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Martial_Artist
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 935
Location: Western USA.
Styles: The Pure Art

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:00 am    Post subject: A Principle of Training: Power in Hitting Reply with quote

This article is intended as a broad overview of important concepts of achieving power in hitting. I could write a book detailing what needs to be done to develop power and many others have already written books. The intent is to inspire the martial artist to seek out further knowledge and recognize their progress in achieving power in hitting.

This article is intended for the martial artist concerned with fighting ability. It is written with the idea that those who read it are those who study the arts for their martial applications. Many of the concepts within this piece are irrelevant to those who study for reasons other than self-defense.

We punch our target. We feel our fist hit flesh. We feel, we can gage, with what level of power we have hit our target. We know whether or not we hit hard or not.

As we walk the path of the martial arts and throughout the course of our training, each of us at one point is asked to hit something. Whether board or brick, bag or dummy, man or woman we will hit something as we train. When we hit we also know whether or not we are hitting hard. We can feel our weapons as they strike. Whether we admit our faults or not, we know inside the level of power we wield.

In self-defense, we must be able to hit our targets hard. To achieve our goal with our hit: to end the fight. For, we must truly understand and hit with the intent that each attack will end the fight. There are no hits in a self-defense fight intended to prolong the fight. You should be hitting to end the fight with each strike. And the fight only continues because the previous strike failed its mission and you must therefore strike again and again, until the conflict has ceased. Then, you strike no more.

How does a martial artist attain power? The question may be simply answered with another question: how does a fire build heat? The answer applies to both: with fuel. What fuel can possible make me hit harder?

Every attack can be mechanically understood, dissected and analyzed. Every punch can be viewed from a level of effectiveness. Each kick can be understood for its efficacious application. Each fighter can learn to hit harder.

First, it is important to understand that power does not come from the size of your muscles. Or the distance you pull your hand back. Or the amount of noise you make when you hit your target. Power comes from strength applied to form - proper form.

To punch hard you must learn how to punch properly. You must throw away the useless movements of your body, trim the wasted motions, and punch with a singularity of direction. Your hips, legs, torso, arms must move with the single motive of a punch. If your legs are not helping the punch, then you will lose power. If your arms are solely responsible for the power of the punch then you will not hit as hard as you could. If your hips are left lingering neglected when you punch, then you will not be punching with power. You must hit with the whole of your being, having trimmed the useless and harnessed the neglected, to hit with power.

Form must be developed and understood. It must be reflexive and not require conscious thought to execute. You shouldn't have to think about your form as you hit. It should be as natural as breathing.

Proper form opens the door for speed. When your body moves at the instinctive then you are allowed to hit with increased speed.

Yet, form alone is not enough. Something many martial artists fail to do is maintain excellent physical condition. How many martial artists can run a mile in under ten minutes? How many are in shape? Yet, these same martial artists who expect to do magnificent things with bodies, yet do not condition their bodies to do these things? How can they expect to kick hard, fight long or move smoothly, when their bodies have not been disciplined for such? Only the strictest of discipline wields the capable body.

Therefore, a key component of power in hitting is strength of the body. You needn't have large muscles, which I feel hinder a fighter more than help, but you must have strength. You must be able to hold your leg high to the side for a minute or longer with out swaying. You must be able to manipulate your body weight effortlessly. Strength of body allows you to move your body better in the proper form for hitting.

A regular and intensive regime of exercise is a must for the martial artist seeking power in hitting.

Speed. The faster an object travels the more force it generates as it travels. With proper form, strength of body and speed of limbs you will hit with great force. Speed is developed with time. It is not instant. No matter how fast you feel you are going, speed comes over time and with lots of training. There are exercises that will help. This article's intent is not to delineate every such exercise, but stress the importance of utilizing these exercises toward gaining speed.

Much of reflexive speed is innate, you are born with it. However, everyone's level of speed can be conditioned and disciplined and therefore improved. The key to this conditioning is resistance while practicing. It is also having your form reflexive, second-nature.

Speed is also improved upon by constant real-time feedback, a.k.a. sparring. Speed, aside from the actual physical speed of the object traveling, is also determinate upon timing. Hitting your opponent unaware does more damage than hitting him when he expects it.

And the final component of power that will be covered in this article is breathing. You must know how to breath when hitting. It is more than a superficial scream. It is more than a yell or outburst of air upon impact. It is more than the scope of this article.

However, it is important for the martial artist to learn how to breath when hitting. It was taught years ago that power comes from the hips and from your breathing. Power comes from your form and your ability to harness the strength within you. You will never hit as hard as you can until you learn to breath while hitting.
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Patrick
KF Administrator

Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 27039
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the submission.
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aefibird
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 26 Oct 2003
Posts: 4416
Location: UK
Styles: Past and present: 2 styles of Karate, TKD, Aikido, Wing Chun, some Tai Chi

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article Martial_Artist - very interesting reading.
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Rotten Head Fok
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 29 Jun 2004
Posts: 380

Styles: Choy-Li-Fut, Tai Chi Chuan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good article, I totally agree and am guilty of the lack of disipline. Since i am new here, your article has me asking questions, but I will continue to read on and then if I have these same questions I'll ask them. Thank you Martial Artist !
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You must be stable and balanced in your foot work, if you have to use your martial knowledge in combat, your intent should be to win. If you do strike, you must release great power! The martial arts are easy to learn, but difficult to correct.
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longarm25
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Sep 2004
Posts: 304
Location: Ohio
Styles: Shorin Ryu, Ryu Kyu Te

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice article
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Ryu Kyu Christian Karate Federation

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gcav
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 25 Aug 2004
Posts: 284
Location: U.S.A.
Styles: Several different Japanese and Korean styles

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice.
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thaiboxerken
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 21 Jun 2001
Posts: 1270
Location: Portland, Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't agree that large muscles hinder the power of a punch.
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delta1
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 1780
Location: North Central Washington
Styles: It's ALL Kenpo! Bring it back to base!

PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thaiboxerken wrote:
I don't agree that large muscles hinder the power of a punch.


They can, but not necessarily will. Many people with large muscles depend on them for their power, disregarding good form. They might still hit hard, but not as hard as they could with relaxation and good form.

Another way they can hinder is when a person is so muscle bound that his muscles tend to fight each other. Not a punch, but I worked with one guy on his upward elbow strikes once. Guy was big, and bucked hay bales for a living. I was moving him more than he was me, and I'm a whimp! But, the way he was taught to do upward elbows was just to bend the arm, palm toward shoulder, and raise the elbow sharply. I could see his muscles fighting and binding as he struck. I showed him how to rotate that strike, and he dang near put me through the wall! Same with his back fists. He was chambering them back (bad enough in itself), but I swear you could watch him have to unbind everything before he launched his strike! I never got him broke of that, and I was able to work the focus mitts a lot faster and harder because of it.

With good stretching, relaxation, and proper form, large muscles don't have to slow you down. But too often they do.
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White Warlock
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 14 Feb 2004
Posts: 2662

Styles: See my Intro

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed. Large muscles can be a significant hindrance to learning, due to the dependence on strength over technique. I was encouraged, by more than one instructor/coach, to study without strength, and then develop muscles at a later stage. I've found women tend to learn soft techniques quite a bit more quickly than men do. Again, due to the inherent dependence men have on strength.
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Carnage
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 23
Location: New York
Styles: Tae Kwon Do

PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article.....


Speed is Power, that's my opinion on it.
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