self defense training, womens self defense





Speed verses Power

A while back when I was attending a national martial arts convention I overheard an interesting coversation amoung several martial arts/self defense instructors. We happened to be sitting in hotel lounge and this group was at the table along side me and a friend. They were discussing (more like arguing) over which was better for self defense, speed or power.

The arguments for speed were:

1. If I can hit you first I have the advantage.
2. If I can hit you and you can't hit me, I win.
3. If I am quick I have a better chance of getting my shot in.
4. I can hit you multiple times if I am fast enough.
5. Speed always outclasses power.
6. Etc., etc.

The power guys were saying:

1. You could never take me out with those quick shots as they just not powerful enough.
2. The first time I hit you (because of my power) you are going down.
3. On the street it's a waste to pitty pat. Just go for the quick knockout.
4. Power always overcomes speed.
5. Etc., etc.

These guys went on about this for at least an hour and were still debating the issue when my friend and left.

So, which is better for self defense? Speed or Power? In a word...Both! A little motto I teach is; "Stun them with speed and Finish them with Power!"

There are times when it's difficult to land a power shot. The more power you put into a punch, kick or strike, the more it tends to be telegraphed. Your opponent can usually see it coming and block, duck or move. Additionally, if you do miss a power blow, you tend to be off balance and usually leave yourself open for an opponents counter attack.

On the other hand speed techniques many times will not stop an attacker. Remember, his adrenaline is pumping too. He may barely feel those quick but low power shots and keep coming.

So in my opinion you need to use both speed and power for the best results in self defense. Typically your initial attacks (counter attacks) should be quick, non-telegraphed strikes, kicks, punches, etc. They get to their target quickly. They are hard to see coming and difficult to block or avoid. It's best, if possible, to use your closest weapon to the intended target. For example your lead leg or closest hand. Your weapon has the least distance to the target giving it the best chance to find it's target.

Sometimes those quick (although minimum power) strikes can be used to distract or make an opponent move slightly, making your escape from a hold or lock easier.

Once you have stunned, distracted or emotionally upset your opponent you can then move to power blows. They are then, so much easier to land. You have that extra half second to load up so to speak.

Power blows may be necessary to end the conflict. But at least once you have your opponent stunned you have that extra time to get that power strike off with a good chance of landing. Usually once the first good power blow is effected the rest of the finishing blows are easy to land and with devestating power.

Shihan Michael Pace