April 25, 2016

Sensors in body armor will enable safe full contact weapons-based martial art competition

A new full contact combat training and competition body armor is made with Kevlar reinforced with carbon-fibre composites. On top of that are various polymers and other materials, which Chiron Global is keeping secret. The new armored body suit weighs 19 kilograms. It is neither too heavy nor cumbersome to prevent even aerial cartwheels, but it is tough enough to render painless a powerful sword strike to the head or the chest.

Scoring is done by 52 sensors, which 10,000 times a second measure various forces, including blows, accelerations and vibrations, generated by the impact of hands, feet and weapons. The data are wirelessly transmitted to a computer to calculate the fractures, tissue damage and other injuries which are likely to have been sustained had the fighters been unprotected. Because there is little published information on wounds inflicted by blows from certain edged weapons on different body parts, Chiron’s researchers plan to carry out their own experiments, attacking pig cadavers with weapons such as flails, arrows and ninja stars.

MMA (mixed martial arts) revealed which unarmed martial art was most effective. Now weapons-based martial arts will be revolutionized with the intelligent body armor.

The customised, intelligent armor and scoring system calculates the force and location of strikes to the fighters in real time enabling full-contact combat with extreme levels of protection. This means that for the first time ever, weapons-based martial arts experts from throughout the globe can compete against one another to determine who is the Unified Weapons Master

It will make a telegenic new sport. A series of test fights using the system was staged in Wellington, New Zealand, in March. The first official fights, which are being branded as the Unified Weapons Master, will begin later this year in Australia, with competitions expanding to America in 2017.

They will be duelling with high-tech weapons made of a high impact composite material.

Nationalistic fervor will be part of the entertainment mix. Martial arts from different cultures, such as Japanese swordsmanship and Chinese staff fighting, will be pitted against each other. Shen “War Demon” Meng, a Beijing fighter who used a particularly ruthless form of kung fu known as “eagle claw” in the Wellington trials, believes the system lends an air of superhero to the martial arts. He also liked the fact there was less need for a referee to have to step in and stop the fight to prevent injury, and that reviewing the detailed fight data afterwards was good for improving his technique.

Less than 24 hours after the first video of the test fight appeared online, an official at America’s Special Operations Command phoned Chiron to ask about obtaining some suits. Four more armies have since made similar requests. The army, it seems, thinks the suits can be used to teach close-quarter combat.

SOURCE - Economist, United Weapons Master

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