Tuesday, November 22, 2016


By Phillip Starr

MARTIAL MECHANICS was my second book. I'd always wanted to write a book like this; a book that would help martial arts enthusiasts MAXIMIZE THEIR STRIKING POWER; a book to explain the principles of physics and kinesiology as they apply to martial arts technique and movement. After all, you DON'T NEED A LOT OF STRENGTH TO GENERATE TERRIBLY DESTRUCTIVE FORCE in karate/kung-fu/taekwondo techniques...but you DO NEED to be able to apply the proper principles of physics and kinesiology! Otherwise, you're just wasting your time.

It was great fun to write! I decided that I'd write in the same words that I'd actually use to teach a class (well, except for some of the expletives) because I'm tired of the usual sterile approach that reads like a math textbook. That's about as interesting as watching paint dry on a storm fence.

My editor didn't appreciate some of the humor - like the line about squeezing the anal sphincter when you execute certain movements - where I told the reader to imagine training in a prison shower... that line was unceremoniously removed. :-) I had to argue with copy editors about leaving in a lot of the humor. They said no one would know what a “klick” is...I told them not to worry. Most people would understand. If they didn't, they could bloody well ask a friend.

I'd taught these principles so many times that the words came easily. The photo sessions were tough, though. I learned a lot about what editors like in terms of photos for a book and we had to do many re-shoots. It was really a LOT of work!

When the book came out, we had a few – very few - people (mostly high school teachers) whine that the physics were faulted. I contacted a couple and asked exactly what they meant. One argued that the words “power” and “force” as I'd used them, were incorrect in terms of classical physics. I reminded him that I was aware of that but I was writing for people who'd probably never studied classical physics...not for a class of science students! Just to sure, I checked with one of my students in Ireland who is a professor of quantum physics. She assured me that the physics shown in the book were correct. That settled the matter. Another critic (in the UK) didn't like my use of “American humor.” I figured he needed a laughter enema.

On the whole, the book was very well received and many people wrote to me about how the book had actually changed the way that they practiced their martial arts. I was very happy to hear that my efforts had helped them. I'd perused a couple of other books on the subject (I won't mention their names here); one was fair but incomplete and the other was seriously flawed. I wanted mine to be as accurate as possible. To describe some of the body actions was trickier than I'd anticipated.

All in all, the book has done very well. My thanks to everyone who purchased a copy. I hope it's been of help to you in understanding how to improve your technique!

*Available at and fine bookstores. Get your copy now! I also teach seminars worldwide. If you'd be interested in hosting an event, contact me at: