Most karate school areas, through its trainers, transmit systematically the importance of knowing how to control the punching and kicking techniques (atemi-waza) to their students/athletes. The control is of utmost importance in order to practice karate safely. However many forget the basic principle of martial arts or combat sports its effectiveness.
Many “teachers” make the mistake of asking their disciples to control punches and kicks, without them really know how to use fists and feet properly. To better understand the effectiveness of a technique constant repetition in the “air” is not enough. It is also not necessary to fight every time to achieve the desired effect. However one should teach hitting to better understand why is necessary to have control.
Many former karate practitioners define their passage through the martial art as an antithesis of the word martial. They learned not to fight. Do not know how to perform a punch or a kick in a moment of physical confrontation is highly devastating for those who had learn a martial art for years. The bag training assumes a key role here. It helps mechanized movements and especially to be aware of what hit without “control” really means – in the sense of not having to stop the movement before the contact with something.
With bag training you will understand how to best position your body to have more impact power. It is important to punch without and with gloves. Obviously there are several aspects that must be trained before you start hitting the bag with your feet, fists, knees or elbows. Everything must be done progressively. You have to play with distances and create different training scenarios to enhance the most of the techniques. Throwing thousands of punches in the “air” and never really been applied, can bring unpleasant surprises in the future if you ever need to use it to defend yourself.
Let´s see; an armbar and a choke are always equal in training, in competition or self-defense. Strike techniques (atemi-waza) should also be the same. We cannot tested them in the bodies of training partners, so the bag training helps us to gain notion of the “damage” that can be caused when fists or legs strikes are used properly.
Control is nothing more than to stop exactly at the time before the transmission of impact. Once you know how to “hit” then you can control. Because then you will understand the kind of damage it can cause. It is therefore important to know how to hit, for not doing so consciously. Not learn to “hit” is therefore a big mistake.
Any competitor in the mood, in karate, will execute thousands of punches throughout his career. A professional will perform millions of punches. These repetitions will increase efficiency by neuro-muscular level – the links established between the brain and muscles. These are repetitions that will allow the competitor to punch more accurately. However if I want to increase my strength, weight training is essential. For fast and powerful punches you need strong legs.
In order to have effective arms techniques and be able to score according to the arbitration criteria, I will have to have a balance of muscle strength that comes from connecting to the floor the leg muscles, and is transmitted through the muscles of the shoulders and arms. In WKF karate fighting it is essential that my two feet (legs) are flat on the ground, so that at the time of completion of fist techniques (tsuki), my chances of success (rate scoring) increase (of course you need to take into account several variables involved in fighting itself).
Therefore the importance of the need to exercise your legs, since, as previously said the strength to punch properly comes from the bottom up. Trained legs are indispensable. Any high yield karateka easily realize that score, especially in the abdomen, with his fists, it is virtually impossible if one of the legs is not in contact with the ground.
Also is in the legs that are the larger muscles of the human body and activate the largest anabolic effect in the central nervous system. And these anabolic effects continue to other muscle groups. Thus it can be said that a good strength training adapted to the legs literally builds stronger arms. This in turn should also be worked out for the acquisition of power.
Suggestion on how to develop strength in the gym:
Reps: less than 6, with higher load at 85% of 1 rep max.
Series by muscle group: more than 4 series
Weekly frequency for each muscle group: 2 to 3 days per week
Interval between Training: between 48 to 72 hours
Interval between workouts and exercises: 3 minutes rest
Execution speed of exercises: slow
Training programs with loads produce significant increased strength in a relatively short time. 25 to even 100% in periods of 3 to 6 months, at intervals of 3 weekly sessions. Fast hands are the result of strong legs.
Weeks before the competition my body and mind were settled to achieve my goal: victory. But this was not as easy as it looks. To win a medal at European or world level in WKF karate is extremely difficult. Let´s take a look in my journey and see how I did it.
First of all my preparation started a year in advanced and I trained all year with no stops. Week after week and competition after competition, my body and mind were getting shaped in order to obtain maximum results. But through the process not all the times I was motivated to train hard as I did. That was the time that my mind and body fought each other. My body was hurt, tired and anxious for rest. But I had to train…
So I settled my mind: “Nuno if you want results you should train harder”. Through the season I won some tournaments but I also lose some. My secret was never “giving up”.
I got the medal and when I look back I really can tell that without effort this would not be possible. Without pain, sweat, dedication and many hours of hard work, my goals wouldn’t be achieved. So the most important thing in order to win a medal is to believe in you. And when you think the train is hard remember the competition is harder.
Now I feel that I did my job. But most important I feel happy with myself. And that gives me energy to start preparing the next bout. If you want results you got to repeat the process all over again. That´s the way of the champions – and the champions are not only the ones that get the medals. Are also (especially) those who have the strength to keep on training.