If you’re a martial artist who wants to punch and kick faster, read this article.
In case you didn’t know, there is more than one type of speed involved in striking. We will discuss 1.) Physical speed, 2.) Perceptual speed, and 3.) Reaction speed. Once you understand these, you can take steps to improve the speed of your punches and kicks.
The first type of speed is Physical Speed. This refers to how fast your strike moves from point A to point B. Although the biggest factor determining physical speed is genetics, there are ways you can increase it.
The primary method to increase the speed of a punch or kick is through high repetitions. The more times you perform the strike, the more coordinated the action becomes. You become more “efficient, meaning there are less unnecessary nerves and muscles being fired to perform the action. Some of those muscles that stop firing are “antagonistic” muscles… in other words, the muscles that fight against the action you are trying to perform with speed. The less antagonistic muscles used, the faster you are.
A way to trick your body into using less antagonistic muscles is by practicing your punches and kicks alternately with no weights, then a small 1 or 2 pound weight, then back to no weights. Try this for yourself.
The 2nd type of speed, perceptual speed, refers to how quickly you can “perceive” the opportunity to strike. This is, to a large degree, a factor of “awareness.” Your speed will be greater, therefore, when you are more aware, such as when you are well rested, after drinking caffeine, when your vision is good, and when you use mental “anticipation.” Additionally, proper training so you know “what to look for” will increase your perceptual speed.
Conversely, it will decrease when you don’t get enough sleep, drink alcohol and are exposed to excessive stimulus that causes you to “block out” your surroundings.
I will refer to the 3rd type of speed here as “reaction speed”. By reaction speed, I mean the ability to initiate the punch or kick once you’ve “perceived” (consciously or subconsciously) that you need to throw it.
One of the main factors affecting reaction time is body positioning. For example, if your balance must be shifted before you can initiate the attack that increases the time it will take for your attack to land.
In a self-defense situation, if you stand with your hands in your pockets, or your legs are straight, you must reposition them before you can initiate a powerful punch or kick.
Any training tool that forces you to react in time to it, or “hits back”, will naturally cause you to improve your awareness and, therefore, your speed. One such tool is the Smart Bag Free Standing Punching Bag.
There are more factors involved in speed, but focusing on physical, perceptual and reaction speed will go a long way towards making you a much faster striker than you currently are.
B. Dorris founded the company S.M.A.R.T. Athletics, Inc. He had been constantly involved with martial arts for 36 years. He have operated martial arts schools, taught hundreds of students and logged many, many hours in training, studying and analyzing martial arts. Martial arts had been his life.He coined the name Combative Arts Concepts to describe his art, since it is a culmination of concepts, tactics and philosophies he had experienced over the years and really falls outside the scope of any one particular style.He developed the best Smart Heavy Bag. You can also check out free training videos here!!!