Conservation of Energy and Mechanical Advantage

by Albert Chung on 2020/10/24

Conservation of Energy

Master Chen used this term in one of his lectures.  Here is my understanding:

In an ideal closed 2 energy system, Conservation of Energy means the total energy is the same while the magnitude of kinetic energy and potential energy can vary.

Mathematically,  total energy = kinetic energy + potential energy.

The ideal closed system in this case consists of 2 opponents.  At the moment just before making an attacking move, attacker is at 100% potential energy state.  Then during attacking move, attacker is converting potential energy to kinetic energy.


When the strike has no deviation and loose parts, the efficiency of energy conversion is approaching 100% and the effect of the impact approaching maximum.

Mechanical Advantage

Another related concept is to increase efficiency  of impact by reducing the strike contact area to a point.  This is analogous to a fluid pump system:


Mathematically, pressure = force / unit area, e.g. lbs/sq. in..

Example: if the plunger’s frontal surface area was 10 square inches and 10 pounds of force was applied, the fluid in the pump will experience 1 lb/sq. in. of pressure (pressure = 10 lbs/10 sq. in.).

If the exit area was 1 sq. in. then the exit pressure will now be 10 lbs/sq. in..  The exit pressure is increased by 10 fold, thus the mechanical advantage.  Theoretically, if the fluid pressure in pump were to stay constant, the exit pressure can be increased by reducing exit area.

This is the reason why Master Chen always instruct students to minimize the frontal contact area during strike move.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Upshaw October 25, 2020 at 5:21 am

Thanks for the explanation.


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