IntroThe sport of fast draw, also known as quick draw, is the ability to quickly draw a handgun and accurately fire it at a target in the process. The one with the fastest draw and best accuracy is the winner.
Fast draw is one of the fastest sports in the world. Its creation was inspired by accounts of gunfights in the Old American West, such as the final duel in the 1953 movie “Shane.” The current World Fast Draw Association (WFDA) record for Open Class Fast Draw in an event called Standing Balloons is .208 of a second (that includes the time it takes to react, draw, fire and pop a balloon target at eight feet away).
Sparring kicksSparring is like an Old American West gunfight. To have effective kicks in sparring, you must draw quickly and hit the opponent before the opponent can hit you.
To get within range to attack, you must quickly close the gap between you and your opponent. Many martial artists cross the gap like old folks make love, they start slow, then taper off. To be an effective kicker, you must be able to move your entire body almost as fast as you can move the kicking leg.
To beat your opponent to the draw, you must kick without showing tells that indicate your intention to kick and you show must watch your opponent for tells that indicate an intention to kick. Be like the Jack-in-the-box toy, where the box plays melodic music, and then suddenly Jack pops out of the box. You lull the opponent into unawareness by your rhythmic movements, and then suddenly attack.
Just as the fast draw competitor does, hone your kicking technique until there is no wasted movement. The difference between a point and a miss is just a split-second difference in the time it takes to execute and complete the kick.
Just as in fast draw competition, you can’t score if you don’t hit the target. Before you fire a kick, you must acquire a target, track it, aim, and pull the trigger. If your kick is slow, off-target, or weak, then it was a wasted kick.
You need powerful, not large, legsTo score with a kick, you must move your body quickly as well as kick quickly, both of which require powerful legs. The following techniques help build powerful legs.
StretchingYou want to stretch the muscle groups that receive the most stress during explosive movements: the hamstrings, hip extensors, hip flexors, groin muscles, thigh, and calf muscles.
The same muscle groups that need to be stretched also need to be made stronger. Strength and flexibility must be equal partners to maximize power and prevent injuries.
The following exercises, and the muscle groups they affect, should be included:
- Knee lifts (hip flexors)
- Kickbacks (hip extensors)
- Hamstring curls (hamstrings)
- Parallel squats (hip extensors, thighs)
- Sissy squats (thighs)
- Calf raises (calf muscles)
- Sit-ups (abdominal muscles)
- Back extensions (lower back)
Hill trainingHill training is designed to shock the muscles and central nervous by overloading them. The body will respond to a reasonable overload of this sort with faster leg movement and longer steps. A slope of ten to fifteen degrees is sufficient. Hill training consists of three phases: the run-up, the run-down, and the sprint at the bottom.
During the run-up, run uphill 50 to 75 yards, while picking the knees up high and concentrating on a powerful feeling of bounding up the hill, pushing off with the toes with each stride. Strength and anaerobic, muscular endurance (the ability to perform at full speed, without rest) will be improved.
The run-down is easier and quicker. The length of each stride increases, while at the same time forcing the legs to move faster. The central nervous system is overloaded by having to deal with the fact that you are "running faster than you can run," which resets its upper limits as far as speed is concerned. Relax and let gravity do the work but concentrate, it is easy to exceed your limits and fall.
During the bottom sprint, as you reach the bottom flat, carry your speed, and even increase it for another 50 yards. Then gradually slow down to a slow jog. The bottom sprint convinces the body that it can go just as fast on level ground.
Power trainingThe purpose of power training is to help the body learn to improve nerve-muscle reactions and explosiveness. There are many drills of this kind, and they should all be entered into gradually.
Some general exercises to build power in the legs are:
- Bounding. Take very long, springy, bounding steps.
- Ground-to-box jumps. Jump off both feet up onto a box.
- Box-to-ground jumps. Jump off a box and bounce up immediately, taking advantage of the stretch reflex.
- Bounce back. While shadow sparring, bounce backward and then explode forward with a technique.
- Drop. While shadow sparring, bend knees and then explode forward.
- Resistance/assistance drills. Use a partner or piece of equipment to either help or hinder your initial starting motion. The first few inches of movement are what counts. Concentrate on exploding forward as quickly and explosively as possible.
- Resistance drills. Explode forward into a technique while wearing a weighted belt or practice attacking while a partner behind you resists your movement by means of a belt to your belt.
- Assistance drills. Step forward while your partner tugs you forward during your starting motion using a belt tied to your belt; partner may also push from behind. Or, with a partner holding a belt tied to your belt from the front, the partner pulls and you bounce back against the resistance and then immediately spring forward while partner pulls you forward.
The ultimate training method to improve your kicksPerform thousands of kicks on a heavy bag or with an opponent under the watchful eye of an experienced trainer who can spot even the smallest problems with your kicking techniques and give you useful feedback on how to correct the problems.