Monday, 13 July 2009

Illusion of Speed for Strikers

A famous martial artist once said “if you hold a focus pad in front of me and an untrained guy and we must strike it when a red light goes off, I would probably win by about 1/10th of a second”.

Martial artists can train themselves to produce faster strikes. It takes hard training and lots of it, but it can be done. However, a martial artist will only be able to produce a small amount of faster movement speed compared to an untrained person. Where a martial artist can excel though is by creating an illusion of speed.

An illusion of speed is when someone creates the illusion that there strikes are fast but what is really happening is that tactics and timing are being used with strikes. Ways in which this happens include.

Simultaneous defend and strike – Most fighters are used to having there strikes defended in some sort of way and then counter strikes thrown back at them. However, if one can learn to defend and counter at the same time it would be unexpected to some, and will seem as though a counter strike is being thrown with great speed after defending oneself.

After feinting – A feint should be convincing enough to make an opponent defend or react in some sort of way. The person performing the feint should keep this in mind but must also keep in mind the fact that a follow up technique must be thought of and performed immediately after the feint, once the opponent has started to defend it. Feinting high and attacking low or vice versa is perfect for this. If the follow up technique is successful it should seem as though great speed has been used in combination.

Sidestepping and countering – Similar to the simultaneous defend and strike you side steps your opponents onslaught of attacks whilst simultaneously performing a strike of your own. Normally the expectation is to move backwards when attacked. By side stepping whilst still staying in range to deliver a counter blow it seems as though a defence and counter is performed with great speed.

Timing - Most people react to an opponent’s technique. However one must react to an opponent’s movement. Say your opponent throws a jab. Instead of waiting to react when the jabbing fist reaches the target if one can react as soon as the jabbing arm moves, even a slight inch, it will seem as though on has reacted with great speed when in actual fact one has used good timing.

These are just a few ways in which one can seem to be moving with great speed when in actual fact it is good timing and tactics that produce this illusion. These of course are subtle attributes that can only be achieved through years of training and paying strict attention to the art of combat for success, rather than just simply padding up with 16 oz gloves and beating each other brains out. Sparring slow and with light contact will help when trying to develop these different illusions of speed.


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Anonymous said...

Are you saying that a professional boxer who has trained for 10 years only can punch slightly faster compared to an untrained individual?

From my experience, a trained fighter can perform as many as 7-10 strikes more than an untrained one having the same speed. So if an untrained fighter can do 1 punch per second, a trained fighter can do 7-10. I do not see how that is a SMALL AMOUNT OF FASTER MOVEMENT.

There is an illusion of speed and there is real speed.

Speed kills.

Adam @ Low Tech Combat said...

Great post Mark!

You've identyfied some really good ways to improve ones quickness.

There is physical quickness (how quick a punch is) and
mental quickness (how qickly you can see the immediate intent of an attacker)

Both of these combined equals total quickness. Nice post.

MARKS said...

ANONYMOUS - Everybody already has some sort of speed, and yes, if a trained fighter and an untrained one punches at the same time (one single punch) the trained fighter should be quicker, but only by a split second.

ADAM - Thanks for your comment.

epicmartialarts said...

Mark, the basic premise is absolutely correct. Speed is an illusion as an individuals reaction times are very similar to anothers, for one thing.
And you provide us with the WHAT, as in what tactics to use to give an illusion of speed but no HOW. What drills would you recommmend to develop an illusion of speed?

Paying attention to the art of combat coupled with slow, light sparring rather than brain bashing is not very specific, do you have anything specific for us?

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