Sight, touch, pain, and hearing all involve a reaction from the body. Ultimately, for some, this reaction will be faster due to experience and motor learning. Agility, quickness, reaction time, and speed are heavily relied upon in martial arts and the more advanced one is in these skills, the more likely he or she is to be successful in the art.
What Makes Our Bodies React Fast?
The human nervous system is the ultimate dictator of how quickly the body’s signals can be transmitted. As something is sensed, a signal via sensory neurons is transmitted to the brain, where motor neurons send a signal back to the muscles in order to create a response.
This can be experienced in moments of pain. After the pain is sensed and delivered to the brain, a reaction occurs. This reaction time is critical in martial arts, as it determines how quickly one will respond to a movement, how he or she will execute the response, and how quickly the movement of reaction takes place. In a sense, reaction time corresponds with coordination, the better ones coordination is, the better he or she will likely be at reacting.
Two Main Types of Instinctive Reactions
There are two main types of reactions – simple and complex. A simple reaction occurs when one knows the next move he or she is going to execute and is simply waiting for a response. The complex reaction occurs when one is unsure of his or her next move because it is solely dependent on the opponent’s actions.
The complex choice reaction is generally focused on in advanced levels of martial arts training, and it almost always involves sparring with an opponent.
How to Improve Reaction Timing
Sparring allows for each individual to improve their reaction time and choice of reaction by creating a situation that mimics that of a real combat situation.
One who is new to martial arts training may wonder why the practice includes a myriad of repetitive action; however, these continuous actions have a purpose. As the sensory impulses that are transmitted become more and more constant the body gradually becomes better at responding to them. This is why there are different stages of techniques involved in martial arts training, so that the student becomes familiar with more than just his own reaction time, but how the variable of an opponent impacts the reaction time.
In conclusion, reaction time, agility, speed, and quickness all go hand-in-hand in martial arts training. These are skills that any student should be expected to improve upon when beginning or continuing classes. These factors are just another example of how martial arts can improve both mental and physical components of the individual.
Image license: iStockphoto (view image source)