The 5 Elements of Martial Arts Speed Training

In Martial Arts speed is essential,
…but simple being fast isn’t good enough.

No matter how much natural speed you may have, proper training will beat it.

The good news is that no matter how slow or clumsy your are, if you put in the work, you can become fast.

There are 5 elements of speed training in the martial arts.

1. Power must be present

As soon as you tell someone to move fast they throw out good body mechanics and leave behind all their power.

Not only speed is useless if you can’t do anything with it, but true speed cannot be had without good body mechanics.

So, not only did they throw away power for a small speed gain, they throw away the potential of becoming truly fast.

Good body mechanics are essential for both power and speed.

Starting by training the principles of power and you will have built a foundation for speed as well.

2. Physical Conditioning

This is the most obvious and often over emphasized of the 5. You do need to put in some time preparing the body for explosive movement by training the tendons and ligaments. You also need to practice moving fast occasionally.

Here are two exercises that strengthen the body in preparation for fast explosive movement. (Among other benefits.)

Clear’s Bagua Exercise #1 for Internal Power, Strength & Flexibility

Wing Chun Lesson 1 – How to build Iron Body & Internal Power

3. Economy of motion

This is deceptively simple.

Don’t move more than you need to.

Most martial artists have much more wasted movement than they realize and to make matters worse they pause in their movement frequently.

Unfortunately, they move too quickly to notice these errors.

In an effort to be fast they are missing the very errors that are slowing them down.

The majority of your sparring and partner drills should be practice at an excruciatingly slow speed.

..and even when you do train faster, make sure to always move slower than your opponent.

If you are moving efficiently, their speed won’t matter.

If they beat you because of speed then you have efficiency errors. Slow it back down until you are going slow enough to catch the errors and correct them.

4. Suddenly Quick

Your speed is useless if your opponent knows what you’re going to do before you do it.

Your intentions must be hidden. You must be able to work from any position.

You must be able to go from nothing to something in an instant. Most people have a ‘get ready’ stage between nothing and something. Even when this is subtle it will make your speed less effective.

5. Relax

Relaxation is almost a prerequisite.

It doesn’t matter how much other speed training you do. If you are tense you cannot be fast.

Tension limits your ability to fully engage your body’s mass, violating rule #1. It slows down your physical movement negating the benefits of physical conditioning (#2) and limits your mobility (#3 economy of motion.) Tension also greatly increases the visibility of any telegraphing you do (#4 suddenly quick.)

Remember, there is always room for improvement in relaxation. and the benefits of relaxation are exponential in nature. Even small gains will have significant benefits.

Speed with Age:

Inevitably, a certain amount of speed will leave us with age.

However, if you train all 5 of these principles properly, you can maximize your full speed potential.

…and more importantly you’ll be quicker than all the young whippersnappers.

Learn to build explosive Speed and Power with our new DVD:

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