4 steps to powerfull punches and kicks
I’m going out on a limb here and assume that every fighter would want to have powerful punches, kicks and take downs; that on the ground they would want unbeatable submissions and un moveable positions. The process that any athlete uses to go about increasing the power of anything from a right cross to a power-snatch, a paddle stroke to a high jump is the same. When asked how to get “power” in a punch my coach Hon Lee gave this very concise formula which can be used in any sport but is essential to the fighting arts:
1. Technique: Absolutely every technique we use must be mastered before we try putting any force behind it. Take an Olympic lifter for example, imagine violently throwing 300? Pounds over your head without knowing how to properly execute the movement! The process that most lifters work through consists of going over the steps of the lift many times, sometimes for months, with only a broomstick. Throwing a punch is also risky but for different reasons, still, the process is very similar. How many times do you practice a punch, first in the mirror, then on the bags and pads before the coach lets you spar with actual people? Make sure that every aspect of the technique is perfect, the turn of the foot, the torque in the hips.
2. Flow: The next step in the process is to make the technique flow. Weather you are throwing one punch or a combination; weather you are pulling a triangle or using it as a set-up for an arm-bar, you need to learn how to seamlessly flow through the movements keeping your defence tight. The smoothness of your movement also adds to your momentum which leads us nicely to the next step.
“We want to move efficiently because it gives you higher performance, its energy-concervative and ultimately its safer. If you want to move often and more frequently you’ve got to be efficient with your movement to maintain safety and maintain that quality. That’s why these skills, techniques and efficiency principals are so important.” Clifton Harsky
3. Speed: A car travelling at 100k will do a lot more damage to a person than a bus travelling at 3k. Likewise, a fighter who has speed in their hands will cause much more havoc than a slow one, even if they are bigger. As long as we keep the technique sound and flow from one to another, adding some speed will automatically generate the power for step 4!
4. If you followed the last three steps you have already arrived here! Power is some thing we shouldn’t be trying to do, it comes as a result of using you body with the most efficiency, hitting the target with accuracy and committing to our technique without reluctance.
In my observations of hundreds of people training in the fighting arts I see similar patterns recurring often related to this. One of these is the way a fighter will slowly revert to instinctive reactions like pulling away from danger. If you think of fighting like placing your hand on a hot stove; holding the hand to the fire goes against our base human drive and we will do anything to remove it from pain. In order to have success in a fight we have to put our face, head and body into a dangerous situation in order to be in position to do damage to our opponent. I see this withdrawal in every fighter as the sparing heats up. In a class setting I am always aware of that and pull the students back to basic movements and get them to focus on technique, timing, distance and posture. Does this sound exactly like what a strength trainer would do?
Any athlete that thinks that they are too advanced to revisit the basics will never advance!