of evidence-based guidelines for Australian combat sports coaches concerning the types of cues and instructions that should be used in training and competitions to illicit optimal performance.

Emily Dunn

Course: PhD


University affiliation: Edith- Cowan University  


Area of Research : Physiology


Project Title: The Manifestation of Fatigue in Amateur Boxing

Emily’s series of research projects aims to understand the ways in which amateur boxing performance is affected by the fatigue sustained during competition. In addition, her research will explore a series of methods to assess boxing specific performance in a laboratory setting; e.g. punch force and speed, total impulse of multiple punches, force generated from the lower body. These metrics are being examined in both rested and fatigued states, to provide understanding behind the trends observed in competition. Overall, she will establish novel and rigorous scientific information, which can be used to provide specific advice about boxing training, and minimise the effect of fatigue.

Steve Bingley

Course: Masters


University affiliation: University of Canberra  


Area of Research : Body-weight conditioning


Project Title: The Application of Popular Body-Weight Exercises in a Combat Sport Population


Formerly a paratrooper in the Australian Army, Steve knows the demands elite ‘tactical-athletes’ face. Steve will bring in some of his experience and will be focusing on the physical conditioning of athletes using body-weight exercises that were used as early as the 1st Century BC to prepare soldiers for war. Although nomenclature used to describe different types of modern resistance training exercises has been discussed, little attention has focused on the categorization and utility of popular body weight-based exercises. Steve’s purpose of the first paper in his Master’s thesis is to identify and describe popular body weight-based exercises. His literature review should be of interest for those incorporating body weight exercises into fitness testing batteries and physical conditioning programs. Steve’s second study will focus on the relative benefits of a whole-body exercise, burpees, for combat sport athletes when compared to traditional running-based conditioning. The combination of aerobic and muscular endurance demands of burpees may be superior to running training in a population of athletes who spend between 2 and 5 minutes in competition moving within a confined space.

Alexandra Roberts

Course: PhD

University affiliation: Edith-Cowan University

Area of Research: Skill Acquisition

Project Title: Examining experiential knowledge and current practices in talent identification: Identifying talent in combat sports.

Alex’s research is aiming to better understand how coaches identify talent within combat sports.  Through thoroughly examining current talent identification and selection practices both in Australia and internationally, she will establish the most effective ways to ensure that athletes are being selected for future success. This will allow for the development of more transparent and effective selection policies within Australian combat sports, and allow for more international success for our athletes.


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