Precognition and Psychic Martial Arts: A Scientific Perspective

Recognizing the tremendous importance of timing, Japanese martial artists classify their responses into three types:

  • Go no sen refers to a late reaction, initiated after the attacker’s movement has begun. Late reactions are unreliable, relying on extraordinary motor speed for their successful application.
  • Sen no sen describes a response launched roughly in time with its attack. While obviously superior to go no sen, some practitioners consider this an intermediate level of skill.
  • The ultimate timing, sen-sen no sen, responds to an attack that has yet to be launched, one that has only just formed within the opponent’s mind. An expert in sen-sen no sen might use this timing to guide his assailant into a futile and vulnerable position, or launch a preemptive strike.

Martial legends aside, how does science explain this seemingly paranormal ability? Is it possible that high-level martial artists have used precognition and other psychic abilities to enhance their effectiveness? Or are they all just very quick? Continue reading Precognition and Psychic Martial Arts: A Scientific Perspective

Esoteric Fight Science

In this illustration, a Muay Thai knee knocks a soul right out of its body

In the new martial arts documentary Fight Science, computerized sensors are used to objectively measure the speed, power and balance of various martial artists. 

Among the findings:

  • The boxer punches with 1000 pounds of force;
  • The wushu practitioner moves faster than a snake;
  • Damage from a Muay Thai knee is comparable to a 35MPH car crash.

These data points illustrate that martial arts practice results in a stronger, faster body.  However in my opinion, they capture neither the most significant benefits of practice, nor the most interesting esoteric skills. Continue reading Esoteric Fight Science