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Completed Project

A Kinematic Approach: Analyzing the Motion Behind Board Breaking in the Martial Arts

Jose Herrera Jr., Vassar College ’18, Ramy Abbady, Vassar College ’16, Elias Kim, Vassar College ’16, Brian Deer, Vassar College’15, Caitlin Bell, Vassar College ’15 and Profs. Jenny Magnes and Nirmaljit K. Rathee, Education Department, Delaware State University, Dover, DE

In this physics research project, we analyze the various motions and forces behind board breaking in a Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan studio. Using Logger Pro video analysis software and using a digital camera set at high speed, we gathered data in four different styles of board breaking: the hammer fist punch (one board), the hammer fist punch (two boards), the side kick, and the jumping side kick. We recorded 11-12 people in these categories, each of them skilled and of a high-ranking belt. After they were done with the process, they were then weighed and examined for their body fat percentage (their weight was taken into account when examining the speed/force of their kick/punch). After recording several of these trials and gathering sufficient data, we found the velocity and acceleration using the high-speed videos. Through this kinematic approach, we are able to better examine the physics behind board breaking and we are able to further educate people on the subject of this matter.