Karate black belt and physicist Emily Hall (standing) gives Queen's High School pupil Suzanne Kydd (17) a lesson in pressure, force and momentum. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
There was no ''wax on or wax off'' during a karate
demonstration at Queen's High School yesterday - just a
graphic lesson in physics.
About 20 pupils were taught stances, foot movements, sweeps
and other basic striking and fighting techniques by
University of Otago Advanced School Sciences Academy teaching
co-ordinator and karate black belt Emily Hall.
Little did they know, they were also being taught the
concepts of equilibrium, centre of mass, gravity, force,
momentum, torque and pressure.
Ms Hall said many pupils did not see physics as an
interesting subject, but teaching them karate was a practical
and interactive way of helping them to learn the concepts of
physics without even thinking about it.
''People who do martial arts have an instinctual knowledge of
physics - they understand classical mechanics concepts.''
During yesterday's demonstration, she explained how pressure,
forces and momentum worked together when throwing opponents
to the ground, and how force, momentum and torque were
developed by using basic striking and fighting techniques.
She will present similar demonstrations at this year's New
Zealand International Science Festival (July 5-13), during
three workshops at the Dunedin Public Library.
The first, Crouching Tiger, Standing Crane (July 7), will
show why balance is key to a career as a ninja.
The second, Angry Bull, Crazy Monkey (July 9), will show how
a small person can use force, momentum and torque to win
against a bigger opponent.
And the third, Throwdown Hoedown (July 10), will show how
pressure, forces and momentum work together when throwing
opponents to the ground, and how physics can be used to your
advantage if you are plummeting towards the ground.
All three workshops will be held at 11am in the Dunedin
Ms Hall and Queen's High School pupils will be in the Wall
Street mall at 12.30pm on July 5 to show why the laws of
physics are so much easier to learn through karate.
Anyone 8 years old and over is encouraged to participate.
You could just take home the key to a career as a ninja, she
Tickets for all Science Festival events go on sale on Monday
on the festival website and Ticket Direct.