Posted on

Speed is Not Part of the True Way of Strategy

I have seen many Wing Chun Kung Fu demonstrations where through means of hasty speed and aggression the onlooker is meant to be impressed. Attackers are dispatched with a flurry of empty punches in the air. The Wing Chun man attacking like a maniac. And we are supposed to believe that if the punches had connected his opponent would have been easily defeated. Having been in real close combat situations, I know that this is all hype and complete non-sense. And the truth is, this type of kamikaze strategy will most likely get you killed.

Perhaps it is age and experience that leads the expert martial artist to the strategy of “The Calm Mind and Body.” And, the knowing that speed (as it is related to the correlation between himself and the opponent) is a combination of (1) Timing, (2) Movement, and (3) Positioning. This is then combined with an understanding of the rhythm between oneself and the opponent. Speed like this cannot be taught, it can only be experienced.

A quote by Miyamoto Musashi serves to validate my essay. In the words of the famous 16th century military strategist…

“Speed is not part of the true Way of strategy. Speed implies that things seem fast or slow, according to whether or not they are in rhythm. Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast.”

To explain this better let’s take for example a champion tennis player. They always seem to be in the right place at the right time, moving effortlessly from volley to volley. While at the same time forcing their opponent to hurry back and forth across the court through perfect placement of each ball return. Testing their opponent’s skill and endurance. If we as martial artist can reach this level then obliviously we will see speed as only a prerequisite to power, not a means or strategy to win a fight.

~ Taganashi

© Copyright Sifu Todd Taganashi 2017