Knowledge of Science can be useful to a Kung Fu man. Part 01
The series of articles will be based on the claim that knowledge of science can be useful to a kung fu man. This introductory article will focus mainly on the definition of various concepts that will be used extensively in the following articles of this series.
( The phrase “kung fu man” used in this series of articles will refer to a person engaged in the practice of any type of self defense, including both hand to hand and any type of weapon combat. )
Knowledge of the areas of science called physics, engineering, and trigonometry, will benefit a kung fu man the most.
Physics can be defined as “the science of matter and it’s motion”. The science of Physics is useful to a kung fu man, because a human body fits the definition of matter, and kung fu fighting involves the motion of the human body.
Trigonometry involves the study of triangles and their characteristics. The science of Trigonometry is useful to a kung fu man, because the construction of the human body is based on and strongly influenced by triangles.
Engineering can be loosely defined as being involved with designing and constructing things, and with understanding and explaining the design and construction of things. The science of Engineering is useful to a kung fu man, because the human body can be treated as a complex machine, that is designed and constructed in a specific way.
A term that will be used frequently in all of the following articles of this series, is the term “force”. The term “force” is defined scientifically in Physics as anything that can cause a mass to accelerate. What that means in normal language, is that one definition of a “force”, is something that can make an object move.
Forces have various characteristics relevant to this discussion. One of the relevant characteristics of a force that is useful to this discussion, is that a force is invisible. Since a force is invisible, it has to be represented in some way that human beings can use to communicate with each other. Science uses something called a vector to represent a force.
A vector is an arrow that points in whatever direction the force it represents is going. A vector has some numbers associated with it indicating it’s direction, and magnitude. Magnitude means size. Vectors can be used in either two dimensional or three dimensional space.
Here is a picture of a two dimensional vector with a magnitude and direction associated with it.
Here is a picture of a three dimensional vector. The P is the magnitude number of the vector, and the three numbers in parenthesis are the direction numbers.
Another characteristic of a “force”, is that it can cause a change in pressure in a three dimensional object. This property can be used to easily demonstrate what a force is.
If you take one of your fingers and press it into the palm of your hand, the palm of your hand will tell you that it is feeling pressure. That feeling of pressure is caused by the “force” being exerted by the finger.
Why was it mentioned earlier that a force is invisible? In order to make a very important point that can be very hard to accept.
According to the scientific view of the world, your finger is not exerting pressure on the palm. Even though your eyes see your finger pressing into your palm, and you feel your finger pressing into your palm, and your palm feels your finger pressing into it, according to scientists, your finger is not pressing on your palm.
According to the way scientists look at the world, only a force is pressing into your palm. Something invisible that is inside of your finger, a force, is pressing into your palm. The implication of that statement is that the finger could be completely removed from the example.
Here is a picture of a finger pressing into a palm.
Science says the finger is not really pressing into the palm, so the finger is removed in this picture.
According to science, an invisible physical force coming out of the hand is traveling through the finger to the palm. Science uses vectors to represent invisible forces, so a vector needs to be added to the picture to indicate the effect that the one hand is having on the palm of the other hand.
This picture has a vector arrow coming out of the hand and pointing at the palm. The vector arrow points in the direction of the force. The arbitrary made up numbers associated with the vector in the next picture, would be the direction and magnitude of the vector, which is representing the force exerted by the finger on the palm of the hand.
Why is this complicated sounding discussion of a force useful to a kung fu man? The reason should be obvious.
If the finger pressing into the palm can be described by the science of physics as the application of an invisible force by the finger to the palm, then the science of physics could describe a fist hitting a face as an application of an invisible force exerted by the fist on the face.
The next picture shows one man slapping the face of another man.
According to science though, the hand is only delivering a force to the face. It is not the hand hitting the face. The next picture shows the arm removed and a vector with some arbitrary numbers assigned to it, to represent the force delivered by the slapping hand.
According to the way that scientists view the world, the hands and feet of a kung fu man do not hit and hurt their opponent. According to the way scientists view the world, the hand and the foot only deliver a force to the opponent, and it is the force that does the actual damage.
The hand and foot can be visualized as a car or a bus that drives the invisible force over to the target, drops the invisible force off at it’s destination, then drives away. It is the invisible force only that then causes whatever changes occur in the body of the opponent.
Now that this article has presented some of the necessary foundation for the discussion with a few simple definitions and explanations, examples of how science can be useful to a kung fu man in a more practical way, as opposed to a theoretical way, can be presented in the remaining articles of this series.