Training Warriors for the 21st Century

Training Warriors for the 21st Century
Joong Do Kwan Traditional Taekwondo cross training with Kidokwan Perth

6 Nov 2014

Force = [ (Mass x Acceleration) - Fallacies ]

I tire of hearing this equation bandied about by people using it to talk about power.

It's not that the equation is irrelevant to the generation of power. The problem is that the equation is regularly abused by people using it to promote their own pet concepts, or to seem more clever than they are.

Whatever you think of power, the true worth of a practitioner is measured by his understanding of risk and reward. Meaning all the skills that help him cover against strikes or block them coming his way need to always be present. Next is the tactical understanding that the closest distance between your tool and the intended target is a straight line. Pull your tool back and chamber for more power, and you might find yourself on the ground nursing a black eye.

The two factors that help you generate Force - which is what martial artists are interested in are the interplay of mass and acceleration. In a discussion recently I stated that a practitioner will find his upper limit of speed and acceleration rather quickly. What I mean by that is that with a little training and maintenance, most people will achieve the maximum they can ever achieve in a short amount of time. How much fast twitch muscle fibre you have is how much you'll have. If you're genetically gifted, that's great ... but it'll take a huge amount of additional effort to eke out very marginal gains after you first get it.

Mass however is a very different part of the equation, and this is where I find myself having the most contention with some colleagues. Jesse Enkempe in How to Get Massive Power in Your Karate Punches hit the nail on the head when he said "If you are a beginner ... the only mass you'll be able to move into the target is basically your hand. If you train a little longer, you might finally get the whole arm behind the punch. That's a few more pounds! And if you train even more ... you might finally get your whole body's mass behind the punch."

The trick is not attempting to put on mass by waiting for the effects of resistance training or by going to Macca's. And the fallacy of thinking is that everyone's mass is the same. Your mass might be the same if you're standing still, but I can assure you that an untrained person cannot shift his mass as effectively as I can. Simply put, I can accelerate and decelerate more of my mass to support a wide range of striking tools.

In the post Creating a New Upper Limit to Your Punching Power, I talk about creating more mass using compound muscles to drive the strike. The body structure supports both the initial acceleration, and the final deceleration. This closed system type of process helps transmit mass into the point of impact. This is the secret to striking with the body as one.

This contrasts heavily with people trying to throw their strike as a flail into the target. This is a haphazard motion - which while capable of generating force is not generating force effectively. Meaning you will need a strong person to strike the target strongly. With the traditional punch as I described above, a smaller person will have a new found upper limit to punching power that will simply be astounding.

I urge you to re-examine these concepts. After thirty years in the martial arts, this insight gives me cause to return to much of my previous assumptions, and in discussions with other people who have experienced similar gains, we agree that everything is 'the same, yet different' - just through this new insight.

And this new insight directly affects my ability to generate a huge amount of power. Against other respected and experienced instructors, I have used simple strikes whilst they hold strike mitts, and the bruising which occurs as the power blitzes through the target is serious. I have literally had instructors complain about their bruises without mentioning that there was a target that existed between their body and my fist.

I'm not saying this to boast. I am saying that with what feels like minimal effort on my part, the power generated is so frightening that all martial artists should explore this training in order to fully appreciate the value of traditional training.

Keep safe.

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Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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Mir said...

I agree that the formula has it's use, but it doesn't take into account that we aren't talking just about the fist or foot when we are talking about a Martial Arts strike, there is also the large aspect of applying one's body weight into the movement through balance shifting which involves more than just a few muscles.

Paul Chau said...

It's intersting to imagine how this equation can work for you when practising martial arts. I wouldn't have thought of this when I tried Taekwando out when I was younger. I've put all the stuff I've learnt away into self storage already haha!