Speed is very important in martial arts. Ngo Cho Kun is a kung fu based on strength and speed. The point is to knock the attacker down with one punch so they don’t get up again. But to make this more effective, not only should you have the strength to complete knock your opponent out, you should have the speed to be able to land the first punch. To be even more effective, you have to have speed. Speed can determine the results of a fight. As long as you can move faster than your opponent then you have an advantage.
To be able to snap a punch quickly, your muscles and tendons need to be loose and well trained. Your tendons allow you to make fast jerky motions and your muscles are used to overcome forces. Together, they improve the execution and impact of your attack.
You’re probably tired of hearing the age old saying “practice makes perfect”, and after hearing it a few hundred times, I’m definitely tired of it too. But the saying makes perfect sense and is used over and over again for a reason. If you keep doing the same thing, no matter what it is, over and over again, you’re bound to get better at it.
“I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee totally got that whole practice makes perfect thing. The person who has practised that one kick 10,000 times has probably at that point mastered that kick and will do a heck of a lot more damage than that person who tried out a few kicks, but didn’t really master any of them.
If you practice a move continuously for years, it becomes instinct and you are able to perform that move even when under pressure and in a stressful situation.
Sifu Dan knows something about this too. He keeps telling me to do the same form “one more time,” but funny enough, it’s never just one more time. One more time was said a few dozen times ago.
In martial arts, endurance means the ability to withstand forces and maintain your level of energy without sustaining injuries. Your body, including your heart, lungs, muscles and tendons, need to be able to function for whatever length of time required by the physical activity you are doing.
Building your endurance is a crucial part of your kung fu training. The different types of endurance training will work to increase your overall speed. Body conditioning is a type of training that improves the strength and endurance of ligaments and tendons. Shadowboxing is another type of endurance exercise that helps develop your agility.
Most importantly, endurance is obtained by continuous exercise. As a beginner, it’s easy for me to call it quits and take long breaks between workouts. My end goal is to improve in health, fitness, and my ability to fight. To reach my goals, I have to force myself to practice hard even on days where I feel too exhausted to workout.
Being simply strong is wasted if you are also slow. There’s nothing more fearsome than an attack that is both strong and fast. Training your muscles to move in certain motions can help you increase your speed. Strength training helps your body to maximise the efficiency of its use of oxygen and energy. This can also improve the body’s endurance so the body can perform faster and longer.
Strength training also fixes muscle imbalances that may have an effect on your speed and could cause injury. Proper strength training will cover all necessary muscle groups.
Do a lot of stretching
In all honesty, stretching is my least favourite part of any workout. Maybe it’s just me, but it sometimes feels like I’m not getting anything done by just stretching. Don’t worry, I know how important stretching is for recovery and circulation.
A lot of the moves you do in kung fu can be harmful to the body if they are not done correctly. While flexibility won’t actually increase your speed, it can help improve your range of motion and prevent injury.