Many principles of physics are instructive in martial arts training. Speed, movement, power and effectiveness of technique can all be understood through principles of physics; and martial arts, inevitably, involves these principles of physics.

What creates power and energy is mass and speed. So, speed is an element of power; power behind strikes and kicks. Speed is distance and time; in other words, how long it takes for an object to travel a certain distance; and the farther the travel, the harder it hits. So, distance, or travel, is also a factor in the power behind a technique. Mass, part of the equation for power, along with speed, must be behind the weapon and movement for the impact to have power. Simply, you cannot be moving a different direction than your strike for it to have power. In addition, the body and weapon must be aligned correctly, squarely onto the target, for it to yield effective results. To put it even more basic, to defend yourself you must do damage to the attacker to end the altercation. You must hit hard and effectively, efficiently and quickly.

In addition to the example given above, there are many ways to generate power. The use of gravity, using your weight to strike downward with gravity, will add power to a strike; hammering or thrusting your technique into vulnerable target on the adversary.

Turning or twisting action, or torque, also creates power. The best example of this is the boxer’s hook punch; especially if he turns his hip into it.

This video displays a good example of using proper body alignment and torque.

It is also important to understand that all techniques must be executed from a decent base, a good stance. Anything done can only be done effectively from a base; it’s where you work from; if you were to push a car, saw a board, or deliver an effective punch, you must work from a solid base, so that weapon is rooted and strong.

Another principle of physics that is relevant to martial arts is the principle of vectors. Vectors, related to geometry, are the distance and angle (direction) at which an object may move. Your arms and legs can move at various distances and angles, which combined are called vectors. The above example of a hook punch was traveling at a 90 degree angle for, probably 1 or 2 feet; it had correct alignment and good travel, in addition to having torque. It is a very powerful technique and this is why boxers are very effective when they use it.

From Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%92

So, it is easy to see how principles of physics are relevant to martial arts knowledge and training. Effective use of scientific principles enhancing understanding of how to hit and move effectively, which will be translated in awareness and physical application.