At Pacific International Taekwondo, we train our students to hit hard. We want you to practice unloading massive amounts of power into each technique. We also want that power to be automatic, burned so deeply into your muscle memory that you don’t have to think about it. Focus and precision needs be honed also, it’s no good having power if you can’t hit what your aiming for. Our goal is that, should you ever need to kick or punch someone in a real-life self-defense situation; your body will strike with devastating accuracy without you having to think about it at all.
One of the best ways to train that kind of power and precision into your body is to try practicing against a live partner. We love to train with live partners because there is no room for cheating. When you practice against imaginary targets, for example, your aim and sense of distance will always be perfect. With a live partner, however, your kick or punch will either be well-placed or else it will not. That said, your training partner is more than a punching bag for you to practice on. They are giving you the gift of their time, attention, and trust. You owe them the courtesy of making the most of this gift.
One good way to show that courtesy; is to pay attention to your training. Specifically, pay attention to the way the techniques feel as your muscles and joints swivel, flex, contract and release. Feel the power of the technique and your body working in unison to deliver a well-aimed blow toward another person’s body.
Another way is to stop your techniques at 90% extension and about two (2) centimeters away from impact. This kind of self-control does two things. First, you’ll be demonstrating respect to your training partner by not hurting them. Causing unnecessary injuries is a terrible way to train, and will quickly ensure that no one will want to practice with you. Secondly, you are training yourself to have laser-like precision and control. In a real defence situation, it will be very easy to extend that extra 10% of distance—and go right through your target.
Then, for those times when you really want to feel the impact of landing a full-contact strike, ask your training partner to hold a kicking shield for you. Strike the shield with as much power, speed, and with as clean a technique as you can manage. Feeling that kind of contact in your body, along with developing targeting precision, is another way of developing the kind of muscle memory necessary to hit hard, automatically.
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