Kenpo: Power, Accuracy and Speed

To be effective, your strikes, punches and kicks must have these three elements:

  • Power
  • Accuracy
  • Speed

And in that order of importance. Though, it is debatable. I’ve heard some argue that accuracy is just as important as power. I can definitely see that argument as valid.

Let’s explore.

Why You Need Power, Accuracy and Speed

Let’s say you are attacked. You can counter attack but the effectiveness of that counter–if it is a strike, punch or kick–will depend on if you hit hard enough, if you hit a target that will have an effect on the attacker and if you can even get your attack to land.

So, let’s break it down.

Clearly, a weak hit will have little effect on the attacker. For your attack to have power you must use proper body mechanics and it must have travel. If you aren’t putting your body into it and let it build momentum, then it will just be a little tap. You never want to sacrifice power for speed. This is why speed is at the bottom of the list as far as what your hits need to be effective.  You can hit very quickly if all your doing is tapping somebody, but none of those hits are going to have much effect.

In addition, you want that hit to reach the right target. There are targets on the attacker’s body which, when hit hard enough, have a stunning or disabling effect. The temple, the bridge of the nose, the philtrum nerve, the cheek nerves, the jaw, the throat, the solar plexus, the bladder, the groin; these are some of the targets that will either stop the attacker completely or stun him long enough for you to get away or commit to follow-up moves.

Though speed is the lowest priority here, it is still important. It can ensure that the hit even lands at all. If you’re too slow and even telegraphic (showing the attacker what you’re going to do by moving too “big”), then nothing you throw is going to hit its mark. Not only that, but speed is part of what generates power.

One of the things that makes the boxer’s cross such an effective technique is due to the travel behind it; it is done with the rear hand, so it is allowed to build up momentum. The common way it is delivered is by it being set up with the jab preceding it. Jab, cross–that’s an old stand-by of boxers and street fighters.

This first move could be a feint or fake or a jab to draw attention high.

Then it can be followed by the cross, in this case a low one.

Here is an even more basic example, using a stick. In this example, the stick itself lends an advantage, being a hard weapon hitting flesh and bone, and the travel on the strike illustrated here is substantial. The weapon is high, comes down hard with velocity and travel right down on the flesh, bone and nerves of the hand or wrist.

So, it is important to be conscious of what is effective in terms of kicks, punches and strikes and what it is you’re trying to do. To end a fight quickly, you either want to administer some disabling pain or go for the knockout. You can only do that with enough power behind the hit, it has to hit the right target accurately to have an effect and you actually have to get it in there to the target which means you also need speed.


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