Monday, December 16, 2019

John Eric Goff's "The Physics of Krav Maga"

John Eric Goff is a professor of physics and the chair of the physics department at the University of Lynchburg. The author of Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports, he holds a black belt in karate and a purple belt in Krav Maga.

Goff applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Physics of Krav Maga, and reported the following:
When I was invited to write for the Page 99 Test in 2010 after my first book came out (Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), I had to confess to only then learning of Ford Madox Ford’s test. My second book, The Physics of Krav Maga (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019) was released in November 2019. I could not wait for my book to arrive so that I could see what was on page 99!

Krav Maga is an Israeli martial arts system. Krav Maga is grittier than most other martial-arts systems because it emphasizes street fighting, hostage situations, and other niceties. My book may be the first scientific look at Krav Maga. To ensure that I could share the joy of physics with as many people as possible, my book is free of equations. It emphasizes conceptual physics, has many pictures, and even has a link to videos of many of the techniques that I discussed.

We all have at least a modicum of intuitive physics within us. Most may lack all the scientific jargon, but we intuitively know that gravity helps us while we walk because each time we extend a leg to take a step, the leg falls to the ground. I build on such simple ideas to use physics to help understand why Krav Maga is so effective.

Readers could likely turn to any page in my book, read a paragraph, and not feel as if they were missing something from earlier in the book. Page 99 is like that and, in fact, epitomizes my book. The figure on that page shows that my talented instructor, Mr. Clifton Abercrombie of Warrior Success Academy in Forest, Virginia, has the middle-aged, ever-so-slightly pear-shaped book author in a wrist lock. A movie icon in the upper left of the photo directs readers to where they may see a short video of the technique.

I discuss the page 99 photo using the concept of moment of inertia. There is a great, physics-based reason why the technique is so effective! One more nugget appears in the photo on page 99. An image of a hex key has been superimposed on the photo. Readers who have used a hex key should immediately understand why the technique works well. I hope readers will have “Ah ha!” moments on page 99 – and throughout the rest of my book.
Learn more about the book and author at John Eric Goff's website.

The Page 99 Test: Gold Medal Physics.

--Marshal Zeringue