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Ryu Is Faster Than Usain Bolt, According to Math

Have you ever wondered what it would take for a person to perform Street Fighter’s Tatsumaki Senpukyaku in real life? Or how loud the Dragonborn would have to shout to attract all those dragons in Skyrim? Or maybe if the scream energy used by the monsters in Monsters, Inc. is actually viable as a power source? One ingenious British researcher has found the answers to these questions and more.

Osarenkhoe Ogbeide is a university student currently studying for his PhD in engineering at the University of Cambridge. As a graduate at the University of Leicester, he tapped into his love of nerdy mediums like video games and comics to choose the areas he would research and publish papers about. One such paper, published in 2015 and titled “Tatsumaki Senpukyaku,” sought to produce hard data on the real-life physicality that would be required to perform the eponymous Street Fighter attack.

“I’m a huge gamer—I recently platinumed the new Spider-Man game—and I love fighting games, like the Street Fighter series,” Ogbeide told Kotaku via email. “So, one day as I was playing a friend, I performed the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. The horizontal flight of the move looked so bizarre, that I thought, ‘How fast would Ryu have to move in reality…’”

To find the answer, Ogbeide first gathered all of the necessary data, like the average height and mass of a British male, and ran it through several formulas to calculate the horizontal speed someone would have to achieve in order to fly through the air like a helicopter. He determined that a forward velocity of 67 miles per hour would be necessary to perform Ryu’s iconic attack.

“I knew the number had to be high, so it wasn’t too shocking,” Ogbeide explained. “Although 67 miles per hour is beyond the limits for humans, there are other mammals, like the cheetah, which can achieve speeds beyond this. For reference, the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, reaches a top speed of around 27 miles per hour.”