Many martial art students are also academic students, in either lower, middle, or high school, or college. As such, they sometimes must submit papers, science fair projects, theses, etc. on some subject related to the subject of class in which they are enrolled. As martial artists, many want to write papers related to the martial arts. Also, many instructors require students to write papers related the martial arts as one of their belt testing requirements. This article offers some ideas for these papers or projects.
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Measuring the force of punches or kicks
Measuring the force of punches and kicks mechanically will be difficult since the forces are so great. Punches are around 700 psi and kicks are over 1000 psi. This means the measuring devices must be strong and durable. To achieve this, parts will have to be made from metal, which will require metal working skills.
A mechanical measuring device would have to use springs, either in compression or expansion. Designing a mechanical way to indicate the relative force would not be too difficult, but making a device that would be able to withstand repeated pounding could get complicated.
There are electro-mechanical pressures sensors that could be used to measure force by placing the sensor behind a padded board and using a meter to read the current generated or there are ways to input the senor output into a laptop.
Measuring the reaction time
Another idea is to measure the hand reaction speed of various students by age, sex, rank, size, etc. The measuring device could be mechanical with input into a laptop, or the data could be manually entered into a computer. You would need a switch to be held down by the subject, a random light or sound that would signal the subject to react, another switch that the subject must activate, and a timer to measure the reaction time. Part of the project could be writing a computer program that analyses the data.
The problem with reaction tests on martial artists is that they strike with great force, especially when trying to move quickly, so they will hit the reaction switch very hard. This means the switch will have to be rugged. Using key pushes on a laptop will not work because the laptop will get damaged.