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Old 06-16-2003, 01:34 PM   #14
Dojo: formerly Windward Aikido, formerly at Keewenaw Schools of Aikido (ASU)
Location: Formerly Hawaii Pacific University, formerly at Michigan Technological University
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 71
Exclamation relativism in question

This question is a bit vague to vote on, but concider the following: I assert that any able bodied person can dodge bullets when it is physically possible and can't when it is physically impossible. What do I mean by that?

WWII rifles had a muzzle velocity around 2800fps.

In my experience, rifles (Korean War Era) can hit a man sized target (notice I said target that is man sized) at not much more that about 600ft. I'm sure that some would like to distract from this by saying that there are better shots than me out there, but I'm good with open sights and I'm a physicist trying to make a ball-park calculation here.

Let's say for the sake of this calculation that a reasonable pattern for hits are the size of a "pot-pie" pan at 300ft, an apple pie (what is more American than apple pie) pan at 600ft and a pizza pie pan at 900ft. If you are a better shot than this, I'm not that impressed, if you are much better than this, I don't think that your handler will like you bragging about it on this forum.

Anyway, at 600ft, one has a little over two tenths of a second to see the flash and move from behind the pie plate. Now a knee-jerk reaction takes about 0.05s, and I challange anyone to even start and stop a stopwatch in under 0.06s. I found a poll that showed that 40% of those who tried to catch a ruler could do so in less than 0.2s on average. Now all of these are small movements, but so it is letting a sword pass unhindered.

My conclusion, it is on the edge of what is humanly possible with several provisons:

a) with about 0.1s to get out of the way per 100yd or ~100m shot from, anyone can doge a bullet at about 500m, but they would be stupid to try. Practice of this is hard on the body when failing and at that range the bullet would most likely miss anyway and how can one call that "dodging".

b) it is best to start dodging before someone shoots at shorter range, and only very high speed photography and high statistics could eliminate that, which leads back to a). If one is allowed to start moving before the shot, than anyone who avoids areas where people shoot dodges bullets everyday by never being downrange (keep practicing this by my advice).

c) I have an idea for testing this without anyone getting hurt (no guns involved), until then, if the bullet is on its way, hope the paramedics will be soon on their way also.

Someone brought up what I feel is a better philosophical debate and that is whether or not O-sensei really believed that he could dodge bullets or whether people have just misinterpreted what he said and meant. I'm quite sure O-sensei didn't break the laws of physics (you tell'em Scottie), but was it important to his prcatice of Aikido that he thought he could or knew he could not?

"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
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