Mass x velocity.

Posted Sat Aug 18, 2007, 10:34 AM by Tracy

The other night Sifu had us working on throwing our most powerful punches and kicks against an air shield. Then he asked us what single factor most increases power.

We threw out a variety of answers:

Relaxation (that was my answer).
Connection to the ground.
Weight behind the technique.
External focus.

We were all wrong.

Well, not exactly wrong, but not entirely right, either.

Consider the bullet, Sifu said. What makes it powerful? It doesn’t weigh much. It’s certainly not relaxed and it can’t have external focus. It’s definitely not connected to anything as it flies through the air.

What makes a bullet powerful? Speed.

Relaxation is the key to speed. Proper alignment and connection to the ground lets you put your weight into the technique effectively. External focus helps bring it all together. But the prime factor for power is speed.

But I thought our most powerful techniques were always thrusting techniques?

I never said that. When have I ever said that? Did I say that?

No, Sifu.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.