Thursday, January 30, 2014


This is my favorite quote on timing. "...积水之激,至于漂石者,势也。鸷鸟之疾,至于毁折者,节也。"

 "... When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. "

The quote comes from the "Art of War." 

What I love about it is that it speaks to a concern for all martial artists. The concern is, What if my opponent is stronger than I am? It's a great question. Hopefully a question asked and answered before getting into any kind of altercation.

The quote isn't suggesting that strength doesn't matter (and it's not limiting strength to a physical capacity) but it is saying that strength can be overcome. A 120 lb. opponent can defeat a 220 lb. opponent. 

It doesn't say how, but with this statement we can begin to ask how. Striking soft targets on the body with something hard? Using weapons? A knockout below? 

The items above answer the question, "How do I overcome an opponent?" But they don't speak to the component called timing.

timing |ˈtīmiNG|  noun
the choice, judgment, or control of when something should be done: one of the secrets of golf is good timing.
• a particular point or period of time when something happens.
• (in an internal combustion engine) the times when the valves open and close, and the time of the ignition spark, in relation to the movement of the piston in the cylinder.

For timing in this case, we are talking about the judgement you use, which may not be a "thinking" kind of judgement. It could be a "kinesthetic awareness" kind of judgement, a judgement that tells you when (whether sparring or trying to save your life) to enter and attack. Then judgement allows us to discern where to strike, and if to strike again, or if to retreat.

Timing also speaks to the questions, "Is the technique I'm about to use the correct one?" "Am I using it in the right place (on the body)?" and, "Is this the correct angle to produce maximal results?"

The question of timing is answered before an incident, not after.Preparation.

Questions or comments?

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