The Physics of Rebounding for Superspeed (Part 2)
In Part 1 of “The Physics of Rebounding for Superspeed” we took an in depth look at the physics behind the force production necessary to change the direction of our hands and quickly create effective weapons. In case you have forgotten or missed Part 1, the take home message of all the fancy physics equations is:
“The greater the change in directional speed of an object and the shorter the time frame in which the change of speed happens the greater the observed force must be.”
Now that you’re here reading part 2, it means you intellectually understand this concept and are curious how to apply it to your Martial Arts training. Or you already use rebounding and wish to maximize its effectiveness. Allow me a moment to share the first experience I had of a rebounding happening in my body and me simply being along for the ride.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been told the principle before but still had to consciously think about how to apply it. It wasn’t something that just happened naturally. Because I was still thinking through each move within the attempt to rebound, everything was choppy without flow. That was up until around the time I was a purple belt working towards blue in American Kenpo. That’s when it changed for me. I was practicing the Parting Wings technique and I heard the rebound happen, and it occurred without conscious thought to make it happen.
For those unfamiliar with the Parting Wings technique, allow me to explain. An attacker tries to push you in the chest with both hands. In response, you step back with your right foot into a left neutral bow and do two simultaneous outward hand sword blocks (Picture A). Then you settle into a forward bow with a right inward hand sword to the ribs. As the strike happens, your left-hand bounces from its previous block and recoils to your upper chest. It smacks against your chest at the same time your right-hand sword hits your opponent.
At the time of this smack, the body is rotating towards the attacker due to your transition from neutral bow to forward bow (Picture B). The left hand then bounces off your chest with a smacking sound and is redeployed into battle and consequently very quickly strikes the adversary with an outward hand sword to the neck as you return to neutral bow (Picture C). There is a more to the Parting Wings technique, but this was the very moment when my eyes were opened to rebounding and its potential applications.
After this realization, I started looking back at previously learned techniques and found that many of them also use this principle. For example, a few of my favorites that have rebounding applications learned at earlier levels in the American Kenpo curriculum are the purple belt technique Leaping Crane, orange belt technique Five Swords, and yellow belt technique Alternating Maces, among others.
If you are a Kenpoist and know these techniques, might I suggest you try working them through for a few reps and identify the rebounding opportunities. If you study an art that doesn’t utilize rebounding, revisit the described actions in the beginning phase of Parting Wings above and see if rebounding is something you can assimilate to enhance your hand speed.
Kenpoist or not, if you wish to incorporate this principle, it is important to keep an eye out for opportunities to effectively apply rebounding and practice, practice, practice. That’s what it takes to get good at any skill. And the greater our mastery of rebounding, the faster our strikes become and the more rapidly they can be consistently deployed. By digging back into our training techniques with rebounding in mind, we afford ourselves the opportunity to tighten up and improve our overall skill set as a Martial Artist.
2nd Degree Black Belt American Kenpo
1st Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do