This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.

Close Warning

Einstein Year - a year celebrating physics - Kung Fu Science
Home » ey in pictures » Kung Fu Science

Kung Fu Science

Launched on 4 August 2005 as part of Einstein Year, reveals the physics behind the power of Kung Fu strikes.
Video clips starring Chris Crudelli, presenter of BBC3’s ‘Mind, Body and Kickass moves’, shows the Kung Fu master training physicist Michelle Cain to break a block of wood with her bare hands. Text and diagrams alongside the video clips explain the techniques used to ensure that the block breaks while the hand doesn’t.

The laws of physics come into play as Chris and Michelle work out the force needed to break the board, and measure the speed of the strike using high speed cameras in order to calculate the energy produced on impact.

Newton’s laws of motion also help to explain the difference between western-style boxing and Kung Fu, and why a quick Kung Fu jab can do more damage than a heavy-weight boxer’s slug -