One of the reasons I try early in my students learning cycle to uncover and teach natural rhythm is that – this concept of rhythm either enhances or infects nearly every movement and technique made in Krav Maga – and in other martial arts systems, including Karate, Kung Fu, Ju Jitsu, Thai Boxing just to name a few.
Training at speed or slowly with a rhythmic pace, builds the connections between movements, integrates the movements, and allows what were once disparate movements to become one larger motor skill. While this is an important process, the training concept I’ve been preaching of late is related to the rhythmic concept.
Essentially, in teaching a combative (that is, a punch, kick, elbow, etc.), instructors must teach students to learn to identify where the attacking limb should be physically (relative to the path the prescribed motor skills requires) in conjunction with what platform is providing the primary source of power.
When the attacking limb is being driven along the path the combative requires in sync with the platform providing the primary source of power, the combative will be efficient and powerful. While this is hard to imagine at first blush, an example will clarify the issue.
When a student throws a punch, he/she typically follows the “hands, body, feet” principle. If you’re not familiar with Krav Maga, this principle simply states, as a puncher (in this case) initiates a punch, the hand should move first, followed quickly by the body, and then the feet. This ensures efficiency in movement and effectively manages unwanted telegraphing motions.
Please don’t misunderstand. The “hands, body, feet” principle ensures each platform, at some point in the motor skill, is providing the primary source of power across a prescribed path. This issue became a centerpiece of a recent discussion as I taught The Fence punching technique. In The Fence, a hostile actor that has not actually become violent yet has surprised the defender. Hands rise and form a sort of hidden defensive position in which the defender controls the centerline and is in good position to launch a pre-emptive punch if needed. Here’s the tricky part, the punch is made approximately 12 inches from the target (due to the position the situation and The Fence have created).
The trick in optimizing a 12 inch punch (in this case) is to first recognize the puncher is only getting the benefit of the last half of the punching movement with the arm and the first half of the rotational movement with the body before fist to jaw contact. As I explain this reality, students quickly pick-up on a critical issue – how does the puncher reconcile the new movement sequence to create power?
The answer to this (and any other combative) is in understanding where the arm needs to be along the punching path relative to what platform is providing power. Here’s how it works. Follow the power from the ground (or feet) through the hips, into the shoulder, and out the knuckles into the target:
- First, the right foot (platform 1) drives – providing a forward push – as the punching hand immediately starts forward towards the target.
- Second, the right hip rotates (platform 2), capturing the power from the drive forward the right foot provides – now the punching arm is more than half way to the target.
- Third, the shoulder rotates forward, capturing the power of the right hip rotation, and the punching knuckles snap and drive through the jaw.
While this may seem confusing, this process will support your mastery of any combative. Take the time to think though this concept to double-check your combatives for speed, power, and efficiency.
This is most logically illustrated on video. So take a look!
…walk in peace.