The Physics Behind Bruce Lee’s One-Inch Punch! (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

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Thanks to Birth of the Dragon for sponsoring todays episode of Because Science. Check out the trailer here

One of the most famous martial arts moves is Bruce Lee’s One Inch Punch, but how is it even possible? Kyle gets physical on this week’s Because Science!

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Nerdist says:

The "Kyle is wrong!" FAQ

1. The episode is sponsored by Birth of the Dragon, and is not a commentary or evaluation. I'm only concerned about the physics here.

2. I used footage of Bruce Lee's actual demonstrations when making the video, but did not feature those in the episode because of the sponsorship. Just a weird business thing.

3. When talking about reputation, I'm not saying people are consciously "selling it." That's exactly my point. When you believe something is going to happen, that can be sold subconsciously. That's why these students think their master is magic:


Joku Sekou says:

Do 500 days of summer

FASD Gamer says:

Kyle be looking like Joe dirt???

Minirock says:

Course it's not magic.
We learn to perform it. Impact is a matter of acceleration and mass.
So the space doesn't matter, it's the acceleration you put into the punch. And using your heels, hips, shoulders, elbow and wrists appropriately you can maximise the impact.
And the "secret" to be able to do it, you must relax. If you squeeze your fist, you'll bend antagonist muscles which will impede your quickness. Eventually, at the impact your fist will be squeezed whatsoever.
Oh and you have to hit with some sort of pull and punch attitude, which means you pull one shoulder back while you hit with the other arm.

And actually, the one-inch punch isn't performed the way it is in the movies, that's just for show and movement readability for the folks. We don't point out with one finger on the chest before hitting. We just strech the hand flat and as soon as we have contact with the partner's chest, we roll our hand over forwards to a fist and hit. That's why it's called the one-inch punch: because the distance covered should actually be the length of the middle finger's distal phalanx (which is an average one inch; much closer to the one-inch punch than the one seen in the movies eh?).

As for most things in this world, there are three secrets to success:
– practice
– practice
– practice

Just to make it clear: in real life, a one-inch punch won't send anyone flying (except you're a 30-year-old guy facing a 10-year-old child). But it will hurt, shock for a second and cause the opponent to step back because of loss of balance.
Still quite effective if you ask me.
As a drill at least, because in a real-life fight it'll be difficult to do a propper one-inch punch. But it trains you to release the largest amount of force within the shortest amount of time possible, which makes you hit harder and quicker in time.
What's more, when someone hits you with this kind of accuracy and velocity, you will hardly block it. And even if you manage to get contact with his arm, the fis will still hit you. With less impact, that is, but nevertheless this will give him a psychological advantage over the fight.

Douglas Fitzgerald says:

So the punches in wing chun are using the full body behind their hits. Not just your arms extended out like he does at the end

Jeremiah McClelland says:

He forgot about impact zones. Initial impact happens specifically on the first two knuckles and spreads from there. Also Bruce Lee had insanely large Lattisimus Dorci muscles which lent to his explosive power. Furthermore a common practice in martial arts is to punch through the opponent which Lee was extremely effective at. These aspects lend heavily to the iconic punch! Super great video though!

Ivan Ovish says:

Rob Lucci anyone?? No? Ok.

Logiwonk says:

In college I got one inch punched by a Wing Chung teacher before I knew what it was, it was pretty amazing. I didn't fly that far back though as in the movie. Of course three people were there to catch me.

nai saechao says:

My question is for that long haired white boy that's talking about famous Legend martial artist that ever lived my question is what just getting pay for this shit fucking a hippy you are a fucking quack quack get smacked in the fucking back and ass gay dude I ain't trying to be rude try to get paid huh from the Famous Amos

Caelan Jolley says:

+Nerdist, Kyle still tried to use only his arm muscles for the punch that's why it wasn't working.

styleyk says:

The footage he is using to help him explain the one inch punch, is crap (the film was nonsense, the Lee family hated it) and misleading. He should have used the real footage of Bruce Lee at the long beach tournament instead, also the punch has its roots in Wing Chung.

PACHIS99 says:

That is three inches. Shou…should we tell someone? ????????? it had me laughing so much!!!

Joe Farmer says:

Too bad that Lee didn't actually fight anyone at the Long Beach International Karate Championships as claimed by the movie.Β  In fact, Lee had one of his credulous, fawning, and deferential students make very sad pre-scripted "attacks" against him, which he then countered with his kung fuwie.Β  Only the most gullible of shit-stained, retarded kung fuwie and Lee-hole fandicks would be impressed by this "demo".Β  Also, you should first actually research the claims Lee-hole made regarding the dumb inch punch fraud before coming up with an analysis based on what you think the dumb inch punch was.Β  Actually, any person of low-average intellect can easily discernΒ that Lee-hole was either pushing people or using confederates in on the gag.Β  If your analysis is accurate, you should simply test it.Β  You will find that results depend upon the technique; pushing versus stopping at the target.Β  In other words, your analysis can be ignored because it starts with missing and/or faulty premises and secondly, you've failed to actually demonstrate your theory in any sort of credible experiment.

MC Spectrum says:

wish u used the actual demonstration bruce lee did

Robeon Mew says:

You're never gunna thank me for watching specifically ?

Jason Q says:

I am ashamed of myself for laughing at you. ?

Salim Gazzeh says:

I think that it’s also because it’s usually performed on the solar plexus and that hurts like hell if you do it on the right spot

B4You Edited Music & Videos says:

Bruce was and is amazing still!!

phatbudda69 says:

Is chi real? I seen some cool stuff, but I wondered if science can explain some of those incredible feats.

Gergo049 says:

I'm not convinced the "1 inch punch" is not just a push in reality.

Dudensky says:

Y-yeaaaah… you do realize it takes weeks (if not months, or even years) of training to learn it? Lee punched hard, because his joints were insanely strong.

MysterySteve: The Pathetic Gamer says:

6:29 words I have never heard spoken about me

Priyo Das says:

you deserved a dislike from me cuz Bruce Lee doesn't follows physics , he feels it and one can never be able to do those things without feeling and just by understanding physics !!!

XxShadow1065 says:

I can do one inch punch lol can knock my friend to the ground

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