Episode 85 :: Matt Lowry and Brian Gregory :: Physics and Martial Arts

| October 7, 2011 | 3 Comments

Matt Lowry

Matt Lowry

Matt Lowry the Skeptical Teacher, and Brian Gregory of Virtual Drinking Skeptically join us to talk about the myths and facts of the physics of martial arts.

I remember a television show called “That’s Incredible”, and indeed it was. One particular episode had a self-proclaimed martial arts master, James Hydrick who could — supposedly — move pencils and turn phone book pages with his extra-normal powers. This was debunked with a few flakes of packing material on another show, showing how this charlatan was simply using his breath to cause objects to move.

But there are people who mistakenly believe their own press, who think they really do have supernatural powers, or that they are enhancing their strength with invisible fields of cosmic energy. As you can see in one of the embedded videos on the web page for this episode, one fellow comes drastically close to severing his own arm because of this unfounded delusion. It is important for us to question with confidence, to ask for evidence, or else all claims are equally true, and equally, potentially, harmful.

Matt Lowry is a high school physics teacher (plus a part-time physics & astronomy college professor) with a strong interest in promoting science education & critical thinking among his students and the population in general. He is a self-described skeptic, someone who believes in Carl Sagan’s adage that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” His blog The Skeptical Teacher is to allow Matt to expound upon various topics related to skepticism, science, and education.

Brian Gregory

Brian Gregory is a software engineer that has recently discovered that most of his assumptions about life are wrong; including beliefs, expectations, roles, etc. This transformation, fueled by the Internet, Social Media, Podcasts, and traditional media, has sparked his passion for science, reason, and the naturalistic worldview. Drinking Skeptically is “an informal social event designed to promote fellowship and networking among skeptics, critical-thinkers, and like-minded individuals”. These “real life” groups meet around the country to provide an opportunity for skeptics and skeptic-friendly people to talk, share ideas (and yes, drink) in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

In case you didn’t notice the Explicit tag in iTunes on this episode, let me just give you an extra warning here: this is an explicit episode. We’re not talking porn, but there may be a light seasoning of expletives. Also be sure to check out the episode page for this episode on The Secular Buddhist website, as I’ve embedded a lot of the videos we talk about on that page. So, sit back, relax, and have a nice… skeptical drink of you choice!

:: Discuss this episode ::

 

Quotes

“Physics is for everyone.” — Matt Lowry

 

Videos

  • Matt Takes A Hit For The Team

Web Links

 

Music for This Episode

Hon Shirabe

Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The tracks used in this episode are:

  • Hon Shirabe

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA's official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. His background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture.

Comments (3)

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  1. RichardZ says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I have been a martial artist for over forty years, and over half of those years I have been skeptical to some subjects associated

    I request permission to post other links about martial art breaking and myths

  2. Dana Nourie Dana Nourie says:

    Richard, you can post links here to other marital breaking myths here in the comments. So glad you enjoyed the videos and talk on this page!

  3. RichardZ says:

    Curtis Rist
    http://discovermagazine.com/2000/may/featphysics/?searchterm=karate%20board%20breaking

    Cecil Adams
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2613/how-do-martial-artists-break-boards-and-bricks-using-only-their-bare-hands

    J D Walker
    http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~scdiroff/lds/NewtonianMechanics/KarateBlow/KarateBlow.html

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/309108/how_to_break_boards_like_a_martial.html

    Wei-Siong Tan
    http://em-ntserver.unl.edu/Mechanics-Pages/Tan/Tan.htm

    Dennis L. Wissler
    http://www.aibudo.com/break/specific/specific.html

    Michael S. Feld
    http://web.mit.edu/Physics/people/faculty/feld_michael.html

    C Brin
    http://cabscience.com/karate.pdf

    Ronald McNair
    http://www.newtonsapple.tv/TeacherGuide.php?id=1297

    Stephen Wilk
    http://www.arnis.org/downloads/physics1.pdf

    Jon Chananie
    http://www.howeverythingworks.org/journal/Article1.1.pdf

    http://www.all-karate.com/forums/index.php?s=6835057af749fb42f435499711501508&showtopic=1344&st=15

    Michael Kinney
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOM0J4dtcFI&mode=related&search=

    http://blogs.plos.org/retort/2010/09/02/busted-explanations-for-karate-breaking/

    http://www.faqs.org/qa/qa-13962.html

    http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92800

    Science Project Forum
    http://classroom.all-science-fair-projects.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1124

    Physics forum
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=182313

    http://www.wikihow.com/Break-Boards-with-Your-Bare-Hands

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_%28martial_arts%29

    http://www.icr.org/article/bone-engineering-marvel/

    Materials
    Wood
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_grain

    http://www.karatesupply.com/Pine-Breaking-Boards_p_13-1346.html

    http://www.karatebreaking.com/materials.html

    Cement and Concrete
    http://www.cement.org/basics/concretebasics_faqs.asp

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_%28martial_arts%29

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