The most comprehensive, informative, and practical book ever written about speed for the martial arts.
Detailed and in-depth but written in plain-spoken language with a coach-like tone and an emphasis on achieving maximum results. There is useful speed on nearly every page that can be put to work in your sparring, competition, and self-defense right now. Then there are advanced concepts that can fuel a lifetime of speed development.
• No bogus methods.
• No useless drills.
• No endless pages of step-by-step photos.
• No repeating of the myths you've heard before.
• No cookie-cutter, scripted, or choreographed anything.
The Book of Speed is packed with practical skills that you can put to work right now. They're presented with an emphais on the concepts involved so that you can easily adapt them to your body, your style, and your chosen art.
Primarily for stand-up fighters but there are tons of concepts that are useful for anyone who wants to be fast.
Can You Increase Your Speed?
Darn right you can. You can have dominating speed.
A definition specifically for martial artists.
Perception to Response
Doorknobs, diamonds, and guitar players.
Hand speed, foot speed, motor engrams, and silent periods.
The foundation of speed.
Be faster without being faster.
Master this and everything happens faster.
Strength and Conditioning
You can't be fast when you're gassed.
Get your foot off the brake.
Get this wrong and nothing else will matter.
Accuracy and Timing
Missing is speed lost.
Don't give your opponent advance notice.
Speed and Power
The speed connection.
Skills and Training
A box full of speed.
Speed for Self-Defense
The most important reason to be fast.
Page iv - Why drills are not the answer.
Page v - To be fast, you must understand.
Page 1– Why I know that you can have dominating speed!
Page 3 – How much can you increase your speed?
Page 4 – Why the doubters are wrong.
Page 5 – Much of speed is in your head. And that's a good thing.
Page 6 – Understand what a firetruck can teach you about speed and you will already be ahead of nearly everyone.
Page 7 – Speed is much more than just moving fast.
Page 8 – The definitive definition of speed for martial artists.
Page 9 – When to start the clock and when to stop it.
Page 10 – Why it is not about reaction time!
Page 13 – Why don’t all martial artists perceive fast?
Page 14 – You’ve got to understand perception.
Page 15 – More about why it is not about reaction time?
Pages 16 & 17 – More understanding of perception.
Page 18 – The mortal enemy of speed.
Page 19 – Where speed lives. And, how to fight like a guitar player.
Pages 21 to 27 – How to perceive extremely fast and without conscious thought. All the details and training.
Pages 28 to 32 – The specifics of perceiving without conscious thought… Hint: Everything’s a doorknob.
Pages 34 to 35 – Keys to faster response.
Pages 36 to 40 – How your senses can make you faster.
Pages 40 to 42 – Why you never saw it coming and how to avoid that pitfall.
Page 43 – The fallacy of choreography and scripting.
Page 44 – Utilize the flinch response for speed? Not so fast.
Pages 46 & 47 - Why your body type and muscle composition are not important.
Page 48 – Why you’re not too big to be fast.
Pages 49 to 55 - A scientific masterclass on fast movement that can take your speed beyond normal limits.
Page 56 – How to train for maximum movement speed.
Page 57 – How traditional training methods are sabotaging your movement speed.
Pages 58 to 64 – Can the neuroscience behind the Premovement Silent Period make you faster?
Page 66 – Break the slow habit.
Pages 69 & 70 – Loose is fast but not too loose.
Page 75 – The unsung hero of speed that will make you faster.
Page 79 – What you need to learn first for faster spinning kicks.
Page 83 – Easily tame the forces that slow you down. It’s all about physics.
Page 85 – A simple adjustment to make your speed kicks speedier.
Pages 89 to 97 – Simple training that builds a foundation for speed.
Page 100 – How to be faster without being faster.
Page 103 – A quick change that will make you instantly faster.
Page 104 – Another quick change that will make you instantly faster.
Pages 105 & 106 – Three more quick changes that will make you instantly faster.
Page 107 – A simple change to instantly take advantage of your natural speed.
Page 108 – The very common habit that kills your striking and defending speed and how to make it NOT happen.
Pages 110 & 111 – How to quickly counter spinning kicks, roundhouse kicks, and straight-line kicks.
Page 112 – Three ways high kicks cost time and speed.
Page 113 – The common training habit that you must stop now. And nearly all of you are doing it.
Pages 115 & 116 – How tradition is systematically killing your speed.
Page 116 – How to train for efficient (fast) movement.
Page 119 – The simple movement that nearly everyone neglects (even the pros). Add this training to your regimen and become a much faster striker. This is the one that makes me SCREAM!
Page 123– The uncool kick that should be your go-to for speed. And, 17 reasons why.
Page 126 – Another easy to fix bad habit that makes you slower.
Page 127 – A wasted movement that nearly everybody does that kills your speed and a quick sparring change that will make you faster and improve your stamina.
Page 129 – Many schools neglect conditioning. Why that’s a good thing.
Pages 130 & 131 – Speed and your muscles, and the training mistakes to avoid.
Page 133 – Don’t spar for stamina? Yup, you read that right.
Pages 133 to 137 – A stamina training method that just might be perfect for your speed. And… maybe not.
Page 138 – Train your kicking speed while giving your knees a break.
Page 141 – Flexibility isn’t just for high kicks… there’s a huge speed gain in it for you.
Page 143 – Your stretching routine is probably sabotaging your speed. And that means nearly everybody.
Pages 144 & 145 – Seven “Nevers” of stretching and what to do instead.
Page 148 – The number one rule for speed.
Page 152 – The popular way to never train for focus.
Page 153 – Widen your field of view for faster, and better, awareness.
Pages 154 to 156 – Superior mental control so your mind is all-in for speed.
Page 158– Enjoy getting hit? That’s right. You’ll be faster for it.
Pages 159 to 170 – Two subjects that are almost never mentioned when training for speed. Why they matter and how to train them.
Page 172 – Don’t wind up losing.
Page 174 – Ten common telegraphs you must stop now.
Page 176 – Break telegraphic habits and eliminate those nearly imperceptible telegraphs.
Pages 177 & 178 – Use telegraphs to your advantage for even more speed.
Page 180 – No! Power is not F=ma! Not for martial artists.
Pages 180 to 183 – The physics behind the speed/power connection.
Pages 184 to 190 – How to find speed and power in the 9 parts of the power punch.
Page 192 – The other place you need speed and power.
Pages 192 & 193 – The speed habit’s dark side.
Page 195 – Speed is never a substitute for proper form and how to train to get it right.
Page 196 – You’ll thank me later and how to make it happen.
Page 197 – How to be much faster by doing less.
Pages 198 to 200 – Much faster kicks and how to make it happen.
Page 201 – Your defense needs to be faster than your offense and 6 ways to make sure it is.
Page 202 – How to be faster by keeping your hands up and why you may need to keep them down.
Page 203 – When speed makes you slow.
Page 204 - Change your blocking mindset for a quick and easy speed gain that nearly no one does.
Pages 208 to 212 – Eight ways to be faster when sparring.
Page 215 – The fastest self-defense technique in existence.
Page 216 – Do you want to fight, or do you want to win?
Pages 218 to 220 – Eight serious ways to gain speed for self-defense. They need to happen now.
Page 222 – The key to fast safety.
Pages 224 to 226 – When it’s time to fight.
Page 227 – Choreography and scripting are death to speed.
Page 228 – Sloppy self-defense is fast self-defense.
Page 229 – Don’t share your weapons.
Practicing for a demo circa 1985
David Howell brings a unique combination of skills to the study of speed. His martial art studies began in 1980. He has trained in many varied styles and had a very successful tournament career to which he credits his speed. He has also studied the mind, learning ability, and intelligence since the early 80s. He teaches accelerated learning and high-level cognitive skills. He is the author of How To Be Brilliant - Brainpower For Kids.
Howell takes a very analytical approach to the study of speed. Conversely, he takes a plain-spoken, no-nonsense approach to teaching that is focused on maximum results.
His article entitled, "Balance: The Foundation of Technique" appeared in the May 1996 issue of Tae Kwon Do Times magazine.
His latest article, "Speed: It's More Than Just Moving Fast" is in the the January 2019 issue of Tae Kwon Do Times magazine.
Photo by Kathi Lacasse
Even His Dogs Are Fast
Howell and his family have adopted several retired racing greyhounds. They’re the second fastest land animal on the planet, and they love to run, but they’re just as happy lounging on your sofa. They make great pets, and they’ll help keep you fast.
Make a fast friend. Adopt a greyhound.
The content of this book is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitute for instruction by qualified martial art, self-defense, and physical fitness instructors. Never engage in martial art, self-defense, or physical fitness training without proper guidance and instruction from a qualified instructor.
The training techniques, exercises, and skills described in this book can be physically demanding and dangerous. You must consult with a medical professional before engaging in any of these activities.
Martial arts and self-defense are dangerous, very dynamic, fluid activities that involve countless unpredictable variables, and extreme risk including loss, physical and psychological injury, and death. The author and publisher assume no responsibility or liability for any loss, injury, or death, present or future, that may occur or may be alleged to occur as a result of engaging in these activities or as a result of the application of any of the information in this book. The author and publisher of this book provide no warranty or guarantee, expressed or implied, that the techniques, concepts, or content presented in this book will be effective in any or all martial art or self-defense situations.
The author and publisher of this book are not liable or responsible in any manner whatsoever to any person or entity for any loss, damage, injury, death, or any other adverse consequence of any nature, present or future, that may result from or is alleged to have resulted from studying, practicing, applying or misusing any of the concepts, techniques, or ideas and/or from following any information or instructions contained within this book.
Minors must never engage in martial art, self-defense, or physical fitness training, or any of the training or activities described in this book without responsible and competent adult supervision.
If you choose to engage in any of the activities described in this book or utilize any of the information in this book, you do so at your own risk.