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Thursday, May 20, 2010

More on Timing, Speed, Etc.

Got some interesting feedback and questions on the first part of this. A lot of it is really just about words, more than it is about concepts. This is as much about articulating things I already know, or at least, believe, as it is about sharing some sort of truth about fighting.

Just to clarify some stuff from last time: I don't think speed in of itself is bad. I just think that a) it is often overvalued by those new to training, and b) trying to develop it is often a point of diminishing returns. If you try to get fast, you'll succeed for a short time, but you also plateau pretty quickly. It also seems to be heavily limited by physiology and age, which makes it problematic for people who are more interested in personal safety.

Chris asked the reasonably intelligent question “I’m curious, however, if you'll be differentiating that from QUICKNESS, which is a very different attribute and one I personally think deserves some attention.
the basketball coach's koan: 'Be quick, but don't hurry.'"

The coach's koan reminds me of one of Tony Blauer's many aphorisms: You have all the time in the world, just don't take it. Or Kru Toy's constant reminder "Take your time. No hurry up."

As for the rest of...that is, essentially, what I'm trying to do with all of this.

As best I can work out, you've got two sets of related qualities. Qualities possessed by the individual fighter, and qualities that are depended on the relationship between two (or more) fighters.


Individual Qualities are those that aren’t dependent on an outside stimulus. Speed, as I defined it earlier, is one of those qualities. How fast your jab travels from point A to point B is totally independent of
everything except you (whether it lands or not is a different issue).

There’s a related quality, which I’ve been thinking of as fluidity or rhythm, but don’t have a good name for: the ability to transition from one movement to the next efficiently. It’s how well you can put a
combination together. Beginners often have trouble with combinations because they’re so focused on throwing everything with 100% power that they can’t transition smoothly. They lose track of the transitions which allow you to flow from one movement to the next in an efficient and fluid fashion.

As an example: one of the most common combinations that any stand up fighter is taught is the one-two, or the jab-cross. When most people first learn this, they tend to throw the jab, retract it, and then throw the
cross. The more seasoned/skilled practitioner will throw the jab, and then throw the cross as the jab retracts. It changes the rhythm of the hits, and makes it much more efficient.
Again, how effective the combination is depends on external factors. But you can get very fluid with certain combinations just by working on your own (shadowboxing—a highly underrated activity, bag work, etc.). The only danger there is you can become so good at throwing a certain combination that you keep throwing it even when it doesn’t make sense. Be warned.

The individual qualities are nice, but are ultimately, less important than the stuff that depends on the relationship between the two combatants. Again, this where I start to run into some terminology issues. All
of this stuff seems to fall under Timing, but timing has a bunch of separate aspects to it.
Perception Speed: Tony Blauer talks about this a lot, and his A-SAP Model™ provides a pretty good starting place for it. Perception speed is a question of how quickly you can identify a threat. The quicker you can identify it, the more options you have for how you respond to it. Emotional Climate Training™ is perfect for developing this, though a lot of people don’t have the patience for it.

I find myself wondering if perception speed is limited by physiological factors. I mean, EVERYTHING is limited by physiology, eventually, but I don’t how much it matters with regard to this.

There is Reaction Speed, or Response Time. How quickly you can DO something once you’ve recognized the threat. I’m not sure if that’s really worth separating from Perception Speed. This might be Chris’s quickness. Not quite sure.

This all seems to add up to two different, but related questions. One is How Fast Do You Move? The other is When Do You Move? Of the two, I think the latter is infinitely more important. That’s what I think of as
Timing.

Going to keep working on this. Have at least one unanswered question floating out there…

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