Bruce Lee (left) - 1967 Long Beach International Karate Championships
Speed is a very important attribute. However, most people feel you either have it or you don’t. I believe as with all attributes this is half correct, however speed as with all attributes can indeed be developed ! There are four types of speed. Initiation speed, this is speed off the line. Also can be called quickness. Performance speed, this is purely miles per hour. Alternation speed, this is the ability to alternate from punch to punch, or kick to kick. Also called speed in combination. And 4’th, reaction speed. This is when speed is relative to ones opponent. This is closely linked to reflexes.
In the development of speed, the simplest way to look at any motion is to break it in half.
Drill #1 - Lets say we take a jab, start in your fighting stance, and count backwards from 10 in your head. Knowing that as each number gets closer to one, you are becoming more and more intense. More and more emotional content. Picture the scene, you are in your stance, 10,9,8, and the moment you get to one, BAM, you explode, not the whole jab, but just the first half of the jab. Now we reset, and simply do the same drill again. Count backwards in your head, wait for 1 to occur, which should result in an emotional climax, explode into the first half of your jab. And repeat. I would recommend doing this approximately 100 times on each side.
Drill #2 - Instead of starting from your fighting stance, extend your jab 50% of the way out. Now from this position, start your countdown on your way down from 10, and explode the second half of your jab. Repeat this process again, start your jab half way out, count backwards from 10, and explode. When one breaks any motion in half, we instantly become twice as fast. Once we have put in our 100 reps per weapon a day, for about 3 months, it is time to advance to the final level.
Drill #3 - Grab a one – two pound weight, put it in your hand, and repeat both drills, 100 reps per day, exactly the way you did, for another 3 months, this time with a weight in your hand(one can use ankle weight for kicks) !
If Bruce’s amazing drill doesn’t make you twice as fast, I will give up martial arts, move to Sussex and raise worms. Love, Paul.