Speed of movement in Martial Arts

Speed of movement is relative to how fast you can move something from one point to another

A popular question is “how can I be faster?” They usually ask if whether they need to build up their muscles and get stronger to be faster. I always like to remind people that speed can also be created in many ways and often times, the people who have been practicing Martial Arts for many years and are not so well developed muscularly are some of the fastest people you will ever meet.

In the case of martial artists, it is not only important to how fast you can get from point A to point B, but equally important is how little we give away to our opponent prior to making that process happen. Speed is not always based on the time it took for the strike to start and then land, but just as importantly to when the movement or strike starts and when the opponent is able to recognise it is happening..

Efficiency in movement and staying relaxed are huge when it comes to speed. The more you want to “load” the muscles or put into the movement, usually the longer the process takes. Certainly, the loading is telegraphic in nature and triggers the opponent to movement.

Take this into account! The second we create a movement is the second the opponent is triggered and reacts to our movement. Often times, many people actually have tell-tale signs that they give right before they even start to execute a movement, it is potentially possible to give yourself away even before you have moved at all!!!!

For example when was the last time you tried to capture a fly with your hand? If you TRY to hit the fly with speed or power, you almost always miss it. The fly is “triggered” by movement and the slightest of movement makes the fly take off. It is when you don’t load up on the strike and all you do is focus on closing in with no preloading that you are then more likely to catch the fly before it has moved and flown away. This same reality applies to what we do against an opponent.

You also don’t need to look so much into building muscles up or making yourself stronger to become faster though it can help. Being faster though really comes down to how much you give away before the strike gets to the opponent and how fast you can get your attack there. Timing obviously helps as well when you are basing your strike off something that they have done to cause you to move, but if you are just trying to initiate an attack, then timing is not so relative.  The “Gap” however is. If you are trying to cover too much ground, this can cause you to fall short or even worse, it gives your opponent more time to respond!!

Remember that the most important principles to master when wanting to strike effectively is speed in movement, mastering the gap and developing good timing.
These 3 components to training are so essential to success.

Remember to consider these definitions:

Speed in movement: Means not just how fast you can move an object from point A to point B….but how well you can avoid giving notice to the opponent that something is happening. Purity of flow is allowing absolutely nothing else to happen that takes away from moving between the 2 points but the movement itself.

Mastering gap:  To know what is a realistic distance you can effectively cover without giving too much away or extending yourself beyond a realistic distance to the opponent/target. If you want to be successful you need to make sure that the distance is realistic and that you are accommodating the covering of that space.

Developing good timing: Means to have the understanding and ability to time your movements to a rhythm or cadence that makes your movement make sense. This could be working on half beats to one and a half beats etc to insure that whatever you are doing happens at the time you are desiring.


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