Nat Geo’s Fight Science: Mixed Martial Arts and Special Ops a no miss

Building on the success and popularity of the original, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) premieres two new episodes of Fight Science on Sunday, January 27, 2008, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

The ancient warriors handed down secrets through the ages, of every conceivable fight style known to man today.  National Geographic unlocks the real impact and inner workings of man’s art of physical combat in the new series, “Fight Science.”

MMA, boxing and wrestling fans will love this revelation of the mechanics of the punch, kick and throw.

One group consists of some of the most highly trained athletes on the planet, capable of delivering lethal blows with lightning speed as champions from one of the world’s most popular sports.

The other group includes elite, superbly conditioned soldiers who must deliver peak performance with only a moment’s notice, under the most adverse, hostile conditions.

Each stretches the limits of the human body in the pursuit of extreme physical challenges. What can science show us about the true extent of their abilities and their comparative strengths, advantages and limitations?

Building on the success and popularity of the original, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) premieres two new episodes of Fight Science on Sunday, January 27, 2008, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

First, Fight Science: Mixed Martial Arts reveals the astonishing data behind the athletic capabilities of legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, including controversial Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Randy Couture.

Then, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, Fight Science: Special Ops brings together a team of the world’s best special operatives to reveal the science behind how these supersoldiers redefine the upper limits of human performance and thrive in high-threat environments.

Fight Science brings together leading scientists, motion-capture specialists and CGI animators to test these fighters in a state-of-the-art studio that is part gym, part high-tech lab and part studio.

Deploying dozens of infrared motion-capture cameras, high-definition cameras and ultra-high-speed cameras, the studio allows scientists — including Randy Kelly, an automotive crash testing and human-injury expert, Dr. Cindy Bir, an impact injury expert, and David Sandler, a sport physiologist — to measure and map the speed, force, range and impact of muscles and bones in the fighters’ bodies.

The motion-capture technique, requiring reflective markers over the fighters’ entire bodies, allows for sophisticated real-time three-dimensional models (seen in films like “Lord of the Rings”). These results are combined with other data to create separate sophisticated animations of the fighters’ bones, muscles and nerves.

Fight Science juxtaposes the fighters’ real-life movements with their animated selves for extraordinary insight into exactly how the body generates each move in real time.

Fight Science: Mixed Martial Arts
Sunday, January 27, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

At the pinnacle of mixed martial arts is the UFC, which has sought to legitimize MMA in a league that has become a pop culture phenomenon. The sport requires a display of strategy, knowledge of anatomy and superb conditioning. MMA fighters master a broad range of martial arts disciplines so that they can strategically deploy elements from each style. At any moment, fighters can draw upon a wide range of tactics, such as lightning-fast punches used in boxing, knee strikes used by a karate master, elbow blows displayed in kung fu or grappling practices perfected by Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists.

“I think MMA athletes are the best athletes on the planet,” says Couture. “If you consider their conditioning, the discipline and all the things that go into making one of these athletes, there are not a lot of people that can do what we do.”





Fight Science: Mixed Martial Arts analyzes the unique fighting styles and capabilities of legendary fighters like Couture, former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and two-time world submission grappling champion Dean Lister. The results show the comparative strengths, advantages and limitations of each technique these fighters may use during combat. Among the results, scientists determine that Rutten’s kick generates a force equivalent to a 35-mph car crash, and Couture’s endurance is nearly 10 times better than that of the average person and his blows generate double the force of a heavyweight boxer’s best punch.





“I’ve been doing crash testing for the last 20 years, and I’ve never seen these kinds of numbers,” says Kelly. “I would never have believed it if I hadn’t been here to see it.”

Fight Science: Special Ops
Sunday, January 27, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Special operations are elite military units trained for unconventional warfare, often to execute dangerous, covert missions behind enemy lines. The soldiers must excel beyond normal human capabilities, displaying superior physiology and extraordinary mental ability. This is evident in the strength and stamina of U.S. Navy SEALs, the speed and focus of U.S. Green Berets and the lightning reflexes of Israeli Commandos. Unlike athletes, who prepare for a scheduled competition under controlled conditions, these elite soldiers must excel in ruthless situations that can become deadly without warning. Now, in Fight Science: Special Ops, these warrior athletes are put to the test by science and cutting-edge technologies to exhibit their maximum capabilities under the most adverse circumstances. Some of their superhuman abilities studied include how a former Navy SEAL can withstand hypothermia while submerged in 50 degree water without compromising his ability to complete an obstacle course; and how a member of Israel’s most elite Commando unit can ace agility and firearm tests while withstanding a 104 degree fever and losing 3 percent of his body weight.

Fight Science is produced by Base Productions, Inc., for the National Geographic Channel. For Base Productions, Inc., executive producers are Mickey Stern and John Brenkus. For the National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Chris Valentini and senior vice president of production and development is Juliet Blake.    

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