Help with Speed
Hey everyone, I was just wondering if some of the more experienced members here (aka nearly everyone here haha) how do you train for hand speed? I practice Eskrima so this is very important to me. I already try to put in at least 30-60 minutes of going throw the different "counts" i've learned (4 count, 6 count, 8 count, the variations i.e. "broken" and so forth). I think this will increase speed in the long term, but is there a more effective way to do this?
Thanks! And I'm not just asking eskrimadors, I'm asking anyone who trains for hand speed; i.e. boxers, Chunners, etc. I'll probably move this to a more general forum, but since I'm asking specifically for Eskrima, I thought I'd post here first.
Again, thank you~
Reps are the only way to learn anything, but you have to do your reps well.
Originally Posted by stvo131
First, relax, too many beginners (and not beginners) slow themselves down by putting too much tension in the arm. In an effort to get speed they over muscle the technique, activating antagonistic muscles and slowing the whole process down. The saying "slow is smooth, smooth is fast" applies here, don't throw your technique faster than your form allows.
This might be out of the scope of your question, but in application against an opponent your timing and your ability to not telegraph is equally or more important than actual handspeed.
Don't worry too much about speed at first, try to get clean strikes with good follow-through.
That said, I have 2 suggestions for speeding up:
1. Breathe, you'll notice a lot of FMA guys tend to kind-of hiss when they're twirling or doing siniwalis, focussing on your breathing helps you relax and flow better, and the better you're flowing the faster you're striking.
2. Tyres. Work the tyres, all the time.
Start out slowly, use the patterns you're doing in your partner work, then try to speed up a little bit with every rep. One of our seniors taught me to "visulalize" a metronome or drumbeat in my head when I do this, going like "bam....bam....bam...bam...bam...bam..bam..bam..ba m.bam.bam.bam.bambambam" if that makes any sense.
Don't think about speed, just practise. As you become more fluent, you will become more efficient in your movement and so it will look like you're fast.
If you aim for speed, then you will likely be less effective in your technique and will also have less energy in the movement.
Tires for stickwork, heavybag for punches. Always work in combos. Work angle changes and head movement as that is a good habit to instill as well.
Don't rush through the strikes for sheer quantity. 50 little tippy tap hits won't do anything for you in an exchange. Two or three decisive shots that flow together well are far superior. So when you work your combos, don't try silly 27 shot patterns. Basically, stick to quality over quantity.
Move your head, make your entry, work a 2-5 strike combo, then work on a good tactical exit or clinch. Your hand speed will get better through practice, good form, and volume over time.
I believe that numbered sequences are fine and all, but attribute development like speed should be done in a less choreographed manner. Study how a boxer develops hand speed, extrapolate to stick. Your stickwork should have a couple of different "jabs" that you can throw out there before following with conventional swings. If you've got the jabbing part down, your other strikes don't need to be super fast in an absolute sense. You also won't ever be throwing a 12 strike sequence, and certainly not one in the exact 1-12 order, so practice entering and throwing a few strikes and moving out is the better way to train, IMHO. That's not to say that you can't do continuous cycling patterns to work on speed, just that you won't apply it that way.
Some fundamentals to practice with good speed:
-backhand jab: shoot the right hand out like a straight punch to the side, hitting with the tip, in a fairly straight line (don't lead with the hand or swing with an arc)
-vertical whip: from a closed position, flywheel your stick down, keeping it on that side of the body (you should be able to repeat this several times in a row)
-downward witik: snap the flat or spine of the stick down on the top of the head with a reverse curling motion of the wrist. This can be inserted right after a block and/or before a solid backhand
-left and right abaniko: from a high position parallel with the ground, turn the wrist to strike with the tip
-buahat araw: from a boxing-type stance with the stick chambered above the right shoulder, snap the stick down and forward without any windup. I like to do it in an eliptical motion with the pommel ending at the right hip, ready to sak sak. If I see them trying to roof it I'll try to pull it closer and keep the stick 90 degrees to the forearm, to avoid hitting the block so I can instantly follow with the thrust.
You can practice all this stuff in the air, against a target like a tire pile or desquerdes, or with a partner (probably the best). I feel that good footwork and good entry with direct attacks can make someone appear to be faster than they actually are. In fact, training the things that make one appear to be faster is at least as useful as training pure speed, IMHO. If you watch old eskrimadores play with young ones, the young ones usually comment on how fast the old guys are, but if you watch carefully its often more about efficiency than absolute speed.
The best way to be fast is to practice your strikes until you don't have to think about them anymore.
Everyone here has already thrown out great advice, i'll add by saying work on relaxing, specifically learn when to relax your grip. Keep a relaxed but firm grip until impact and squeeze on impact then relax immediately. This will save energy immensly! Also learn how to coordinate your body movement with your strikes. Depending on your style power is generated differently some guys drop weight, some use the left hand to assist, and some torque the body. In each if these instances power does not come from the arm. If you can generate power with your body and move your body as a unit you will be able to increase speed via efficiency rather than simply moving your arms fast.
Also, use a lighter weapon. One of the best ways to increase speed is to actually move faster, kind of like increasing rep numbers with pullups is best achieved by actually doing pullups. Some guys advocate using a heavy stick which I think has it's place but nothing can replace moving quickly and being comfortable. You shouldn't be forcing speed.
As a newb speed should be one of your last concerns. By the way, which style of eskrima do you practice? You should probably be asking your instructor these questions also, he knows you best and knows what you should be focusing on.