How to be faster at striking? How to gain speed?

by Pablo

How to hit faster? How to gain speed?

Answer: Thank you for your question. This is what everyone wants to do, right? My personal opinion on speed is that we need to have all the basics in our kendo. It doesn't matter how fast you can strike if you cannot keep the basics.

Unless you are teenagers or early 20s, you want to think about when to strike not how to strike but I know you want to hear how to gain speed so let's talk about it.

1. Use a light shinai: Some research says that you need to use a light shinai to gain speed. People tend to use a heavy shinai but apparently it is opposite regarding gaining speed. Use a heavy shinai for gaining physical endurance.

2. Relax: if you need to be quick, you need to be relaxed. If you are tense, you cannot strike fast. Learn how to relax and execute good strikes.

3. Compact your strikes: when we talk about fast strikes, we immediately think they should be small. It is true but the small strikes don't mean everything must be small. Many start stepping small, bending their arms and making their kiai short. Remember that small strikes are smaller versions of big strikes so they need to satisfy the definition of a valid cut.

4. Physical training: Simple. If you want to be faster than others, you need to be athletic. Those who train harder than others, they are faster. Simple.

5. Footwork: When you go against sensei, they steal the maai so they get you before you move. This is something we all need to learn. This is not exactly "how" to strike but this doesn't need "speed" in your strikes.

My advice: Don't learn "techniques" to be faster. Becoming faster with keeping the basics is good but if not you will have bad habits. So keep this mind. Become faster than others with good basics. Some break the basics of kendo so they can be faster (to get a point). I don't see any points in that.

Hope this helps.

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