Monday, November 25, 2013

Everyday Physics

November 24, 2013

Every time we line up for Tang Soo Do, there’s this little kid who dashes around as if he’s never done it before (he’s been there longer than I have) and always ends up homing in on the spot I’m standing in. And he looks at me with his cute little face and his big brown eyes like he’s expecting me to move...and I ignore him, and he goes and finds another spot.

It occurred to me last time what excellent physics lessons he’s learning: 1. Two pieces of matter can’t occupy the same spot, (I’m already here) and 2: A body at rest tends to remain at rest (and I ain’t movin’.).

Then I started thinking about all the physics lessons in the rest of the class. They tell us in the self-defense section about using pressure, fulcrums and centrifugal force, of course. But look at a flying side kick: Once your feet have left the ground, what keeps you going in the forward direction? What brings you back down? When you kick the bag the instructor is holding, does she rock back? Why? If not, why not? What function does the bag serve? Etc. You’ve got Laws of Thermodynamics jostling terms like vector, momentum, blah, blah, blah...

If physics teachers ever asked their students to write essays on everyday applications of physics (Do they ever?), a martial arts student would be sitting on a gold mine!

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