Those who believe bulk interferes with speed are missing out a lot especially if they avoid resistance training. The primary source of confusion behind bulk and speed originates from the confusion between power and strength.
Martial arts revolves around power from physics stand point.
What is power?
Power includes your ability to move a load (force) over a distance (point a to point b) within certain time (one second).
In a high kick to the head, the force is your foot and your leg. The distance is from your foot to your opponents head. The time is how fast you can do it.
When you practice moving heavier loads over the same distance, your strength which is the ability to move weights increases.
When you practice moving heavier loads and do it faster, your power increases.
Adding wrist and ankle weights during practicing your punches and kicks is one way, not necessarily a safe way, to increase your strength and power.
Try to punch faster without the additional load and you limit how much your power increases.
Increasing power may or not add bulk as in muscle mass. Adding muscle mass requires specific type training that only in part is power related.
Comprehensive martial arts training includes power training even when the motions of the art do not directly associate with the motions within the power training. Remember not to go too far in the way you power train and the way you fight. Practice the way you fight or compete.
For example, as a grappler practice pulling power, as puncher practice plyo pushups.
Logic is a function of the brain that improves with data. You can gain data in two ways. The first is by reading detailed information without omissions. The second is through experience.
Unfortunately, it is hard to recover from some experiences. I prefer to gather detailed data before experimenting.
Ankle weights and wrist weights is an example of how logic may completely backfire if you don’t think it through.
The idea of using ankle and wrist weights in martial arts is to improve the kicking and punching speed.
It seems to make sense that if you can strap a 10 pound weight to your ankle, practice kicking with it, you would be able to kick faster when you take them off.
There are three missing pieces in that theory.
First, when you add weights to your ankle, you create a separation within your ankle joint. The ankle weight is resting on top of your foot pulls the foot away from your shin bone. Your ankle is designed for compression force as you stand, walk, run or jog on it.
Your ankle is not designed to be pulled. In fact, many of effective grappling techniques are based on locking and creating separation in the ankle to force submission. Second, by adding an ankle weight, you create additional force on your knee joint that increases the gap. This is not as bad as the ankle but at high-speed kicking, this separation impacts how you’re the muscles around your knee contract.
You could easily lose control over the balance of the muscles that move your knee safely. For example, the contraction of your quadriceps that must be balances with controlled relaxation of your hamstrings is no longer in balance. You create additional force to move the ankle weight without a compensating balance to control the relaxation of hamstrings.
Third, ankle weights shift your center of your gravity away from your naval and hips. Your stabilizer muscles are designed around a stable center of gravity. Once you move that center of gravity, your stabilizer core muscles can no longer work effectively.
Does this mean that you should never use wrist and ankle weights?
No. These three considerations should help you learn and even design your motions to improve your speeds without harming yourself.
For example, instead of practicing a front kick with ankle weights that could easily damage your knee, you can practice straight leg raises which engages your hip flexors and your core. Your front kick becomes faster when your take the weights off.
If you experience pain in your lower back with the straight leg raises, you know your abs and glutes are not strong enough and you need to move to a core exercise with ankle weights like a weighted knee tuck to build up your core.
All this requires that you think through the process, pay attention to your body and don’t jump to conclusions because it seems to make sense.
What does speed training mean without a frame of reference?
Imagine a bullet train that goes 200 miles per hour and ant that goes 0.03 miles an hour. Obviously the bullet train is faster, right?
Not necessarily. Take the train off track, and it will derail and cannot move at all. The snail becomes faster. Without the frame of reference of the track, speed means nothing.
In sports, an 100 meter sprinter may not be able to cut and turn as fast as a soccer player. An American football player may tackle well, but ask them to dive in an MMA match, and their head may get bashed in.
In fitness equipment, jump rope drills cannot help you deliver a fast, high side kick. And ladder drills or cone drills have nothing to do with increasing punching power.
Speed training is the track in which you wish to improve your speed. Speed training equipment build the track for you. The first element of speed training is to evaluate yours strengths and weaknesses.
A dislocated shoulder like the one during the process of healing Is restructured internally. I need to b careful with the ligaments in high-speed punching techniques. On the other hand, I have not limitations with my legs.
I am choosing my speed training protocol and my speed training equipment like rdx jump rope, I consider these step.
1- Without over complicating it, I write down what I want to accomplish by my drills. I am not going to write down something general like “faster footwork.” Instead, I write down something like, “I want to develop faster footwork and fakes to confuse the opponent in a match.” By remembering that fake is part of your winning match strategy, you practice it in your drills.
2- Resistance training is part of my speed training. This doesn't mean I want to become a power-lifter or a bodybuilder. It does mean that I recognize the limitation with shadow boxing. Again, I don’t over complicate things. A set of inexpensive rubber bands may be enough. With a bit of research and some imagination, you can attach rubber bands in ways that match exactly what part of your body and in what position must develop speed.
3- Deceleration training. The most stress is placed on your ligaments during the deceleration. Speed training includes both accelerations and deceleration techniques. Don’t focus on acceleration so much that you forget how to declare. The same ligaments that help you transfer incredibly fast contraction power of your muscle to your bones are the same ones that get stronger during deceleration or eccentric phase of the motion.
Deceleration ties into retraction. A fast punch that cannot be retracted quickly leaves you open to a counter attack including grabbing.
Expand your vision of what speed training is. Then choose the drills that help you reach your outcome.
Category: martial arts styles
It is true that martial arts means arts of war, however, combat is only part of war. If you focus on the combat techniques that is part of martial arts from Aikido to Wing Chun, you may not only lose the battle but also the war. One of the stories in the Bible is how Cain killed his brother Abel. That is a reference to a combat technique that could lose you a war.
If you follow the theory of evolution, the first monkey that yanking the tail of another monkey engaged in combat. The same monkey yanking the tail of a tree climbing Jaguar did not live to tell the tale.
In recorded human history of Egyptian painting dating several thousand years, wrestling came into the scene which makes it the most ancient of recorded martial arts you could teach and learn.
Understanding that martial arts has a violent combative side is important to dispel any illusions about its training. Every punch, every form of kick, every grappling and throwing technique is designed to be harmful and even deadly.
If you plan to learn self-defense and you struggle within yourself with the potential harm you could cause you need to resolve that internal conflict. In a fight for self-defense that unresolved inner conflict will impact your ability to think and execute your techniques.
You cannot look to be a peaceful warrior because martial arts is the art of war. However, you can be a detached warrior who does not seek combat and does not mind it either. He or she uses combat as means to an end.
The end in many forms of marital arts is not physical and has a mystical appeal. The possibility that you can, through martial arts training reach something beyond war is intriguing and attractive.
The training becomes like a hot forge that provides you an opportunity to create a delicate glass sculpture or a deadly sword. A detached warrior can do both according to the objective.
Lives of contemporary masters of Martial arts including Mas Oyama, Ip Man, General Choi Hong Hi and Bruce Lee reveals how they struggled to share a path to internal transformation.
Many martial arts styles have clear training for the spirit and the mind separate from the physical aspects. I remember one of my childhood favorite TV series, Kung Fu starring David Carradine. In each episode there was a merging of the present struggles of the hero-teacher and his past. The solutions were often reliance on an inner aspect of life with a touch of combat.
I wonder how the series would have been if Bruce Lee had a chance to play the role instead of David Carradine since it the series was Bruce Lees idea.
As they said in the series, Grasshopper, you have choice.
In finding the martial arts training that is most suitable to you, you can reflect on your inner struggles, understand your motivations and your goals. Or focus on the explosive exhibition of combat training that is most appealing to you.
What is appealing to your mind may not be in harmony with what is in your heart. Your physical training will suffer if there is too much of a disconnect between what is in your mind and what is in your heart.