As a martial artists, is it more important to focus on speed or power? Which is better?
I think this sums it up succinctly:
“If You’re Not First, You’re Last” — Ricky Bobby (played by Will Ferrell)
For those who need a little more to chew on, consider this:
Speaking offensively, you can have the most powerful strikes in the world, however, if you don’t “get there first” (or can’t get there at all), you’re likely to get a free facial. Defensively speaking, you also need to “be first” with your block (and then an immediate counter) before your attacker punches you.
Conversely, you can be the fastest striker in the world and get there first, however, if you don’t have power behind your strikes, you’re not going to “be first” to do some damage. Fortunately, you don’t need a lot of power in many of the strike employed in American Kenpo. Anyone who knows Finger Set understands this point.
With that said, you can have all the speed and power in the world, but if you’re not accurate, what does it really matter how fast or powerful you are? Granted, if you’re moving with the path of action, you can still do a tremendous amount of damage to surrounding targets, however, you should definitely strive to hit your intended (and hopefully most pain inducing) target for maximum effect.
Further, you can have all the speed, power and accuracy in the world, but without a properly formulated weapon, you can easily injure yourself. Executing a four finger eye poke and then jamming it into your opponents cheekbone not only could break or sprain your fingers, it could also turn the tied in your opponents favor.
And on an on it goes…
Speed is a necessary and important ingredient to self defense and something you can’t ignore.
In a nut shell, I would rather be first, than last. Just don’t forget about the other important things, too.
Feel free to share you thoughts in the form of a comment below.