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How to accelerate your moves in Karate: principle of "letting go"


In karate displacements , we must be very fast to surprise the opponent. However in karate, we must also be very stable on our positions in order to be able to efficiently transmit the energy of the Hara towards the point of impact.

So to create a displacement, there will have to be breaking of balance. We will have to move from a very stable position where we are anchored on the ground to a very fast moving state to finish again on a very stable position.

It is a permanent alternation between states of fast movements and states of very strong stability.

I had already spoken to you about alternation between phases of contraction and relaxation in the article onfist in Kihon, and I started to approach the principle of let go When we studied Yori Ashi.

We will try here to clarify this principle of "letting go".

What is the principle of "letting go"?

To fully understand the principle of "letting go", we will imagine our center of gravity, located in the Hara, as a ball of energy. Be careful, there is nothing spiritual about it, it is really from this center that will leave each technique.

You feel it in the belly by contracting the transverse muscles (deep abdominal muscles) and the pelvic floor muscles.

Once you feel your center and visualize it as a ball (or ball), you will ask yourself this question:

What should I do if I squeeze a ball in the hand and want to hit it to move it very fast? ...

All tennis players know the answer, of course:

I must first let go.

Principle of Letting go at karate

We stay focused on the ball ...

And yes, if you try to hit a ball without letting go you will not succeed because the movement will be hindered by your decision. First you have to drop the ball and then hit it. The ball must be suspended in the air to be able to strike in it.

For our displacementit's pretty much the same thing, you're going to consider your center of gravity like a ball.

Well, just before you push on the back leg, you will let go, that is, you will stop being very stable. Your hips relax so as not to hinder movement.

Warning, I said well "Letting go" and not releasing it " : The hara remains under tension, but you do not hold it anymore, as if you fall on the spot. You let go of the grip you have on your center of gravity, but it remains strong to be able to generate the explosive energy in the back leg.

Imagine that your center of gravity only holds by a thread, nothing prevents it from moving. At this point, the push on the back leg will have the same effect as the racket on the ball in the air, it will create a very fast movement in the desired direction.

This " let go Is almost simultaneous with the thrust, it intervenes only a fraction of a second before the displacement. It's a bit like dropping on the spot, but as soon as you're down a millimeter you push on the back leg.

I schematize and I try to find striking images (if I may say ...) because all this is not easy to explain and even less to understand. I hope not to confuse you too much

We will try to understand otherwise:

Imagine a cyclist : What do you think is the most difficult and especially the fastest: 1 - to cross a bump (rise and descent) ou 2 - to cross a valley (descent then climb)?

  • In the first case, it must make a big effort to climb the coast and only then can accelerate in the descent.
  • In the second case, it can accelerate from the start in the descent and use the stored energy to easily climb the slope.

In the end, he will use less energy in the second case and will have less time. The second case is undoubtedly the fastest and the least tiring (Being a cyclist myself, I know what I'm talking about ;-))

In fact by letting go and falling on the spot just before moving, we will use the gravitational force (to make it simple: our own weight!) to accelerate our movement (like our cyclist who accelerates in the descent).

Suddenly the trajectory of our center of gravity will be slightly curved. The hips go down slightly in the first part of the movement.

Attention, when I say " let go"I do not speak of a mental or physical state in which one abandons oneself. On the contrary, we always remain in a state of active vigilance (Zanshin) but we let go willingly the grip that one has on its center of gravity to allow a quick movement. There is a break in the balance.

All this is done very quickly and is hardly seen from the outside.

Well, I think now is the time to practice because what matters is that you feel this principle and the video should help you.

Do not forget to do some joint, muscular and cardiovascular heating, by downloading my book for free: The ABC of warm-upsThen I'll meet you on the tatami mats.

>>> Download the video

Here, I hope you have grasped the principle of "letting go". Work all the time, in Kihon, Kata, Kumite ... but also in your everyday life ...

Thank you for leaving me your comment below.

See you soon,

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  1. Hello bruno,
    Good explanation for travel in kata but I think we must also let the basin for the fighting I think the bust is useful because it is the fist that directs us, the fist leaves before moving


  2. Hello Bruno,
    you have forgotten a major detail and essential for an efficient movement. it is the basin that plays a major role without going into detail it must be switched at a specific time

  3. You know it already, in karate, the speed is
    very important but the problem in
    displacements, is that one must
    to move from a stable position,
    to another position also
    very stable as quickly as possible.


    And the entainement is made to be fast between 2 postitions this is called the displacement, for this it is necessary to be concious and perseverant, the Japanese are very strong with these techniques because they understood that it comes from the CHI. and especially the movement of the rotating hips. Well, yes, yes.

  4. Hello, sensei of the net. After watching, the video on the released. This video is very clear. Personally one can easily imagine the blue ball of the center of gravity. It's really very TAi CHI, empty leg and full leg, ground anchoring. You have enriched my understanding about it. On the other hand seen the force that there is in the legs by exerting the thrust (now that I know), the inking is such that, I am like as blocked. And I have a moment of reflection to move forward. A psycho thing (engine), really difficult to unlock. Between the step of a normal march, and a solid displacement. I did not find that happy medium. If he gives you advice ... it interests me ..

    • Hello Yann,

      In fact, the purpose of the push on the back leg is not to anchor in the ground but to use the action-reaction to advance. Try not to think about this push, it is done anyway naturally as in the walk, but rather to feel the moment of relaxation that precedes, the famous "letting go". It is there that you must concentrate, the rest must become natural again.


  5. HELLO Bruno

    the video on the let go is very explicit and explanations are clear and precise thank you for your valuable advice michel

  6. good video. With experience in karate, I felt, myself, that it was difficult to understand this moment of cowardice taken during movements and gestures. So, in 2006, following 3 genetic bypasses, I was forced to interrupt my karate training for 2 good years. Being, myself, a physical educator, I did not accept this fate. So my doctor, who practiced Tai Chi, asked me to take his classes, which I did. It was a great discovery for me because, finally, I had found a way to make understand and to make feel this instantaneous release (cowardice) in karate but, more stretched in the time in Taichi (internal). There are two kinds of taichi (chen and yang) so you have to choose the one that incorporates the quick gestures, closer to our goal of let go. The fact of feeling more deeply inside this state, allowed me to transfer this same state in karate (external). So for a teacher, this knowledge allowed Taichi forms to be used to explain the process of dropping-out to students. Obviously, I now practice both arts (internal and external) one complementary to the other which facilitates the understanding of several forms or gestures in karate. Thank you for reading me and I await your constructive reactions.

    • Hello,
      According to my "research", there are more than 2 styles in taichi, but known 3: Yang style, Chen and Wu, then each major master has added a particular color (which gives several styles Yang by example). Some put internally other offers only a gesture, which is not negative but can be a dead end. I practiced a style with a Chinese who spoke almost no French, he matirized the internal chikongs but made movements extremely low. There is an interesting author on the subject it is Bruce Franzis, who speaks of "frame", I think he speaks of amplitude of movements for him two extremes: chen, very broad, knees bent, low, or very high, Wu style, almost standing. He says that the wide frame damages the knees, which is possible (of course, people who weigh 40 kg do not have problems). There are PAtrick Kelly's students, and he talks about connection. His style distinguishes several stages each movement (squeeze, push, simple whip, blow shoulder, etc ..) and the emission from a ground connection point, in short, this question of connection is a mystery. but it's odd to push someone who goes against you, as if you were pushing an elastic.
      Some master adds Taoist practices of energy manipulation.
      Serious masters make demos and give dummy courses in Asia, without qualms. No doubt he will wait for a particular commitment to teach (see Gabriel Mansur).
      We have a sense of truth that is not universal, I have found many times.
      The problem of taichi is that some shotokanized, otherwise, in my opinion, it is a circuit of absorptin, connection and energy emission, that could be called defensive? I think we understand nothing about okinawa karate that seems to me in the same logic:
      (the part where Me Chinen talks about UKE)

  7. Hello,

    As usual good videos very useful. Practicing Yoseikan Budo this will serve me for rippling or whipping technique. Good luck and see you soon on tatamis for a futut internship

  8. Greetings Bruno, sincerely you make a lot of effort to transmit as much information that can be at the service of karate. You deserve to be rewarded, For whom concerns the subject you are talking about (letting go). If my knowledge is correct, this technique is centered around three aspects: Flexibility, speed and strength with a lot of reflex. To access this it is necessary to have intensive training accompanied by training (courses ... ..etc.) In order to correct the positions of the body during the practice of the movements and in return, to pilot and plan the training sessions. 'an optimal way by exploiting the successful mistakes of course. In my opinion it is necessary to combine the mental and physical energy to achieve a good mastery of practice in karate, the fact of setting up on the carpet and being at any time to move to the katat or kumite requires a certain type of concentration showing strong in flexibility, strength and speed, in a good sense of the word one must be active and vigilant. Release the body at a given moment and let the hips go with a speed in displacement and a force managed by a higher degree of control. The force comes from the inside, the center of the body, the level of the hips, it is this part which must be often well placed with respect to the center of gravity in coordination of course with the other parts of the body ...... as I I am foreign to the French language sometimes it escapes me to express the ideas ..

  9. Hello,

    Being a rider, I came to watch this video to find a way to let go of my belly while remaining toned. This for the specific purpose of being one with my horse and therefore not to interfere. This video reminded me of some memories of karate that I practiced some time ago and it is very interesting because on horseback it is EXACTLY the same principle at the level of letting go, of balance ... I have not no memory of letting go of my "belly" so I do not really know what to feel at the moment of release and it really handicaps me, I feel like I'm in a dead end and have the to let go of the belly behind the wall but how to get past ???

  10. Hello, Bruno,

    Thank you very much for all these details explained on letting go. Indeed, I have an excellent teacher, but for him, it seems so obvious that he does not always offer us this kind of information.
    I just understand why I'm not always fast enough in my travels!
    I will pass the message to people who train with me, and who also have difficulties at this level.
    Another big thank you and see you soon.

  11. Hello Bruno, it is a technique of progression that one never explained to me but that I put in practice of a natural way. Your explanations are excellent. Pat.

  12. Good evening Bruno,

    For a child (non beginner) is it already useful to work this "letting go"?
    Is this principle the same in order to accelerate the pivots (changes of direction) in the kata?

    If so, I do not know, when Benjamin works his pivotal accelerations if this "letting go" is done naturally because there is never thought that way.

    • Good morning Marc,

      Yes, of course a child can work letting go, on the contrary. The sooner we become aware of the relaxation required to move, the better.
      And yes, letting go of the grip you have on your center of gravity will also allow you to accelerate your pivots. You have to imagine the center as a ball (or a ball). Once this ball relax, you can make it go ahead, left, right and rotate it.

  13. your explanations are always so interesting and well imaged.I think you're a great pedago, but above all passionate I like you write, and your commitment gives me the motivation to practice.
    Thanks to you

  14. Excellent video!

    I must admit that I have another approach to 'Letting go'. But your explanation is very very good. For me to let go is already in the head that we must work. Someone who remains tense in the head, will not manage to move smoothly.

    From a physical point of view, I work this approach with even more flexibility. I like working circularly. That is to say that I offer a more circular movement to my pelvis before I start. Not easy to explain just with words.

    Otherwise, for those who are interested to know more about rooting, I advise you to watch the video n ° 1 warm-ups that Bruno offers us.

    You have to look at 20min52s. You will see that to give a lapel point, Bruno begins by giving a small impetus of the feet, then knees, pelvis, shoulders and elbow ... he finished by contracting. Stop on this detail.

    He also uses his Hara to create power in his typing.

    That's rooting! Very important in your practice. This is more for confirmed ones, but beginners can already be aware of it.

  15. Hello Bruno,
    Yes, moving is really a technique in itself. I am tall (1m85), I often tend to lose a little balance at startup. My former teacher told us that it was necessary to imagine that the roof of the dojo grazed the top of our heads, to force us not to do the "elevator"! I will perfect these movements with letting go.

  16. Thank you for your videos very useful, I just had my brown belt, now it will be necessary to put me to work for the black as soon as possible j hope
    the most difficult is the kions for me and the sequences but little by little I progress

  17. I want to say that if you know the prices of the club of Melun stp if I arrange well for the year of 2012 / 2013 thank you

  18. hello I would like to participate in karate and I wanted to know the prices of the karate of the year of 2012 / 2013 thank you

  19. Thank you for your site, it is a very good source of complementary information, because I am a beginner in the field (white belt). This site allows me to break down all the movements and their names, which is very significant.
    I apply your stretching session which is very effective.
    Thank you again, continue as well.

  20. Hi, my case is almost the same as Sandra, I practice karate as an adult 20ans after stopping child at the age of 13ans orange belt, almost I did not understand the true meaning of karate now I regret it (difficulty to learn and execute the techniques to adulthood, long to understand ....) it is for cella I find your blog is very interesting explanations clear and net
    Thank you very much master bruno (a question if you allow me is that I will be able to catch me in karate? Thank you).

    • Hello mido,
      You do not have to worry when you're old. There is no age limit to start and progress in Karate. You will probably not become world champion, but that's probably not what you're looking for.
      You know, I started Karate at 26 years ago and now I feel like I've always done it.

  21. Thank you Bruno for all these details. I really discover karate as an adult (after practicing as a child and teenager) and I find it very sad that we could not explain this to myself before. The trip is very important and unfortunately we do not linger enough.
    PS: it is true that the boys had to be delighted with the photo of the Tenniswoman, for my part I would have preferred a Tennisman ...

    • Bruno Bandelier at

      Hello Sandra,
      Indeed the movements are very important, without them we are only very vulnerable statues.
      If one day I make the connection between karate and the ballet dance you will have a man in picture, promised

  22. Thank you Bruno for your clear and clear explanations.

    Your pedagogical approach deserves to be emphasized because explaining what letting go is not obvious.

    I try to put into practice what you teach us by your video. I also note that letting go saves energy. In any case, I have this sensation.

    In fact difficult to focus with the photo of the tenniswoman ...!

    Yours and thank you

    • Bruno Bandelier at

      Hello Paluc,
      I thank you for your praise. Indeed you save energy because you no longer have to fight against your own tensions.
      Be careful not to let yourself fall forward you must go down vertically as if you had no more leg at once ...
      What tenniswoman? I only see the ball

  23. Thank you for this explanation.
    I appreciate your dedication and your investment in pedagogy.
    It is true that the practice of an art when it is shared is a real gift.
    So thanks.

  24. Maurice Sainvet at

    Hello .
    What you call "letting go" is taught from the ground up, at Yoseikan Budo, under the name: "Rising Rising Forward".
    This technique is practically indispensable in saber attack.

    Greetings Mauritius



    I practice full combat and grappling but I am inspired by karate to work my movements and my rooting on the ground. For example, I'm inspired by kata to work with Kettlebells.
    Very educational site and that really has an interest.

    • Bonjour David,
      I find your approach very well: come to search in a martial art qualities of training that you need for your own discipline. It shows a great openness.
      And thank you for the compliment on
      Glad to see that we are part of the same department, but I admit that I rarely go to St Dizier, it's a trot anyway

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