More Power or More Technique?
One of the most common equations that coaches, practitioners and “fight game” philosophers want to quote is Power = Force x Velocity. This equation actually means that you can exert more power by becoming a stronger athlete or a faster athlete. Often times as a strength and conditioning professional people will come to me and tell me that they want more power, when really they want more endurance. People will tell me that they want more strength when in actuality they want more speed. And many times athletes will come to be and tell me that they will do whatever is necessary to win and that when I tell them that they are in the wrong place!!
Sometimes the best thing to do in order to develop a more powerful jab is jabbing. There are certainly some things that you can do on the strength and conditioning side to increase jab strength, but all of those things will not work without having good jab technique.
- Coach Ferguson, CSCS
I believe in the gym, I believe in resistance exercises. Hell, I love bodyweight exercises and lifting weights, but if you want to win more matches I can tell you right now where you need to spend the bulk of your time and that’s on the mat.
Power is great, putting on mass is good, getting faster is fine, but its all for naught without technique.
The Great Thing About Power
We’ve all seen athletes who are just more powerful than their adversaries and they completely thwart their adversaries’ ability to apply technique. To accumulate such power is rare, but I have seen it on a couple of occasions. I’ve seen it from Submission Wrestling World Champion Jeff Monson and I’ve been blessed to be able to have such power during my judo career. Now, it is not bad to possess such power. The ability to acquire, possess and maintain such power is certainly difficult and is not easy to do.
There is no greater feeling than walking out on the mat and knowing that you are the fastest, strongest and most dominating force out there. Such confidence provides you with a clear advantage.
The Great Thing About Technique
I certainly don’t have to make an argument towards being technically sound. The match between Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture spoke volumes towards the benefits of being technically sound. Watching individuals like Marcelo Garcia and BJ Penn will let you know that being technically sound has its advantages. But the main thing that being technically sound allows you to do is it allows you to maximize the benefit of your developed or current power. When you are technically sound you are spending less energy on wasted movements and therefore you can be a less powerful fighter but feel more powerful than the less technical fighter. It’s similar to jumping in the water and trying to have a swimming race against Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps. Without a doubt, you are stronger than Michael Phelps, but the Phelps is more technically sound when it comes to swimming. He has adapted his body and his game to the environment and you have not. Although you possess more power, you do not have enough power to overcome his acquisition of skill.
So in your quest to become stronger, faster and more powerful, don’t forget the most important thing of all – MORE TECHNIQUE!
Caveat, please don’t look at Power development as a negative. And please don’t ever think that just because someone has a lot of power that they are not technical. I hear people make this assumption about Jeff Monson all the time and it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Remember, accumulating power is a good thing. There are many benefits to it. But make sure that you spend your time wisely, especially in the beginning of your journey as a martial arts student Every movement requires power and you must have it, so don’t look at power development as being evil. The key is not Power or Technique it is the right balance of Power and Technique.
Strength and conditioning just like anything else has its limitations, but the key is to find the “sweet spot” in terms of strength and conditioning AND technical development. Therein lays the key to becoming a champion.