By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, February 1, 2006.

Practitioners of the Martial Arts rely on their reaction time during a fighting match or self-defense situation. This ability is vital because without it one can literally lose a match or lose one's life. It is one of the things that render any technique less effective or useless. How is reaction time defined? There is a specific methodology to increasing one's reaction time. One must be in present time, one must have an ability to recognize offensive and defensive alignments, and one must have certainty.

Reaction time is defined as having an awareness that allows one to respond instantaneously to a given situation in present time. There is no communication lag that slows one's mental computation to such a degree that it inhibits one's ability to react to something. For example, a punch is coming toward your head. If one has communication lag, one will get hit. So one must have an awareness that puts one in present time in order to respond to the punch.

One can increase one's reaction time by being in present time. Everyone has a time track of experiences for one's lifetime. A recording of the moment-to-moment experiences from birth to present time can be found in the mind. Painful experiences and emotional experiences can all be found in the mind. Everyone has a certain amount of attention units, and if one's attention units are found to be stuck in past incidents, it will pull one's awareness down to such a degree that one will no longer be in present time. Thus one will have communication lag, and one's reaction time will be inhibited. So there is an introversion of attention.

One must have an ability to recognize an opponent's offensive and defensive alignments. This is a skill that must be instantaneous. An instant recognition will allow one to apply the proper technique for the given alignment. Alignments can give away what a person is going to do offensively, and can show one what openings are available for strikes. When a person can recognize quickly, then he must apply the technique that would be workable for the opening that is available or apply the self-defense technique that would be workable against the technique being applied by one's opponent. A practitioner must do recognition drills to consistently identify different offensive and defensive alignments. Once one can do this, then one drills the different techniques that can be applied for both offensive and defensive alignments. This will shorten the communication lag considerably when a self-defense situation arises.

Certainty brings about a confidence in one's ability to such a degree that communication lag becomes non-existent. I discussed this subject in my previous article "CERTAINTY." Developing the mind, negating any negativity, and establishing knowingness can increase certainty. Any time someone has to think about something it becomes an additive that only creates more time. One's certainty can bring about the reduction of communication lag thus creating an improved reaction time.

A Martial Arts practitioner can enhance his reaction time by thoroughly understanding the definition of reaction time, and creating for himself a mental stability that allows him to be in present time. Furthermore, he must drill recognition of defensive and offensive alignments, drill techniques that can be applied to those defensive and offensive alignments, and develop his certainty. Ability is not served up on a silver platter, one must train properly to develop it.