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About Power: Strength, Speed, and Timing

I was speaking to a student tonight after class and I said to him, "Right now, I am more powerful than you."

I explained to him him that power depends on strength, speed, and timing (along with such factors as proper body alignment, weight shifting, technique, etc.).  I told the student that he was certainly stronger than me, but that his timing was not there yet.  With proper timing, he would be more powerful than me.

My second son, Charles, was also there.  I mentioned that Charles is more powerful than me. Even though I might be a little faster than him, he is much stronger and has better timing than me.

We are always working on body dynamics in the dojo.  There are a number of factors. But for me, strength, speed and timing are key when it comes to power.

It is difficult to become stronger.  It takes hard work and time.  It is difficult to become faster.  Generally, I think that people have a certain maximum speed.  Once you are efficient, you cannot move faster.  You can move smarter, but not faster.  But timing is something that we can work on and improve without too much effort.  Better timing is largely a matter of eliminating wasted movement.  It is hard to become much stronger when you are older.  It is not that hard to develop better timing, even as one becomes older.

I mentioned that my son Charles has better timing than me.  Because I usually teach beginners or young yudansha, I almost always move in a way that is appropriate for them.  I move in a way that they can see and copy.  As a result, I am not moving in my natural way, and my timing is thrown off.  In particular, I tend to throw my techniques late.  I also enlarge the lines of my koshi movements, again so that the students can see and copy me.  But this throws off my own timing, which reduces my overall power.  My son tends to move in his natural way, and does his best to break it down for the students.

How powerful are you?  How are your strength, speed, and timing?  Are these things that you are working on?


Charles C. Goodin