What I love about teaching the occasional karate class , particularly working with newbies, is explaining and instructing basics. Good basic form and technique are the keys to strong skills later on. They are the foundation to a house of cards or the stock to a good soup. Form and technique also enable a small student able to generate more power and hit harder than someone twice her size. So, if you want your smaller heroine to land a strong blow to your big, bad villain, it’s possible. But writers have to keep it real. This isn’t TV.
Martial arts employs the use of physics. Here are three ways to generate more power when striking. Good use of one of these natural forces allows a small person to hit very hard. (Bruce Lee was not a big man, but he could deliver incredibly fast and powerful blows!)
- Gravity – Your heroine can stomp on your villain’s instep, ankle, or knee. If she does it properly, gravity and body weight will add considerable force to the kick.
- Momentum – She can shift her body weight forward while striking, using her forward motion on the horizontal plane to increase her power.
- Torque – A roundhouse kick is one example of using torque to increase power. The kicker uses the turning motion of the body like a golfer or baseball player.
There are forces karate students learn to maximize their strengths. Size, strength, and conditioning are factors as well. But every student can use correct form to increase his or her personal power.
I leave you with a clip of Bruce Lee. Yes, it’s a choreographed scene, but he is still amazing to watch. Notice the tight efficiency of his body. No wild swings. No unnecessary motions. Incredible speed, power, and grace. He is economy of motion in action. Enjoy!