The other day, while driving to a private lesson, I got a reminder about the importance of speed and timing. I was driving along Thickson Road at a leisurely pace. There are a fair number of red lights on this route. During the drive, I observed a white van driving at excessive speeds and changing lanes frequently and cutting off a few cars. It was evident that the driver was in a hurry. For all the speeding and frequent change of lanes, he and I arrived at the same red lights more or less at the same time. By the time I got to my destination, which was a considerable distance, we were still arriving at the same red lights. All that wasted energy and essentially for nothing! Had this gentleman left 10 minutes earlier, he no doubt would have arrived at his destination on time and without hurrying.
The same thing frequently happens in the martial arts. Too many think that you need pure speed to be able to beat your opponent. Not there is anything wrong with pure speed but it isn’t everything. If you watch Master Chuck Gauss, you will see that his timing is superb; so much so that it appears as if he is super fast. Likewise, I observed the same for Professor Presas. They are both quick but they don’t hurry. Professor Presas was a master of timing in executing his tapi tapi against helpless opponents. As we all age and Father Time takes a toll on our speed, timing becomes more important. Timing is more difficult to master than speed; but once you have the concept of timing down, it will exponentially improve your martial arts/self defence skills. Relying on pure speed ultimately becomes tiring and wasteful, like the aforementioned driver. Mastering timing leads to efficiency and is an energy saver!