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14.0 Developing Power

Power is desirable and necessary, but it should be your last concern. Why? Because without the attributes we have so often mentioned, it will be of little value to you.

We believe that teaching a student the so-called "focusing" at the early stages of his training is unnecessary and dangerous. When called for, in self-defense, a well-placed kick in one of the many vulnerable areas of the human body does not have to be "focused" to be damaging. On the other hand, a "focused" kick entails a legal liability and, furthermore, it renders actual contact in the sport of kickboxing dangerous. We believe that contact is absolutely necessary for proper judgment of distance. Anyone who has been conditioned to use only "focused" kicks and blows will use only such when the opportunity presents itself. Should he attempt to pull his blows or kicks too soon, these will be inefficacious and, should he not, they may be unnecessarily damaging or even lethal. Against a moving target, such as the human body, "focused" kicks afford little control. If one, however, has first learned how to use ordinary kicks and punches in full balance and with a good degree of accuracy, he may then usefully add "focusing." Such an approach will give him not only the choice of the target, but also of the type of punch or blow he is going to use. We believe that this degree of freedom is invaluable.

Developing and conditioning the muscles, as earlier explained, is only one part of their preparation for efficient use in actual combat. One should be training with the ultimate goal of transferring to the target all the power his body can develop during the very brief time of the impact. This involves physical as well as mental concentration. Since time is involved with motion, it follows that speed is very important as we have already seen. Furthermore, the attack must transmit to the target, at the point of impact, not only the kinetic energy developed by the attacking limb in its trajectory, but also the one developed by the motion of the body behind it. Therefore:

a. The smaller the area of impact, the more destructive the result, because it will mean more pounds per square inch.

b. The less dissipation of power through cushioning from the joints involved, the better its transfer to the target. Hence, the necessity of complete tension of the attacking limb as well as of the body at the moment of impact. Complete exhalation helps this. Such concentration of resources is the "focus."

In order to allow the shock waves generated by the impact to propagate through the target, withdraw instantly the attacking limb. Instant relaxation of the involved muscle helps achieve this speedy withdrawal. A sandbag will provide a good practice area for developing power. You can easily conclude from the foregoing that there is no need to develop calloused and deformed hands in order to deliver powerful blows.

 

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