Thursday, November 26, 2015

Practice Slow to Move Fast

I've gotten faster over the years, not because I practice fast, but because I practice slow. Slow might be the wrong word to use because I've slowly sped up with time without me being aware of it. I practice as slowly as I need to, so I can perform each technique correctly.

I've often read that one must practice at full speed and power if they are going to increase speed and power, and I just don't believe it anymore. It makes sense on the face of it that one must practice fast to become fast like a runner pushing themselves harder during each run, but it is not the same thing. The runner gets faster through the building of strength, but the martial artist does not rely on strength.

Having a strong body is not technique, it is merely the expression of natural ability, genetics. If a strong body defeated technique than there would be no need for the martial arts. The gym would be enough. Moving fast to get faster would be like lifting weights to lift heavier weights. Speed and power for the martial artist comes from technique, the proper body mechanics used to trump genetics and prevail over strength alone.

Technique needs to be practiced correctly. Haste makes waste the old saying goes and it's true of karate. Practicing fast before the movements are understood and ingrained completely in one's self leads to sloppy ineffective movement. Perfect practice makes perfect. We need to be careful not to condition ourselves with incorrect body mechanics. Like sharpening a blade without a constant angle, no matter how much we run the blade over the stone it will be dull, warped and weak. The angle needs to be constant and correct for it to become a razor.

Over time one will become faster through diligent and methodical training, which will stay with them after the peak of their strength has faded.