Ninja Woman

Ninja Woman

Extreme martial artist Mindy Kelly pits her contortionist dexterity against one of modern technology's best laser-beam security systems. (National Geographic)

National Geographic’s “Fight Science” TV series “pits cutting-edge technology against the world’s most complex weapon – the human body.”

Self-contained segments of the program are available online. The program’s team of kinesthesiologists study fight-related physics in lab conditions, enabling viewers to witness seemingly superhuman feats of strength, speed and flexibility in a pseudo-scientific environment.

Each segment has a built-in suspense factor – e.g. will the participants accomplish a goal within a specified timeframe, or be able to endure so many G-forces of impact.

One such episode spotlights parkour or freerunning movements, which are usually practiced in urban spaces, incorporating martial arts moves with acrobatic leaps and tumbles. Experts, such as Danny Ilabaca and Ryan Doyle, who are featured in one video, are able to jump and fall great distances between rigid structures such as walls, roofs and staircases and not be harmed. They are shown bouncing harmlessly around a warehouse-like set, faring better than test-crash dummies dropped from the same height. To measure the speed and impact of a flying leap (and complete flip) from a 10-foot platform to a 2-inch pad, the scientists attach sensors to one athlete, who swan dives to the ground, then tucks and rolls. Computer models indicate practically no impact when he lands, which astounds the scientists.

In another episode, teen black-belt Mindy Kelly escapes from a space protected by an intricate series of security-alarm laser beams, which she must leap, bend, contort and squeeze herself over, under, around, and through – in less than a minute. Sixteen sensors are attached to her body to monitor her limbs and torso as she maneuvers the high-tech obstacle course. The measurements and data are transmitted in real time to a computer that displays a virtual image of Mindy’s skeleton in motion. The split-screen depictions, of her and her skeletal system, graphically convey how extraordinarily dextrous she is.

Other “Fight Science” episodes include such themes as Fight Like an Animal, Human Weapon , Mixed Martial Arts, Special Ops , Stealth Fighters , Super Cops and Ultimate Soldiers.

CHANNEL: National Geographic

Length: 3:43


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