Martial Arts Article... 
Use Your Mind to Make Your Punches Faster!
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Whatcha' Thinkin’ About?

by Keith Pascal

What if you could make your techniques faster, crisper, and more effective?

My experiment started last year ...

Being snowed in, unable to drive off one’s snow-covered hill, can sometimes depress people.

Some folks suffer from cabin fever, and some feel the effects of the lack of light.

I didn’t think that any of that was affecting me; life progressed as usual, and I was a happy camper … until I practiced punching!!!

Punch Practice ... Again

I hadn’t punched, other than when walking on our mini-stairclimber, for over a month.

With the coming of the new year, it was time to get back in the swing of things.

So, I turned on some music and started punching.

Less than 100 punches into the practice, I felt that something was “wrong.”

I just didn’t seem into it.

Everything felt lackluster; my hits lacked energy. This was my only moment of depression during the housebound week, other than when we ran out of eggs. (Kate was out of the house for four hours, yesterday, lugging in a backpack of more food … especially eggs! Thanks, Kate.)

Okay, so how do you make a boring activity more entertaining, not that the punches needed to be, but you know what I mean.

Note: In Tiptoeing to Tranquility, one of the methods of turning a boring activity into a fun routine is to make a game of it. This time, I decided to conduct an experiment.

My answer was to try an experiment....

Keith's Martial Arts Experiment

I wanted to get rid of this heavy feeling in my arms and mind.

I decided to imagine that my arms had been painted with a “supercharged, magic liquid,”

that made them perform like Bruce Lee, with just a touch of the Flash thrown in.

I meticulously imagined all the qualities of super-fast fists: loose until a hair before impact,

starting out of the gate at full speed, having the shoulder “follow” the movement of the arm (not precede it), and so on.


Once I had the image firmly planted in my mind, I whipped off 50 punches. Then 50 more.

The punches did “seem” a lot faster, and what’s more … my mood improved.

Before, my arms started tiring which might invalidate the experiment, I decided to plant the reverse image in my brain: I imagined the way I felt before I swabbed the imaginary ‘Flash Juice’ on my arms and fists … slow, low, with no get-up-and-go.

Not only that, but I imagined a very heavy set of wrist weights on EACH arm, slowing them down even more.

And I punched.

Sure enough, my punches dragged.

After 35-40 sluggish punches, I stopped … reapplied the “Bruce Lee sunscreen,” and whipped off another 100 punches.

Yep. They sped right back up. I wanted to say “amazing,” but frankly, after 35 yrs. as a martial artist, I kind of expected it. (Which I’m sure tainted my results … chuckle, chuckle.)

If you’re wondering how I’d wrap up this article …

All I need to say is …

How you think when you practice “does” matter.

Mindless repetition while you plan which kind of sauce to put on your pasta tonight, or …

focused practice … practicing with intent … doing what it takes to squeeze every ounce out of your practice sessions??

Talk to you, soon,


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