Force Compression

Apply force in rapid, intense bursts.

There are two ways to apply force against your opponent:

  1. With a long, extended push, or
  2. In short, explosive movements.

The latter (short, exposive movements) is almost always preferable. Here’s why.

Imagine you’re throwing a punch. Which will be more effective?

  1. Slowly pushing your fist against their jaw, or
  2. Actually winding up and punching them.

Most people would agree that the first option would be more of an annoyance than an actual punch, whereas the second option would be damaging. This holds true even if the total amount of force applied is the same in both situations. The difference is force compression.

Force compression tells us that force is more effective when applied quickly. That’s what we call “explosiveness.” It’s why a whip, which is just a rope, can generate so much power when it cracks: all the force is applied in a single instant.

Force compression is related to the study of plyometrics.

Benefits of force compression

It’s more efficient.
Force compression yields greater results with less energy expenditure.

You’re more likely to get kuzushi.
When you apply force in quick bursts, you deny your opponent the ability to react and brace against it.

It doesn’t telegraph your intentions.
If you only tense up when applying force and are otherwise relaxed, it’s much more difficult for your opponent to predict what you’re going to do.

Examples of force compression

The arm drag.
Arm drags only work when done quickly and suddenly. A slow pull will not achieve maximum kuzushi.

The collar drag.
An effective collar drag requires a quick jerk of the collar, rather than a long protracted pull.

Grip breaks.
If you’re having trouble breaking grips, ask yourself if you’re sufficiently compressing force. You want to take the slack out of the grip, then rapidly shove or tug your opponent’s hand.

Further study