Fight Science Documentary Series Overview


Introduction

Fight Science is a television programme shown on the National Geographic Channel in which scientists and martial arts masters work together to analyse the world’s fighting techniques, to compare the disciplines and to find out which one has the strongest hits, kicks and deadliest weapons.

Narrator by Robert Leigh, the series featured fighters including Melchor Menor, Tito Ortiz, Bas Rutten, Randy Couture, Alex Huynh, Amir Perets, Mindy Kelly, Bren Foster, Amir Solsky, Glen Levy and Dan Inosanto.

Outline

Infrared cameras, sensors and computerised test dummies allow engineers to exactly calculate the incredible physics and physiology that produce martial arts’ devastating force-at last, separating myth from reality.

The show also tries to prove through science if certain legends in fighting are possible, such as whether a one-punch knockout is possible or if ninja are as nimble and deadly as stories tell. There is also a feature on human strength, wherein a man hits his head on bricks in order to shatter them. The show had several spin-offs including Sport Science.

Legend Tests

  • The agility of a martial artist practicing ninjutsu (Glen Levy) was confirmed by revealing that one’s center of gravity was constantly shifted to balance properly within the limit of the foot. It can be done but takes much practice and possibly years of training.
  • The one-punch knockout and shattering bricks with one’s head were confirmed, but only as a perfect shot, and therefore unlikely to be seen in a real-life fight.
  • The so-called “death punch” performed by ninjutsu practitioner Glen Levy was mostly confirmed. Delivering a precise type of hammer-fist blow to the chest deflected the ribcage 2 inches into the chest cavity, causing damage measuring 0.8 in Viscous Criterion (a measurement of soft-tissue damage).
  • The Iron Shirt defensive body technique was demonstrated by a Shaolin warrior monk, who was hit with a wooden staff across the back while he was pushing down on a blunt spear by the base of his throat at over 2100 pounds of force that would have killed an ordinary man, and yet was unscathed and unbruised.

Weapon Tests

All weapons were rated on range, control and impact.

  • Eskrima sticks and the bō were revealed to show extension of range and good control, but would break if sufficient impact was delivered.
  • The nunchaku and the three section staff showed good extension, but it was revealed to be out of control for a fraction of a second after striking an opponent and some of the impact was absorbed due to its flexibility.
  • Shuriken and Bows were really only effective at long-range rather than close-up because once the shuriken was thrown or the arrow released, it was completely out of the user’s hands.
  • Swords originally came in two variants: stabbing (like a rapier) or slashing (like a scimitar), but the katana was proven to be highly effective at both.

Fight Science Series

Notes:

  • National Geographic Abu Dahbi suggests there are five episodes in one series, but a number of sources suggest there are eight or nine episodes possibly over two series.
  • Sources also vary on the air dates and order of the episodes.

Production & Filming Details

  • Narrator(s):
    • Robert Leigh.
  • Director(s):
    • Rob Dorfmann … (4 episodes, 2010).
    • John Brenkus … (2 episodes, 2007-2008).
    • Michael Stern … (2 episodes, 2007-2008).
  • Producer(s):
    • Tucia Lyman … supervising producer (8 episodes, 2006-2010).
    • Annie Tang … producer (8 episodes, 2006-2010).
    • Robert Vanover … producer (8 episodes, 2006-2010).
    • John Brenkus … executive producer (7 episodes, 2007-2010).
    • Rob Dorfmann … co-executive producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Adrienne Florence … segment producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Jeremy Gardiner … line producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Brian Lemieux … associate producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Helen Hood Scheer … archival producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Michael Stern … executive producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Chris Valentini … executive producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Dwight Yao … associate producer (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Robert M. Curran … consulting producer (3 episodes, 2006-2008).
    • Keir Johnson … associate producer (3 episodes, 2006-2008).
    • Alan Martin … producer / series producer (2 episodes, 2007-2008).
    • Chris Lofft … producer (1 episode, 2007).
    • Robert G. Case … producer (1 episode, 2008).
    • Murray Oden … producer (1 episode, 2010).
    • Colleen Miller … line producer (unknown episodes).
    • Josh Siegel … line producer (unknown episodes).
  • Writer(s):
    • Michael Stern … (creator) (3 episodes, 2007-2010).
    • Tucia Lyman … (writer) (3 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Douglas Brooks West … (3 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Murray Oden … (2 episodes, 2010).
    • Alan Martin … (written by) (1 episode, 2007).
    • Robert G. Case … (written by) (1 episode, 2008).
    • Gary Parker … (story) (1 episode, 2008).
    • John Brenkus … (unknown episodes).
  • Music:
    • Scott Schreer … (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Tilman Sillescu … (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Chris Woods … (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Terique Greenfield … (4 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Aram Mandossian … (4 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Will Musser … (4 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Yotam Rosenbaum … (4 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Lorne Balfe … (unknown episodes).
  • Cinematography:
    • Tim Gordon … (5 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Scott Carrithers … (2 episodes, 2007-2008).
    • Lutz Goepfert … (2 episodes, 2007-2008).
  • Editor(s):
    • Christopher de Barros … (3 episodes, 2008-2010).
    • Jesse Wright … (3 episodes, 2010).
    • Brent Long … (2 episodes, 2007-2008).
    • Jason Mergott … (1 episode, 2006).
    • Seth Moherman … (1 episode, 2007).
    • Andy Wardlaw … (1 episode, 2008).
    • Greg Myers … (1 episode, 2010).
    • Gary Reid … (1 episode, 2010).
  • Production:
    • BASE Productions.
  • Distributor(s):
    • National Geographic Channel (2006) (USA) (TV).
    • Parthenon Entertainment (2007) (USA) (TV).
  • Released Date: 2006.
  • Running time: 60 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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