Initiation Speed

This will improve your quickness and explosiveness. You will learn all about non-telegraphing and economy of motion.

Initiation speed must precede movement speed if your attack is to be successful. It’s not how fast you move, but how soon you get there that counts! Your attack may be very fast in flight, but a slow takeoff will severely reduce your chances of effectively landing that attack on target.


The essential prerequisite for initiation speed is the ability to relax at will, even in the midst of a competitive battle.

You must learn to use your muscles economically. All too often, I see beginners pressing and straining in their actions only to find themselves getting even slower. They do this because they lack initiation speed and knowledge of critical relaxation principles.

Relaxation begins with the development of neuromuscular awareness skill, which can be broken down as follows:

1. Acquire the feeling of relaxation as compared to tension.       

2. Practice in solitude until this feeling of relaxation can be reproduced at will.

3. Practice reproducing this feeling in controlled training situations (during training drills).

4. Finally, practice reproducing this feeling of instinctive relaxation in uncontrolled fighting situations (during realistic sparring and environmental training).

The ability to feel contraction and relaxation, to know what a muscle is doing is called kinesthetic perception. It is developed by consciously placing your body parts in different positions and getting the “feel” of each one. This feeling of balance or imbalance, grace or awkwardness, serves as a constant guide to your body as it moves.

Your kinesthetic perception should be developed to such a high degree that the body feels uncomfortable unless it performs each motion with minimum effort to produce maximum results.

Relaxation is a physical state, but it is controlled by the mental state. Relaxation in competition and self-defense depends on the cultivation of mental focus and emotional poise in the midst of chaos. The kind of relaxation you are concerned with is that of the body, not the mind. In combat, your mind should be intensely focused, while your body should be relaxed, supple, and ready to explode in an instant.


Meditation is indispensable to the superior fighter’s success, though some will not admit it—or worse, do not realize it. There are many schools of thought on the science of meditation, but the end result is always the same: the simultaneous achievement of a relaxed body and a focused mind.

Meditation is a simple exercise. First, you should find a comfortable position. This can be lying down, sitting, or standing. Close your eyes. Now, tense your whole body, from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, as hard as you can. Hold like this for about 5-10 seconds, then relax.

Next, take three deep breaths. Be sure to breathe slowly and naturally. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, while pursing your lips. During the first exhalation, softly say, “Legs relax,” and think and feel your legs relaxing. During the second exhalation, softly say, “Arms relax,” and think and feel your arms relaxing. During the third exhalation, softly say, “Body relax,” and think and feel your entire body relaxing.

If any part of you remains tense, go back and relax it by softly telling that part of your body to relax. Concentrate on keeping your breathing slow, deep, and rhythmic until you feel totally relaxed from head to toe.

At this point, you should begin to program yourself using self-hypnosis. You can do this by repeating the following suggestion at least ten times: “My total fighting speed continues to improve every day.”

If you wanted to focus on improving one particular link of the speed chain, you could build your statement around that. 

Practice meditating once or twice a day. After you become proficient at relaxation, you will not need to practice as often. In the beginning stages, you can meditate while lying down. Once you become proficient at relaxing your body, you can meditate anywhere, at any time.

The best times to practice your self-hypnosis are just before falling asleep and immediately upon arising in the morning. At these times, you are in a natural state of hypnosis, and the suggestions will sink in more easily. You can also practice self-hypnosis before or after your combat training sessions. The goal is to effectively input the suggestions into your subconscious. Once there, the suggestions will start to materialize through the awesome power of believing. 

Self-hypnosis will do wonders for your physical skills. The change will not take place overnight, but there will be a noticeable change in as little time as ten days. Initially, you may not notice improvements, but your training partners will. They will feel the noticeable change in your speed and skill when they spar against you. They will observe that you seem more confident and relaxed, but they will not know why unless you tell them about your meditation and self-hypnosis exercises.

Initiation Drills

A good way to develop your initiation speed is by practicing shadow fighting in front of a mirror. Pay close attention to your facial expressions and the degree of tension in your muscles. Most people lose their poker face when they launch an attack. They twitch an eye, grit their teeth, or make a slight gesture, which is all your opponent needs to react. Be patient. It will take some time to develop the ability to maintain an ultra-cool poker face while on the move.

You and your training partner should both strive to get benefits from every drill practiced together. You will find that all good drills benefit certain attributes for both partners. The key is to identify those attributes and concentrate on improving them during the drills.


Explosiveness is the ability to relay destructiveness in a sudden manner. It is a combination of speed and power. This is the last step in the development of your initiation speed. The following are the drills that will enhance your explosiveness.

Timing and Accuracy

Timing is the ability to select the precise moment for doing something for optimum effect. It involves initiating your action at the right time. Think of a baseball player swinging the baseball bat. If he swings too early or too late, he will miss or connect at the wrong angle and with less power. Hitting the ball at the right “time” makes it go the farthest!

In fighting, timing is the art of successfully launching an attack when it will connect with maximum velocity and impact.

Accuracy is the quality of being correct or precise in placement or location. Think of where the baseball bat strikes the ball. If the bat strikes the ball far from the center, it forces the ball to go straight up into the air or straight down into the ground. However, if the bat strikes the ball “accurately” at the center, the maximum force will be transferred, sending the ball the farthest distance.

Timing and accuracy equal efficiency and effectiveness in combat. Improving your timing and accuracy will increase your efficiency and effectiveness in fighting. Perfect timing will multiply your force output while simultaneously dividing the effort required. This means you can hit harder while using less energy!

Timing and accuracy often separate beginners from advanced fighters. Great boxers, wrestlers, and MMA fighters can win fights with fewer strikes, throws, submissions, and less energy. As a combat speed student, you must develop your timing and accuracy skills in order to optimize your initiation speed.

Speed Training Tip

Many combat students aspire to have knockout punching and kicking power. Speed, timing, and accuracy are critical components of superior striking power. Additional components of power include body mechanics and strength. In its most simple form, power = mass x velocity (or speed).