Reaction Time in Karate, Kung Fu, Aikido, and All the Martial Arts

Getting Rid of Reaction Time

Reaction time, in karate, Kenpo, taekwondo or any martial art, is a fascinating beast. I say beast because it is the one thing people have that they should get rid of. It is one thing that can get you killed faster than a bomb in the diapers.

Reaction time is reaction, which means that it is something occurring after something else has happened. Do you understand what this means? If you possess reaction time, you are moving second and behind whoever is launching a punch at your face.

Now you are forced to move, and this because of the attacker’s direction, rather than in keeping with your own wishes. That means you are the target, and you are attempting to get out of the way, to construct a good block, or whatever. It means you are not moving because you want to and decided to.

The best way to understand this thing is if there is attacker A on the A position. And a defender B on the B position. And a third position, maybe off to the right, which we will refer to as spot C.

The amount of time it takes A to go to B, B can move to C. But B HAS TO move at the exact same moment. If B moves after A, then he is going to get his block knocked off.

And, if B moves because of something he learned in a lesson, or because of a drill, or because of anything else, then he is moving as if yesterday. B must watch A ‘in the present moment,’ and he must move in accordance with his own wishes and not because of what A is doing. This is the only way for B to actually live through a real fight.

There is, interestingly enough, the point of view of A, and of actually being able to hit somebody. If you have seen how many misses there are in the MMA, then you will understand this. Simply, A is moving to where B is, but B is no longer there.

In other words, for A to actually make contact with his opponent, he must launch himself not to where B is, because B is going to move, and the location B is where he used to be. And A must not attempt to ‘curve’ the trajectory of his strike, for that will destroy his base and take power out of the movement. The trick is merely to understand the one sentence: in the time A goes to B, B goes to C.

In summation, let me say that many people talk about timing and slipping strikes and that sort of thing, but they usually don’t really understand the equation I have given you here. To understand this equation-in the time A moves to B, B moves to C-you should write it out, along with every fight situation you can imagine, on a piece of paper. No matter what martial art you study, Kenpo, Kung Fu, Aikido, or whatever, this piece of data will enable you to shorten and even get rid of your reaction time, and elevate your martial art to a much higher level.

zen martial arts

This has been a page about reaction time in the Martial Arts.

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