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Street Fighting with Mr. A


Staff Forest

Photo by Sam King of England

The art of fighting has been studied, like the gracefulness of a spinning back kick or the fluidity of a punch. However, the mathematics and physics of street fighting has been under the radar – until now. “Mathematics of Street Fighting,” taught by math teacher Amarnath Santhanam, will instruct students how to mathematically calculate the opponent’s next move.         

As an algebra and statistics teacher, Santhanam may have no fighting training – but to him, theory is sufficient.

“You don’t need physical training. You just need math,” Santhanam said. 

Santhanam said his class will cover everything one needs to know to become an ultimate street fighting champion, from the velocity of a backhand to the speed of a roundhouse kick. 

Interest in this class is high across grades: Fig. 1 and 2 demonstrate enthusiasm from Pinewood students.

Originally taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Santhnam discovered the course and immediately fell in love with it.

   “I knew the course would enhance Pinewood students’ learning and would help them become more interested in math itself,” Santhanam explained. 

   The class taught at MIT explores the idea of guessing how fast or how heavy a moving object is without the actual calculations. Therefore, it makes it easy to gauge a fighting opponent’s next move. 

   Some units in the class include the basics of fighting, one on one sparring, and the physics of each movement. The one-on-one sparring unit will teach each student how to rapidly guess what move will occur next, while other students watch and take notes. In addition, Santhanam hopes to have guest speakers come in and teach. The course will be available to juniors and seniors next semester. Santhanam hopes to recruit a street fighting team and to possibly enter competitions. He says it is too early to know. 

   “Knowing Pinewood students, they will catch on fast. I can really see us going far,” Santhanam said.       

 If the course goes according to plan, Pinewood students will be able to tackle their opponents like they do with the rest of 

their schoolwork.