Speed Drilling in Karate

Newsletter 703
The Secret of Speed in the Martial Arts

Let’s talk about speed in the martial arts.

We used to have this exercise
back at the Kang Duk Won
it was called ‘Speed of speed.’
it was brutal.
You faced your partner,
and there was only one attack:
a chop to the neck,
you turn the hand
so the flat of the hand strikes the shoulder.
What made it brutal was the times
when you collided with your partner.
Neither of you was faster,
and you both ended up hurting.

making faster karate techniques

speed kick in karate

Believe me,
as stupid as it sounds,
you won’t see this exercise
anywhere in the martial arts.
It just hurts too much.

here’s the thing,
after a few months of doing this,
of suffering bone bruises to the forearms
you found that you were faster.
Some lower belt would come in
and he’d just start to twitch
you were hitting his shoulder so hard
his head near fell off!

I tried teaching that,
and people didn’t want to learn it.
Man,the groans and moans.
So I persisted,
and had small classes
of REALLY tough martial artists,
but I kept thinking about speed.

I thought about the kenpo
circularity of motion theories and drills,
but hitting somebody ten times in a second
didn’t allow one to get the body behind any of the strikes.
So you have to be fast in the intuitive sense,
in the sense that Speed of Speed built up,
of seeing when somebody was starting to move,
and moving before him.
THAT was when you could get the whole body behind the strike.

have you ever watched the Magnificent Seven?
The scene where Yul Brynner claps his hands?

I started out with the hands apart,
standing in a back stance,
and the partner has to close the distance
and punch the chest before the hands clap.
Worked like a charm.
Easy to do,
not so brutal,
and directly applied to increasing power through weight.

there were variations I tried,
one of them,
of unusual interest,
is standing to the side with a stop watch.
Tell somebody to punch when they hear the stop watch click,
and click the stop watch a second time when the punch touches the target.
times were being measured in a full second.
That long.
No chance at all
of the punch being fast enough to work.
But what turned the trick
was to stand behind the person being punched,
and let the person watch you click the stop watch.
then they sped up,
and that was because you got rid of all reaction time,
and the puncher could see and anticipate.

But isn’t that what it is all about?
When somebody is about to punch
you don’t wait for the punch,
you look,
you examine,
you analyze,
you predict when it is coming.

Usually it starts with some kind of emotional set up,
but with the stop watch there was no emotion
and guys could get past the idea of emotion,
get past fooling each other with twitches and tells,
and directly view the factors of the strike.
People got fast real fast,
and we could tailor the strikes,
increase speed in everything
from blocks to kicks to whatever.

you can use this data,
do the exercises,
make your own exercises,
have some real fun,
and get past a lot of stuff,
and increase speed in the one area
that really matters,
putting weight behind a real strike.

if you have a little extra hair on your chest,
you can always try speed of speed.
To this day
I know that that exercise,
as crude and brutal as it was,
was the one that made the real difference in me.

if you want to increase speed
because you have perfect alignment in your body,
and perfect alignment WILL increase your speed,
then check out the Master Instructor Course.


I’ve been fooling around
making a few sites just for grins and giggles,
so try this one…


It’s aimed at explaining things about matrixing and neutronics,
and how they apply to the martial arts.
It’s not for everybody,
and I’m not done with it,
I’ll be working on it as time goes by,
but it’s at a point where
I thought people would appreciate it,
maybe even have some insight as to what they would like on it.
Feel free to leave comments on the site,
what you think,
any advice,
It actually gets to me
faster than an email.

it’s the middle of summer
so act like it!
Work out till you sweat COPIOUSLY,
and enjoy an occasional beverage.

Have a great and work out filled weekend!


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