Baseline physiological and kinanthropometric data were collected for 11 male and 12 female elite taekwon-do athletes from the Czech national team for evaluation of anthropometry, aerobic and anaerobic capacities, strength, visual reaction time, pulmonary function, flexibility and explosive power of the lower limbs (vertical jump). Both male and female taekwon-do black belts demonstrated low adiposity (8.2 and 15.4% fat, BMI 21.9 and 22.0 kg m(-2), respectively), normal reactivity and pulmonary function, above average muscular strength, PWC-170 (3.4 vs 2.7 W kg(-1)) and aerobic power (54 vs 42 ml min(-1) kg(-1)), and a high flexibility (37 and 38 cm) and anaerobic performance (peak power output from a 30 s Wingate test=14.7 and 10.1 W kg(-1); anaerobic capacity=334 and 242 J kg(-1), in males and females, respectively). In male athletes, competitive performance was significantly related to maximum power output and upper limb reaction time only, whereas in females, performance was related to maximum power output and ventilatory threshold level. These variables accounted for 66 and 67% of the performance rank in males and females, respectively. Time-motion analysis of competition taekwon-do fighting (two times 2 min) revealed 3-5 s bouts of maximum exercise alternating with low-intensity periods. This elicits high heart rates (100% HRmax) and lactate responses (11.4 mmol l(-1) = 81% LAmax), which agrees well with the physiological characteristics of taekwon-do black belts measured in laboratory exercise tests.