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Absolute Speed & Power Striking For Martial Arts
It hardly takes much convincing to conclude that having blinding speed of punches or bone-cracking power in kicks are the most desireable assets for Martial Artists to posess. Remember Miyamoto Musashi stated in his famous text "A Book of Five Rings" that one ultimate goal of the warrior is to learn to end the fight with a single blow! That's exactly where speed & power come in! The idea is to make them as specific as possible so as to achieve the most applicable results. In this article we will attempt to explore some of the best methods available to get those results.
Economy of Motion. Basically the more you practice your peticular techniques, the more your nervous system becomes familiar & you naturally get faster. Its a really good idea to use mirrors because you can self-coach so to say & strip away wasted movements as well as learn to utilize power centers (like the hips & legs). For example you can immediately make your punch will be twice as powerful by springing off the slightly bent legs when you execute it. Think of your body akin to a coiled up snake about to strike!
Think SPEED! Sounds simple but when you start thinking you are fast you will actually start moving faster. Get over any preconceived mental limitations you may have. The other aspect of this notion is to keep the thought of speed on the forefront of your mind. As you train to do those skills you wish to be faster & stronger at make a conscious effort to do them with your best speed & power efforts! Time yourself. Count down how many strikes or roundhouses you can land on a target or heavy bag in a 10 second period. Seek to improve your numbers every session.
Overspeed methods A.K.A. Forcing faster muscle memory! The abridged version goes like this:You have an innate speed at which muscles can fire off & move any given limb. Factors like motor unit recruitment, neural efficiency/capacity, & strength ratios effect this. What we are going to do is teach the nervous system to coordinate movement & build muscle memory at faster speeds! To speed up punches wrap a tubular resistance band or even bungee cord around your wrists and anchor the other end or have a partner stretch it out. Now release & throw the arm into motion with the added speed. Relax the opposing muscles to avoid any "braking" effects. The same proceedure can be performed on kicks by binding the band to the foot.10-20 reps 2 times aweek will be enough to develop noticeable results.
Specific drills to build power. Much can be done with a simple medicineball & even bodyweight outside of what you are already familiar with. Here are some to get started on:
Power absorbtion exercises:How the theory works is that you can't create more power than you can absorb. So it only makes sense to start here before we start "jumping" into plyometrics! For upperbody power, drop push-ups are king! Assume a position upright but on your knees with both arms at chest level slightly more than shoulder width apart bend aprox 90�, now drop to your hands without hesitation and forcefully contract when the hands touch the floor as to limit the amount of arm bend. The higher the "drop" the more force is absorbed, thus the more power potential to develop. The same concept is easily adapted to the lowerbody by doing drops from a 4'-5' surface landing in a 1/4 squat. For pulling power, hold yourself at the top of a pull up position & fall to "catch" yourself about 1/2 through the pull ups range of motion.You'll find after performing as little as 10 reps each you'll be plenty sore! Its a good idea to work these 4-8 weeks, 2 times a week before progressing to the next phase...
Plyometric Kung Fu:Okay to begin lets start with punching/pushing power. Clapping push-ups work great but I feel the need to mention that the idea is to "bounce" off of each rep. Not just get the clap in! In fact forget the clap, just repetitively hop off the floor from this position. Its the fast reaction off the landing that matters so focus on that. One idea that will work good on the legs is to depth jump right into a kick. Peticularly a jump-kick! Now these are good starters...ready to leave elementary onto High School? Get a partner & medicineball (start with light ball, please!). Have him Throw it (throw, not toss) at you. The first step its to rebound it as soon as it touches your hands. Next level of progress is to actually strike the oncoming ball out of the air with a chop, punch, palm, & even any various kicks you desire to build power onto. This drill works some serious plyo-power into your martial arts! Start with a light 3 lb. ball & slow throws gradually working up to faster throws & heavier balls.Obviosly the further you are able to displace the ball/target the more power you have gained(Like a baseball batter). Kind of works as a measuring devise as well. For you solo practitioners get a bouncy type med-ball & react off the rebound of a wall throw. Please exercise caution as this last one is alot more difficult than it sounds & takes some serious getting used to.The great thing is you can build accuracy at the same time you get faster & more powerful techniques. Lastly plyometrics like these are intense, so only work out with them 2 times a week.
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