I caught about half of this show last night on National Geographic, and it was pretty friggin’ awesome. They took some engineers and had them measure various techniques used by leading marital artists (gold medalists, world champions, etc) of several disciplines.
The first part I saw had them measuring the force of punches by using a crash test dummy. The kung fu punch registered at over six hundred pounds of force, for example, while the boxer’s punch topped the charts at over one thousand pounds of force. The whole show was cool stuff like this.
They measured kick attacks, and the Muay Thai dude’s knee attack apparently hits like a car crash at thirty-five miles per hour. I think they measured something like two inches of chest compression on impact.
They measured attack speed, with Kung Fu dude’s attacks being eight times faster than a striking snake. (I think this was also thirty five miles per hour.)
The coolest thing, I thought, was the test of reaction time. They had four targets matched with little lights, and when the light went on the fighter had to attack it. The Tae Kwon Do dude can apparently get a strike off about as fast as it takes the average person to register that the light is even on.
They measured the balance of some ninjitsu dude, and it was pretty impressive. They also measured the fabled “Dim Mak” from same dude, and it was pretty cool.
Last part I saw, they did some measurements on two guys who…erm…break things professionally, whatever you want to call that.
Anyway, it was pretty neat stuff, and you can read more about it in this article.
No, I’m not marketing anything, I just thought it was pretty cool and dorked out about it.