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Efficiency

Once you learn the form of kata and various techniques -- and repeat them thousands of times -- the focus shifts to becoming more and more efficient. This means that extra or unnecessary movements must be eliminated and the process of generating and transferring power must become as efficient as possible. You want to accomplish as much as possible using the power you generate.

The goal is to have no extra movements and to waste no power. For example, raising the shoulders is an extra movement that produces no power and slows down your movement. Tensing the fist and arm too early wastes power and slows down a punch. Extra movements make you slower and give a more efficient opponent an advantage.

Relaxation is the first key to efficiency. Proper timing of the "squeeze" is the second key. When you punch, it is important to clench your fist and brace at the instant of contact. Otherwise, your punch will simply bounce off the opponent. But if you squeeze at the wrong time, you will telegraph your movement and slow it down. Once power is transferred, you must instantly relax so that you can move quickly into the next position or execute the next technique.

Many students confuse making their bodies hard with being powerful. Except at the split second of contact, making the body hard is a waste of time and power. Power is something that explodes from a skilled Karate person -- the skill is in knowing how to generate, channel and transfer this power. A good punch is like a shaped charge -- an explosion focused in a specific direction.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin