Tania Emi Sakanaka

Tania Emi Sakanaka

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details


PhD Title: Comparison between the impact of taijiquan and walking practice on gait patterns in individuals with Parkinson´s Disease

Supervisor: Dr Martin Lakie and Dr Raymond Reynolds

Tania Emi Sakanaka is a Brazilian national wushu team taijiquan (tai chi) athlete, competing since 2003 at world-championship-level.


  • MA in Traditional National Sports (2009) – Beijing Sport University (BSU), Beijing, China.
  • BA in Music, Piano (2001) – State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil.


Along with her career as a national team taijiquan (tai chi) athlete, Tania has been actively developing her research work on martial arts and motor control. For her MA thesis, she conducted a biomechanical analysis of the taijiquan pelvic rotational movement in louxiaobu routine, supervised by the best Traditional National Sports professor of China, Prof. Xu Weijun (BSU). Following her interests, she has started her PhD research program at the University of Birmingham, under the supervision of Dr Martin Lakie and Dr Raymond Reynolds. Focusing on taijiquan and rehabilitation, they are now studying parameters related to balance and postural stabilization, concentrating on intrinsic muscle stiffness.


  • Motor control
  • Martial arts
  • Taijiquan (tai chi)

Other activities

  • Member of the Brazilian National Wushu Team (CBKW) as a taijiquan athlete
  • International Wushu Judge (since Aug 2010)
  • 5th Duan, Chinese Wushu Duan Wei System
  • Dance
  • Writing