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Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia's picture
0.24 second to react

Hello all.

Some days ago I was watching a youtuvbe video about Goju Ryu "mummy guard" defense aplications. In a comment under it I readed someone saying "it is impossible to block a well placed cross or jab as it retract immediately. you ll have a 0.24 second to react". I commented him/her than in another video I saw Inoue Yoshimi saying in a class seminar that a complete karate move must be done in such amount of time: 0.20 seconds. Complete move incluiding ashi sabaki, stance fixing and arm blocking. The commenter replied that "is imposible" to make a complete karate move with tai sabaki in 0.24.

Then I got some questions I'd be glad if you are pleased to answer, because in my experience I have no accurate answer yet for that, perhaps those of you who are training at higher or more practical level than me could answer.

1) Must/can a complete karate move with ashi sabaki or tai sabaki be done in 0.24 when receiving an attack?

2) If not, can any arm/hand defense move from tiger/mummy guard or any high guard be done between 0.24 or to a "well placed cross or jab" with no tai/ashi sabaki?

3) If not, what it's suppossed to be done against that kinds of attack? Are there some kinds of attack so short and fast that there is no possible defense?


css1971's picture

Yup. About 1/3 of a second. And yes the human nervous system cannot react that quickly. Nerve impulses are chemical based and travel through the nerve cells at around 200mph. If you're suckered you get hit. That simple. And if it's right cross to the jaw you're probably out cold. It has to be the single fastest way to win a fight.

  1. No you can't. It's not physically possible.
  2. You can flinch. A flinch response bypasses your consciousness and is therefore much faster. It still takes about 1/3 of a second. You'll probably still get hit. What I've seen of right crosses is they're usually not seen or no flinch response. Instant KO.
  3. In order to hit you, your opponent has to prepare. He has to arrange his body such that he can hit you. He has to draw his shoulder away, tense his body and legs [1]. These are all signals. Good fighers see them, subconsciously and begin reacting before the opponent's movement begins. Good sportsmen work the same way, they "predict the future". You "read" your opponent. Movement is physics, it's all predictable. Takes lots of practice though to do it automatically. This in theory allows you to get an arm in the way in that 1/3 of a second. What you do after that point is complete the rest of the uke and sabaki movement simultaneously with the opponents attack.
    1. I personally think this is what is meant by no first strike in karate.

I'm a bit skeptical that blocks and sabaki are very useful against punches, they're just so quick and you have to be very good. My own attempts have been hit and miss when the attack is unknown. I don't claim to be really good, just fascinated. If you're standing in a dojo expecting a known right cross and successfully read the opponent body language, yes it's pretty easy, real fights are far less predictable.

I lean more towards the original use of uke and tai sabaki as having been counters to grabs and control attempts as the fight moves from flailing to grappling.

[1] One of the reasons you need to practice realistic street situations rather than sport kumite. You have to learn how to read the attacker's body language subconsiously.

Mark Powell
Mark Powell's picture

At close range I like to attach myself to the opponents limbs because I can feel what he intends to do far quicker than I can see what he intends to do. In training I practice various pushing hands drills to build this ability. This article may be of interest:


karate10's picture

Excellent article and Kakie drills  can be very useful for CQC (Close Quarter Cobat) scenario. I train with my dojo mate using that drill  before class.

css1971's picture

Yes this is very much of interest. It solves the "didn't see it" problem with much of the opponent's body out of the field of view when close up.

Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia's picture

Thank you for the answers. I'm gonna check all the contents and ideas and see if I have any more question on the subject.

Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia's picture

By the way here's the video in which I say Inoue Yoshimi talks about the 0.2 speed (6:55). Perhaps he was not saying 0.20 includes a whole tai sabaki step. And not sure if he is suggesting that in 0.20 you have to see the attack, react and finish the technique; I guess he was saying only finishing the technique. So it was my fault if otherwise was understood here.

Marc's picture

Jose Garcia wrote:

By the way here's the video in which I say Inoue Yoshimi talks about the 0.2 speed (6:55). [...] I guess he was saying only finishing the technique.

By pointing to his eyes while explaning the 0.2 seconds, It seems he refers to the eyes' saccade speed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccade) of 200 ms. So if your move is fast enough, your opponent is not able to see it and thus might not be able to react to it.

Jose Garcia
Jose Garcia's picture

In fact I undertsand he is just saying that 0.20 it's like a "blink" of an eye.