Martial Arts Speed Training - How to Improve Your Kicking And Punching Speed

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Martial Arts Speed Training - How to Improve Your Kicking And Punching Speed

To become an accomplished martial artist, you need to work on the speed of your kicks, punches, footwork, etc. Skilled martial artists can throw numerous attacks in the same time that a novice can launch a single attack. The tips and sports techniques listed below show how martial artists can work on improving their kicking and punching speed. You should also visit our sections focused on improving your punching power and kicking power.

All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program. For additional stretches and exercises, please visit the main Martial Arts Physical Fitness section.

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Tips & Techniques on How To Improve Your Martial Arts Speed

  • Work on your endurance. You will automatically have faster kicks and punches if your opponent is winded at the end of the first sparring match. Visit our martial arts conditioning section for stamina and sports endurance training techniques.
  • Improve your agility, coordination and foot speed via agility training. This will improve your ability to evade attacks and to get open in order to launch kicks and punches.
  • Improve your "fast twitch" muscles through sports plyometric exercises (i.e. clapping push-ups, medicine ball throws and lateral box jumps). This will allow you to have rapid bursts of power.
  • Remove the "beginner" steps from your kicks. Remember how you first learned your back kick… turn, look and then fire your back kick. Many instructors teach beginners how to kick by using a step-by-step method. Effective but this slows things down. Once you become a more advanced martial arts student, your kicks will become more fluid and you will "instinctively" know the location of your target (versus having to "see" it). In addition, fast martial artists cut down on their moves. For example, faster students during sparring will bypass the traditional "power" round house kick (with the leg going up and then across) and execute a "sparring" round house (which is a diagonal kick to the target versus an inverted L where you kick up, turn your body and then continue the kick across to the target).
  • Aim to hit with several quick kicks or punches versus just one. Too often, you will see martial arts students attack, stop and wait for another "opening" - allowing the opponent to get in their own attack. You are intentionally slowing yourself down. Having a lightening fast kick or punch is not very helpful if it takes you 30 seconds to fire off another attack. Use multiple combination attacks and don't let your opponent have time to react.
  • Try to relax. Being overly tense leads to tight muscles and slower reaction times.
  • Execute each strike correctly and quickly move back into a fighting position so you can rapidly fire off another strike. If you are not back in a proper fighting position (i.e. you are thrown off-balance by your kick), you will slow down your next attack as you try to recover.
  • Practice basic speed drills. For example, see how many kicks (i.e. roundhouse kicks) that you can throw non-stop against a kicking shield, kicking paddle or kicking dummy in a minute.
  • Be instinctual. Over thinking an attack or defense can lead to slower reaction times. Do large numbers of repetitive drills that work on attacks and counters in order to instinctively use those methods during a self-defense scenario or sparring match.

Videos & Instructions for Increased Martial Arts Kicking Speed

Videos & Instructions for Increased Martial Arts Punching Speed

Instructional Video for Improved Taekwondo Kicking Speed

Boxing Tips To Improve Your Punching Speed


  1. Taekwondo Animals, Taekwondo Speed Training,, Added - 12/5/13

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