Timing is essential in martial arts, competition and life. I remember Bill Wallace the first ever kickboxing champion teaching me “Cooking a steak, kissing a girl or kicking a person in the head…it is all about timing”. Without timing a martial artist will always be out of position and have a hard time (no pun intended) applying the techniques not only on the pads but also when sparring with a partner or fighting in the ring and cage. There is always a perfect time to strike. If the punch or kick is executed too early it will not generate maximum leverage and power, if the strike is delivered too late it will be overextended and weak. If the technique is performed at the right time it can feel like punching or kicking through butter, there is no sensation of impact just a smooth powerful strike that results in a knockdown or knockout. Bingo! There are various drills that I have developed or stolen to help refine timing when hitting pads.
One of the simplest timing drills is to hold up a focus mitt out of distance, the holder then moves towards the striker and the striker has too hit the pad at the right time with a jab or cross. If the strike is too early the pad will still be out of distance and they will over commit and overextend. If the strike is too late the hitter will not be able to fully extend their arm and will end with a shortened punch that lacks power. If they punch at precisely the right time they will hit the pad as it is coming towards them at maximum extension with good body mechanics and it will feel perfect to both the pad holder and hitter. Constant feedback by the pad holder is necessary to get the best from this drill.
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