A lot of the time martial artists are examined on the basis of strength, on how good they are at certain techniques, and on their ability to improve overall cardio fitness. But there’s also speed to consider, especially that of your reflexes. Often, there’s no room to think; you just have to be faster!
Here are a few ways to build up your speed:
Tennis Ball Toss and Partner Throws
They actually do have uses outside of tennis. It’s quite simple: just toss and catch. Mix things up by tossing with one hand and catching with the other, or running to catch a ball you’ve tossed ahead, or trying to catch a ball you’ve tossed with your eyes closed, only opening your eyes for the catch. You can also have a partner throw a few at you while you practice dodging and blocking techniques.
A maize bag may look like a punching bag, but it isn’t quite the same thing. It’s suspended at head height with a rope or chain, and it’s intended to teach you how to slip punches. Give the bag a push and get it swinging, then stand in the path of the swing. As it gets close, slip to the left or right and let the bag pass you by. That’s just to start with; there are other, more advanced drills you can do with one.
There’s nothing quite like a live opponent to up your reflex game. A good sparring session will let you develop your speed, and you can also isolate particular aspects you need to work on. For defenses, you can have your sparring partner throw a specific attack for you to defend yourself against, and find out what you need to work on. For attacks, you can have your partner randomly create openings that you have to respond to.
Do you use any of these methods to improve your reflexes? Any ones you particularly like?