I’d recommend reading Fight Like a Physicist by Jason Thalken to any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner or anyone interested in self-defense. It’s a relatively short book that takes a first principles approach to fighting. Thalken explains key physics concepts that are highly relevant to ground fighting and striking and explores how to exploit these principles to maximize impact.
Here are some of the key concepts that he covers:
- Center of mass and takedowns
- Kinetic energy and momentum — two types of punches
- Torque and leverage
- Knockouts and CTE — how it works and why it happens
- Helmets and other protective equipment — why current protective equipment is outdated
- Guns and knives — disarming and run-fu
- Qi and pseudoscience — ton of pseudoscience BS
Here are my key takeaways:
- rigidity is what enables you to put more mass behind your punch, tighten your arm at the moment is becomes extended and continue motion through shoulders and hips (exploiting additive nature of velocity); focus on a continuous rigid path between your fist and center of mass; yelling or exhaling while striking expels air from the diaphragm and provides a rigid path as well
- kinetic energy causes local tissue damage in immediate area of impact; heavy momentum strikes are heavy or pushing while high energy strikes are fast or snapping
- your hand roughly weights 1 pound, your head roughly 10 pounds, MMA glove weighs about 4 ounces, boxing glove weights 10–16 ounces
- CTE starts with sudden rotational acceleration and is caused by diffuse axonal injury eventually leading to a complete axon disconnect; if you want a KO then a left hook to the chin is better than a straight punch to the forehead
- Boxing gloves and MMA gloves might reduce localized tissue damage but it doesn’t prevent and actually encourages more brain damage which is true silent killer. The protective equipment is just for show and appearance right now.
- ask why to make sure you understand a technique; the more you understand why behind a rule, the better you will understand when it’s okay to break
Encourage anyone interested in self defense to check out this book. Jason Thalken does a great job explaining the essential physics concepts that are relevant to fighting.