This is a follow up to my post The Way of Least Resistance: "Hitting Harder: Physics Made Easy" by Dan Djurdjevic.
Check out this match gone absolutely wrong. Both fighters are ready to rumble, totally prepared to go head-to-head. The protection worn reduces much of the risk of broken fingers, teeth or groin injuries. Yet martial arts is inherently a dangerous activity - forget that, and pit bone against bone ... eventually something is going to break. This is the question 'when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object, which is going to give'?
This gets me to my point - and my point is that power generation is closely tied with fighting strategy. And fighting strategy is as much about inflicting power onto the opponent as it is about reducing risk to oneself.
I remember contacting shin against shin in one of my early sparring sessions when I was a young green belt. Yep, we didn't wear any protection back then, sister. NO shin guard, no groin guard (ouch), no mouth guard (wooo), and certainly no gloves! Shin against shin was the worst feeling ever. I thought I had my leg bent into two. I was reduced to a hobble - totally useless for anything.
After a couple of these very painful incidents, you learn really quickly that no kick should go out without the ability to retract it. Even later on when we started shin conditioning as brown belts, we'd still be able to retract our kicks if a knee was put in the way of its flight path. This is wisdom. There are no points for hobbling yourself!
The main problem here? It is that the lower part of the shin is not as strong as the upper part of the shin. Send a lot of force that way and you are naturally hitting a target that can withstand much stronger impact with much less pain. The person who foolishly conditions his shin only deadens the nerves to pain receptors -- shin bones don't get much stronger from the coke bottles.
Being able to stop your kick on a dime, and just touching the opponent allows you control to redirect it up a different path midway. Or it gives you the ability to re-engage your COG and strike with your hands whilst in the previous instant your leg was up in the air - no doubt one of the training benefits from ITF's Taekwondo sine wave training or WTF's natural walking stance.
Martial ARts: Physical or Mental
How to do a high roundhouse kick to the head
Traditional Taekwondo Technique Workshop