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Kung Fu Science

Introduction  |  About Chris  |  About Michelle  |  What is Kung Fu  |  Breaking Blocks  |  Michelle on Physics  |  Newton's Laws  |  Conservation of Energy  |  Aspects of the Technique  |  Analysis  |  Calculations  |  The Final Test  |  Success!  |  Links and Resources

Welcome to

Kung Fu Science title graphic

Kung Fu is a form of self defence and is therefore extremely dangerous. The techniques featured on this website should only be conducted under supervision of a professional martial arts teacher. Under no circumstances should you try to recreate anything you see here.

The study of martial arts is the study of physics as it relates to the human body. The various types of martial art evolved as different approaches to the same problem - what is the most effective way of using the body to defend and attack? We shouldn't be surprised to find that the most effective methods of blocking and striking, perfected over hundreds of years, use the laws of physics to maximum effect.

Meet Chris, kung fu expert and general, all-round crazy person. Sometimes he breaks concrete blocks just for the hell of it.

Meet Michelle. She's a physicist working at the Institute of Physics, but recently she's been learning kung fu. In particular she wants to learn how to break wood with her bare hands, and find out the physics behind the feat.

The Challenge
Chris has challenged Michelle to break through three pieces of two-centimetre-thick pine board. Michelle is a committed physicist, so she's prepared to put her personal safety on the line, all in the name of science.

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