IntroFor a technique to transfer all its power to the target, it must arrive on time. If it’s "too early" or "too late," the power of the technique will be diminished.
Stages of an attackAlthough the execution of a technique appears to be one smooth action, the technique involves two phases: preparation and execution. For a technique to achieve maximum effectiveness, it must be "set up" and then “delivered.” Although both the phases may occur in a moment, the preparation phase takes longer the execution phase. The execution phase happens almost instantly, while the preparation phase may take seconds.
PreparationIn preparation for an attack, the fighter must know what target to attack, which weapon to use in the attack, when to attack, and where the target will be when the weapon arrives. You may need to spar an opponent for many hours before you learn to anticipate the opponent’s actions, so you will have time to prepare before execution of an attack.
Know what target to attackThe target may be preselected, or it may be a target of opportunity. For example, you may choose to attack the head, or you may notice an opening for an attack to the ribs has suddenly appeared.
Know which weapon to useWhich weapon to use in the attack depends on:
- Range. For example, a ribs target may open but, if you are too close to the opponent, there will not be enough room for a kick, so the only weapons available are the hands.
- Availability. For example, a ribs target may open while the opponent is attacking. However, your arms are busy blocking the attack, so the only available weapon is the lead leg.
- Location of the target. For example, a target may open on the opponent’s left side, which may limit you to only using weapons on your right side.
- Condition of your weapons. For example, a target may open on the opponent’s left side, but your last block may have sprained your right wrist so you can’t use your right hand as a weapon at that moment.
Know when to attackMost attacks will occur instantly, but there may be a reason to delay an attack. For example, you may notice that during your attack with a back fist to the head that the opponent’s block left his or her ribs exposed. Rather than trying an attack at that moment, it may be better to wait awhile and then fake a back fist to the head with an instant reverse punch to the ribs that you expect to be open when the opponent reacts to the fake.
The best times to attack are when the opponent:
- Is about to attack and is too preoccupied with the attack to think about defense.
- Has just finished an attack and is about to withdraw.
- Is moving backward or is withdrawing.
- Is distracted by you, such as when you suddenly glance past the opponent and with a surprised look on your face.
- Has blocked your first attack and is open for a second attack.
- Stops movement or loses concentration.
- Is inhaling.
- Is a bouncer who has just bounced or just came down from a bounce.
- Is off balance or is changing stances.
Know where the target will be when the weapon arrivesWhen you punch at the opponent’s head, it may not be there when the punch arrives; the opponent may duck or lean to avoid it. You need to watch your opponent’s defensive movements and anticipate where the head will be, not where it is.
A punch or kick must be chambered or cocked for it to have maximum power. This does not mean there is an obvious chambering, for that would alert the opponent to an imminent attack; instead, the chamber is incorporated into the attack.
ExecutionOnce all the preparation is completed, then you fire your weapon at the target with precision, power, and quickness. Beginning and intermediate students are taught to time their hand attacks so they impact just as the stepping foot touches the floor.
Advanced students learn to vary the timing of their attacks so they arrive at the target just before or just after the step touches the floor, so they may confuse the opponent’s timing. Also, when stepping forward with a reverse punch, you may choose to delay delivery to gain maximum benefit from hip rotation. Many novice students deliver hand techniques late all the time, which means most of their attacks are blocked or avoided.