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Improved Reaction Time = Improved Technique

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Reaction Time Explained

Do you remember the last time you were training with a partner and they sent you a kick so fast that you didn’t have time to block it? You probably didn’t miss the block because you weren’t paying attention, but instead because your reaction time was too slow.

Reaction time is the amount of time that it takes for someone to respond to any physical energy. For example, how long it takes you to perform a technique against an attacker. There are two components that determine reaction time- predetermined performance and game performance.

Knowing in advance that you’ll have to respond to a certain stimuli allows for preparation. If you’re driving down the street and you’re approaching a stop sign, but haven’t arrived at it yet, you’ll have enough time to decide when to apply the brakes without having to  make a sudden stop- that’s predetermined performance.

On the other hand, if you’re approaching a stop sign and a ball rolls out into the middle of the road, you’d have to slam on the brakes without any notice- this is game performance.

Even given the exact same set of circumstances, one driver might hit the ball and another might avoid it, but either way every reaction will occur at slightly different times. There are several factors that regulate the time it takes for each individual to respond to stimulus such as age, reflexes, height, weight, and even personality!

Test Your Reaction Time

In order to decrease the time it takes you to counter stimuli, you first have to know what your current baseline response time is. Once you determine this, you will be able to improve!

Click the link for a fun way to test your reaction time right now!

Now, Let’s Improve!

Reacting to stimuli is both physical and mental response. There are several ways to improve reaction time for both:


  • Use a Stopwatch - have a friend start the time and practice a kick combo. Write down your time and practice it again trying to perfect each move in the shortest time possible.

  • Try an Agility Drill - agility ladders are very effective - lie the ladder down on the floor and jump through each box doing high-knees.

  • Run Outside - the different terrain and everyday obstacles of going from place to place allow you to think and respond quickly.


  • Speed Reading - choose an amount to read (a paragraph or a page is a good start,) set a timer for a specific time (a few second to a few minutes,) and start reading. Note your time, then start again and work on decreasing the time it takes you to complete your selected passage.

  • Brain Games - “Spot the Difference,” puzzles, card games, etc.

  • Meditate - this helps relax the mind and body while tuning out distractions so that you can focus on what’s important at that moment.

Take Care Of Your Body

Ultimately, you can have all the ability in the world, but if you don’t properly care for your body, you won’t have the strength to perform the skills necessary to progress in your art. Maintain a healthy diet, get a good amount of rest, do your mental and physical exercises, and you’ll be unstoppable!

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