The Art is in the Timing

Yes, I am alive and well. Sorry for the break in blog posts – I had to complete a project that was a time-eating monster. I will try to get back to regular posting again. It always comes down to time, doesn’t it?
Time is our most valuable asset, and everyday something wants to rob you of it. To martial artists timing or cadence is one of the most important things you need to understand. The use of cadence showcases the skill of the martial artist and his understanding of the principles of martial arts power.
Have you ever watched true martial artist masters in combat? They are so graceful and they move with almost no energy. They appear to control time, and in a way, they do. They have learned over long years of practice that moving as fast as you can is not always the best way. These martial arts masters understand that real power and skill come from letting the circles of energy do the work for you. Then all you have to do is apply a small amount of force to multiply that action or reaction. The basic tenet is: The size of the circles dictates the speed of the movement.
When a punch gets thrown at you, is the best approach to block it and then hit back as fast as you can? Not always. You nay hit your target and maybe even hurt your opponent. But is it your best punch and is it placed in a position where it does the most damage? Where is the advantage of the opponent’s weight and movement circles in the configuration of the punch arc? Where are your circles when you hit the target?
Power comes from applying force to multiply your power and not by just hitting faster.
Look at a simple punch/block situation: Your opponent throws a back hand punch at your face. If you push the punch past you and let his body continue to move along his punch arc, then you can hit him with a direct short hard punch. This is the best form of a “force on force” counterattack.
Take it one step further: Allow a hesitation in your punch. This lets the opponent’s body dynamics almost complete his punch arc. Just before he starts to pull back, use your back hand to hit him with a short side-and-up punch arc to his head. What happens here is his body cannot move fast enough or give enough to deflect any of the energy of the punch. So the opponent takes all the force directly to his body frame. This greatly increases the power of your punch while using the same amount of force. And all you did was relax and time the return punch. This multiplied the energy and focused it down to a smaller area of impact.
Other tips: Never set up a single cadence in a fight. And never use the same speed or movement three times in a row. If you do, that sets a cadence for you, and your opponent will take advantage of it (if he’s any good!).
Play with your cadence, and you’ll find that it opens up many advantages. Change the size of your circles and watch your arcs control what you give to your opponent. Try using a cadence change to cause a break in the action (sometimes called a “break state”) that will distract your opponent and upset his cadence. Remember, every fighter or group of fighters has their own cadence. Find it and use it to your advantage.

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About JD01

I have been studying martial arts for over 40 years. I am ex military (Marine) and have lived/traveled in some dangerous places. I have seen my share of what combat can do to people. The good and the bad.
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2 Responses to The Art is in the Timing

  1. juhl51 says:

    You are not alone.

  2. jack says:

    I can attest to the importance of timing and setting cadence. I have fond memories of getting up from the training floor to the sound of ” You have to watch your cadence. Try again.”

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