Basically for a strike to be fast it simply needs efficient motion. This means it must have three elements:
Must come from point of origin
Must be economical
Must be non-telegraphic
Umberto Salvagnin, Flickr. Some rights reserved.
The strike coming from point of origin simply means the hand or foot moves from where it already is; if the hand is up, you strike down, as an example. To go out of the way to deliver the strike would not only make it slower and use up more energy, but it would also make it telegraphic, meaning it can easily be seen and detected. This is jokingly referred to sometimes as the “John Wayne” punch, meaning that the person draws the fist back before delivering the punch. Such attacks take longer and can be seen coming, giving the opponent time to defend.
The strikes must also be economical which means your delivery uses as little movement as possible or only enough motion as is necessary but the impact is still effective; remember though, it bears repeating, that the strike must still be effective. If it has no travel or the path is an incorrect angle and line of entry, it can be fast but lose all of its power and effectiveness. In other words, the strike must first have a path that ensures the weapon hits the target square and does not glance off and must build adequate momentum to have an effect on the opponent. Taps won’t do, you want to hit hard.
I’ve already alluded to telegraphic strikes. These are strikes that can be detected by the opponent because there is “wind up” of some sort; drawing back or issuing some other movement that signals to your opponent that you are about to hit him and how you are trying to hit him.
By Jane Davees (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
While energy and muscles have something to do with speed, the underlying thing that makes you fast are principles of correct motion.
In 1981, at the age of 11, I began training in Goju Ryu Karate at a local community center on the Central Coast of California. I trained there for about a year. In 1984, my family moved to Northern California, where I began training in Kenpo Karate under Professor Charles "Chuck" Epperson. I trained at Professor Epperson's dojo for about a year. I left the dojo, but returned in 1994. I earned ranks up through second-degree black belt under Chuck Epperson. I tested for brown and black belts in front of Master Richard "Huk" Planas, first-generation Ed Parker Kenpo black belt. I taught classes at Professor Epperson's dojo from 1998 to 2002. I have also taught private lessons for friends and family. I have training in Doce Pares Eskrima under Charles Epperson and have attended seminars by Master Anthony Kleeman and Grandmaster Cacoy Canete. I have also trained in DeCuerdas Eskrima under Professor James Muro. In addition to my martial arts training, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, have worked in the Human Services field since 1996, and currently spend most of my time writing web articles.