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A black-belt physicist

Julie McGavigan

Julie McGavigan, expert in physics and karate.

By Michael Banks

Not many school pupils can boast having had a world-champion physics teacher, so say hello to Julie McGavigan, who teaches physics at Eastwood High School near Glasgow and bagged a gold medal at the World Karate Championships in Denmark in October.

The 27 year old, who says the win in Denmark came as “quite a shock”, is a 3rd Dan in Shotokan karate and has taught physics for five years after studying the subject at the University of Glasgow.

McGavigan also teaches karate at evening classes at Eastwood High, where she puts physics principles to good use.  “Physics helps me understand why certain stances, moves and combinations work when practising karate,” McGavigan told

In fact, she often refers to physics in her karate lessons. “I find the students enjoy this link to physics, gaining a greater understanding of what they are studying,” she says. As she’s a karate world champion, I’m not going to disagree.

McGavigan is now getting the funding together to defend her title in 2015 in Tokyo.

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One comment to A black-belt physicist

  1. David Graham

    I’m not a champion, but am a black-belt / sensei in Karate Jitsu and a Physics teacher of 25 years. Love it!


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