Just in case you are interested, I commented in the “Do” Paper about it being a re-write.  A little while later, I stumbled across the original, written a month or two prior.  I’m sure you will discover that they are very different papers…


“Biomechanics” Outline

I.   Introduction

II. Background: Myth-information

  1. Disillusionment
  2. Enlightenment

III. Why Biomechanics?

  1. Q&A
  2. Motivation

IV.  Jargon: Technical Stuff

  1. Research
  2. “Anatomy of the Punch”
  3. Summary

V.  Conclusion

  1. The State of Society
  2. Career Prospects



Scott Gray

Freshman English I


16, February 2004

Adults often ask children what they want to be when they grow up.  As is the case with many children, when I was asked what I wanted to be, my answer would vary according to the last movie I watched or the last book I read.  Most often I wanted to be either a detective or fireman.  As I developed a bit more arrogance, I would proudly proclaim that I wanted to be a genetic engineer when I grew up.  Coming from a five year old, this often earned me a few puzzled looks.  Oddly enough, I ended up in Biomechanics.  That’s not too awful far from genetic engineering.  (FYI, I’m also now a Fireman.)

To give you a different perspective of Biomechanics, lets take a look at the factors that influenced my choice.  My life changed at the tender age of eight years when my parents enrolled me in the local Taekwondo School.  Having grown up on Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, and various cheesy Kung Fu movies, this started a young child on his path to becoming a powerful Ninja.  Unfortunately, reality soon set in, chock full of life’s little disillusionments.  No, I would not learn how to fly.  No, I would not learn how to turn invisible.  No, I would not be able to jump over ten foot walls.  No, I would not learn a secret ‘death touch’ technique.  And no, if someone hit me over the head with a baseball bat, I wouldn’t be able to laugh at them, at least not until I got out of the hospital.  It was all about kicking, punching, discipline, and politics.

Despite being nothing like I imagined, my training in the Martial Arts laid a solid foundation of skill, experience, knowledge, and wisdom that I, as an adult, have been able to turn to learning the truth behind many of the ‘magickal powers’ of fictional warriors.  Many of these so called ‘secret techniques’ did, in fact, exist.  Many of them I have learned.  I leaned such things as: how to knock a person out with a touch, how to shatter multiple concrete blocks without bruising my hand, how to survive a seventy-five foot fall, and even how to kill by slapping a man on the chest.  In time I became able to both deliver and withstand blows that literally carried the force of a car wreck.

At this point one might be asking oneself, “What does this have to do with Biomechanics?”  To answer that question, I am currently a Physical Education Student.  Once I have my AA degree, I plan to continue on for a Masters in Kinesiology, and eventually a Doctorate in Biomechanics.  Why Biomechanics?  Because I have been studying Biomechanics since I was eight, I just didn’t realize it.

I want to delve further into the field of Biomechanics for many reasons.  First, it will vastly improve and deepen my own Martial Arts training, as well as the training I pass on to the more dedicated of my students.  Second, I am fascinated by the untapped potential of the human body only hinted at in history, fiction, and legend.  Thirdly, I wish to use what I know and will learn to help others.  This knowledge can be applied to other forms of martial craft such as military and police training, and even things not martial such as programs for deep sea or outer space exploration.

I am not exaggerating about the things I have learned.  A recent documentary on the Discovery channel explored just what Martial Artists have been able to achieve.  A team of Biomechanists put a pair of Martial Artists through their paces with startling results.  Using cutting edge technology, the Biomechanists measured the force applied by a single kick at well over a ton per square inch.  That’s more than a car wreck!  How is this possible?  I thought you’d never ask (XMA).

Let’s start with the delivery of sheer power.  Most people deliver a punch by swinging their arm with a balled fist.  A well-trained Martial Artist delivers a punch in a proper stance which grounds the rear foot so that it will not give ground when the leg is extended to propel the entire body forward.  The hips are turned at the proper moment to add upper body motion to the strike.  Rather than swinging the arm, it is extended in a linear manner to keep the power of the blow going directly through the target rather than scattering off of it.  The wrist twists at the moment of impact to add more motion and speed, and the knuckles are positioned so the impact is limited to as little amount of space is possible.  The weight is dropped by flexing the knees at the moment of impact to add more virtual mass.  The muscles are kept relaxed to cut down on resistance, which adds more speed to the blow, but proper breathing techniques tense the entire body at the precise moment so the person delivering the punch has the advantage of both strength and speed, but the drawbacks of neither.  All of these things together, as well as countless other minor factors that I won’t bore you with, add up to a gross amount of speed and the equivalent of mass, crammed into a very small area.  In layman’s terms, “a punch with a helluvalot of power.”

I’ve discovered that few people share my passion for the intricate details of biokinetics, so suffice to say that many of the other things I’ve mentioned are achieved in much the same manner.  Surviving blows and falls are a combination of relaxing, tensing, and moving your body in a certain way.  Knocking out or even killing with a touch revolves around interrupting neural pathways and causing feedback in the nervous system.  It is even possible to transfer force harmlessly through other mass to reach a target.  Remember in Blood Sport when Jean Claude shattered the bottom brick?  It’s not that hard to do, if you just know the trick.  The problem is that it takes years of practice to master the trick.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg (Bloodsport).

With the degradation of society’s health as a result of technology that encourages slothfulness, the masses are beginning to wake up to realize they are grossly unhealthy.  This realization has sparked countless diet and pharmaceutical fads and moneymaking schemes that are destined to die away when people realize that there is no such thing as instant gratification, so eventually people will be looking for solid, long-term methods to maintain physical health.  Biomechanics would also be applicable to countless Government programs requiring physical conditioning, such as pilots, astronauts, firemen, and soldiers. From training and consultation in the private sector to designing and improving exercise machines and programs, even to possible government contracts for training programs and research, the employment prospects in this field should be countless (Hoeger and Hoeger 30).




“Biomechanics” Works Cited

Bloodsport. Dir. Newt Arnold. Warner Studios, 1994.

Werner W.K. Hoeger and Sharon A. Hoeger. Principles and Labs for Physical Fitness. 4th  Ed. California: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2004.

XMA: Extreme Martial Arts.  The Discovery Channel. November, 2003.