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National Geographic


Their tales are legendary. Born in Asia's mystical temples, perfected on ancient battlefields and now made famous by Hollywood, superhuman feats of martial arts are often depicted in movies-but how do these martial myths measure up to fighting fact? For the first time, infrared cameras and computerized test dummies allow engineers to exactly calculate the incredible physics and physiology that produce martial arts' devastating force-at last, separating cinematic stunts from astonishing reality. The showdown begins as masters from diverse styles demonstrate the power of boxing and karate, the speed of Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do, the body-breaking strikes of Muay Thai, even the lethal agility of Ninjitsu. The fighters come prepared to test their secret weapons: throwing stars, samurai swords, nunchakus, bone-crushing kicks, knockout punches, and paralyzing nerve strikes. Yet all mysticism...

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