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Einstein Year - a year celebrating physics - A new website that seriously kicks ass!
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A new website that seriously kicks ass!

Discover the physics behind Kung Fu at

Chris CrudelliEver fancied yourself as Jackie Chan or Lucy Liu? Ever wondered how they break wood, concrete and bricks with their bare hands? Now you can learn everything there is to know about the ancient martial art of Kung Fu – including the science behind it – at the new kickass multimedia website from the Institute of Physics.

Launching on Thursday 4 August as part of Einstein Year, will reveal the physics behind the power of Kung Fu strikes. Video clips starring Chris Crudelli, presenter of BBC3’s ‘Mind, Body and Kickass moves’, will show 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 will 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.

The website, aimed at boys and girls of 11 to 16 years, will feature prominent warnings for children not to try any of the moves at home.

Chris Crudelli, experienced Kung Fu master and presenter, said: “The study of martial arts is essentially the study of physics as applied to the human body. Various combat techniques evolved as different approaches to the same problem – what is the most effective way of using the body to defend and attack? Kung Fu’s ancient methods of blocking and striking use the laws of physics to maximum effect.”

Michelle Cain, a physicist at the Institute, said: “Whilst training with Chris I was amazed at how many physics principles are used in martial arts. Chris has an intuitive understanding of how to use the human body to generate the maximum amount of force, acceleration and momentum” forms part of Einstein Year, the UK & Ireland's contribution to International Year of Physics

For more information including video clips, images and interviews with Chris Crudelli, please contact:-

Maneera Stenhouse, Einstein Year Public Relations Officer, the Institute of Physics, on 020 77404800 or


Dee Rossi, Account Executive, mission21, on 0208 392 5714 or 07917770453 or email


Notes to Editors:-

Einstein Year is a year-long celebration of physics and its relevance to all our lives. Marking the centenary of Einstein’s three ground-breaking ideas it communicates the vital role physics plays in developing new technologies like cancer screening equipment and mobile phones, whilst addressing big questions such as how the Universe was created and how climate change can be tackled.

   Einstein Year is here - be inspired by physics in 2005.

The Institute of Physics is a leading international professional body and learned society with over 37,000 members, which promotes the advancement and dissemination of a knowledge of and education in the science of physics, pure and applied. It has a world-wide membership and is a major international player in:

• scientific publishing and electronic dissemination of physics;
• setting professional standards for physicists and awarding professional qualifications;
• promoting physics through scientific conferences, education and science policy advice

The Institute is a member of the Science Council, and a nominated body of the Engineering Council. The Institute works in collaboration with national physical societies and plays an important role in transnational societies such as the European Physical Society and represents British and Irish physicists in international organisations. In Great Britain and Ireland the Institute is active in providing support for physicists in all professions and careers, encouraging physics research and its applications, providing support for physics in schools, colleges and universities, influencing government and informing public debate.

Biography of Chris Crudelli

Chris Crudelli is a martial arts practitioner and teacher who has worked extensively in the UK and the Far East. He divides his time between Kung Fu (the dynamic, fast and focused art, famous for its debris of broken bricks and planks) T’ai Chi (the practice of slow moves that hide the true form of fast, lethal fighting) and Chi Gong (where fighting style meets incredible power, healing and the intuitive arts).

Chris is 32 and was born in Birmingham of Italian/Irish parents. Aged 8 he began to learn Martial Arts. In his teens he lived with a Chinese family continuing his Kung Fu training. It became the all-consuming passion of his life, as it is to this day.

At the age of 17 Chris went to Hong Kong to study and he spent the next number of years travelling and studying with Martial Arts Masters in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. He speaks Mandarin and this has helped him search out the more esoteric and philosophical exponents of martial arts in China as well as perfect the physical side of his fighting styles.

In 2003 Chris presented the BBC3 series ‘Mind, Body and Kickass Moves’, which followed him on an extraordinary journey to meet new teachers. Travelling to Japan, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Beijing and Taiwan he has met a wide range of Masters, who have revealed techniques and skills that range from the obscure to the downright weird.

Released: 2005/08/05 16:52:59.234 GMT+1