Absolute Speed & Power Striking For Martial Arts
By Mark Sias

It hardly takes much convincing to conclude that having
blinding speed of punches or bone-cracking power in kicks are
the most desirable assets for Martial Artists to possess.
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 procedure can be performed on
kicks by binding the band to the foot.10-20 reps 2 times a week
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 absorption 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.Obviously
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.

About the Author: Mr. Sias conducts cheerleading clinics at
local & distant schools throughout the fall seasons giving crash
courses in tumbling. He shows the students how to adapt
plyometrics for improving cheerleading stunts, balance, power
tumbling and much more rapid learning! Mark contracts with
several gymnasiums as a tumbling & plyometrics instructor.
http://www.bionicplyometrics.com If you'd like to learn more
about speed,the science of power training, & plyometrics stop by
our site Bionicplyometrics.com & read up. If you have any
specific question you'll be able to contact me here as well.

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