Sifu of Wing Tsun Kung Fu - Student of Sifu Ralph Hänel's WingTsun-CoreConcepts

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Speed Kills

Speed during martial arts training can be counter-productive. Huh? Isn’t it better to be faster? Besides that, doesn’t it look cool? What I mean here is uncontrolled speed without structure when learning new techniques.

(Gasp, I said techniques! We don’t learn techniques in WT, you say. We learn concepts! Yes, we do, but at the beginning we still need to learn movements and techniques, before one day transcending into a pure flurry of formless form… if you want to be philosophical about it.)

Back to the topic at hand: speed kills. When learning a new technique, it is easy to become impatient and want to train faster and faster and faster. However, if you’ve noticed, when the pace is turned up with an unfamiliar body movement, everything begins to break down. The wrong muscles begin to compensate for the lack of correct structure behind the movement. And basically, you can be lifted off your feet, or pummeled into the ground, your choice.

What is speed without structure? I would say that the best thing to do is to start out slow, and understand where your power is being generated from. Only then can you even begin thinking about increasing the speed of training, making sure that you still have your whole weight behind the technique. This way, the technique can be built upon until one day, it can happen with speed. (By the way, I would say that speed is just one dimension that is not necessarily required all the time.)

You can flail all you want at the opponent, but then it turns into the so-called “patty-cake” WT that people talk about, and rightly so. But imagine if you can just place your antennae arms outward and control your opponent right from the start. Knowing that there is meaning and oomph behind your “technique”.

So, let’s go back to even the basic movements, and work slowly at it to find out: what pressures you feel, where the power comes from, when you start moving, and why you are moving, etc.

Slow down!

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