Shaolin Science

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Nevada_MO_Guy, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Nevada_MO_Guy

    Nevada_MO_Guy Missouri_Karate_Guy

    The Shaolin monks world touring show The Wheel of Life is an incredible spectacle. The feats performed by the highly skilled practitioners of Iron Jacket Kung Fu seem death-defying, and mystifying. Behind every stunt, however, lies some straight forward physical principles. Daily Planet uncovered them in a week-long series featuring the Shaolin monk performances and physicist David Willey's labratory demos. What did he discover? Watch and learn...

    Iron Stomach?
    How can a monk stand to rest his body on the tips of five spears pressing into his chest and abdomen? It's a matter of pressure and sharing the weight. David Willey demonstrates with a water ballon and five nail spikes.

    Two fingers to stand on
    Compression is the secret to this difficult body manoever, but strong, muscular fingers are definitely part of the equation. To explain the two-fingered handstand David Willey employs a shotgun, a pencil and a 1-inch piece of plywood. Have a look...

    The Sweet Spot
    According to physicist David Willey there's a sweet spot when breaking a wooden pole across your chest. But sweet spot or no, cracking thick wooden poles on the chest and back of the soldier monks is a sight to behold. Believe it or not, the force required to break the pole can be smaller, depending on where you hit it. This even holds true when an iron bar is broken over a monk's head. Amazing!

    Stacking up the Bed of Nails
    he Shaolin version of the traditional bed of nails sees two monks sandwiched between a double nail board all on top of a bed of swords. However, David Willey says the stunt is so safe, even Jay can try it — it's all about pressure.

    Stone Smashing
    Cracking and breaking a stone with a karate chop of your bare hand takes a lot of strength and force — but it's not impossible. After all, some rocks are weak in tension.

    Hot Stuff!
    Soldier monks demonstrate how they can play with fire — or a red-hot iron shovel from the fire — and not get burned. It's a matter of the Leidenfrost effect, so says physicist David Willey. It takes an incredible amount of heat to turn water into steam, more than most people would realize. That heat is used up in that process, and the skin is protected.

    Hard-headed Lessons
    In the last presentation of the Shaolin soldier monks, see a stunt usually reserved for the young students of the Shaolin temple. The teacher cracks a concrete slab with his head. Impossible? Just check out David Willey's ostrich egg model, and you'll be surprised.

    I found the science behind the above demonstrations interesting. If anyone else is curious have a look at:

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