Kenpo Concepts: Backup Mass

This is part of a series of articles providing insight into concepts used in Kenpo to increase power and make techniques more effective.

Backup mass is a principle that will allow you to deliver more powerful strikes.  First, we need a brief physics lesson . . .

The formula for Force is F=MA or Force equals Mass times Acceleration.  To generate more force, you need to either increase the mass of the striking object (fist, foot, etc.) or increase the acceleration.

Since it takes time and practice to increase the acceleration of your strikes and you can’t change the mass of your fist without adding a fist load such as a roll of quarters, we can use backup mass to increase the force.  Backup mass means that you put your body weight behind your strikes by putting your entire body into the movement.  Instead of punching just from your shoulder, start the strike at your feet – either by turning or moving forward, let it move up to your hips, turn your shoulder, and use your entire body to generate more force.

It is important to remain fluid and quickly adapt to changes.  If you begin to deliver a thrust kick and your opponent moves out of the way, you must be able to change the motion mid-technique so that they cannot use your energy and backup mass as borrowed force.


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