Hand of rubbery steel.

by Ryan Gregory, February 14th, 2012

Highly trained martial artists are capable of some pretty amazing things, but they do not possess superpowers. It comes down to skills gained through hard work and an extremely effective application of physics, anatomy, and biomechanics. Both physical and mental conditioning and discipline play a big part as well. But, ultimately, we’re dealing with sweat and blood and muscle and bone.

I think the following clips demonstrate this pretty well. I sure wouldn’t want to be hit with them, but they are still just hands.

As a scientist, I find it much more interesting to consider the physical explanations for the amazing abilities of trained martial artists, especially since many of the techniques were developed without detailed knowledge of physics or biology but rather by observing their effects and refining their application. That, to me, is much cooler than imagining some mystical factor that most people cannot hope to understand.

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