Explosive speed is the key to winning – at whatever the sport. Brisance is a term referring to the speed of an explosive shockwave. The faster the shockwave, the more brisance it is said to have. Those who quarry stone don’t want brisance. They prefer a slower moving explosive, like TNT. They don’t want the shockwave bouncing off the rock. They want it to MOVE the rock, so they can break it up and extract it. The military on the other hand, prefers a fast explosive shockwave, with more brisance. This shoots the shrapnel faster and farther, thus providing a greater kill zone.
Throwing a good punch is much the same. We want brisance, just like the military. Speed kills!
When a boxer hits a heavy bag, he wants to impart all of his energy into the bag. If he hits the bag slowly, using all of his strength, the bag will move a good distance. It will swing, but the movement of the bag is absorbing the energy. The bag itself is not absorbing the energy. The boxer wants a complete transfer of energy into the bag, just like his human target. He wants his opponent to feel and absorb every bit of it. If the other man is shoved backwards, that energy is transferred into the movement, just like the swinging bag or rocks at the quarry.
On the other hand, if a boxer pops the bag as fast and hard as he can, the bag will hardly move. In this instance, the bag has absorbed all of the energy. This is an effective strike.
If we use all of our might to push someone with a bath towel, they will likely move under the force of our strength, but it won’t hurt them. Depending on the towel, it might even feel good. But if we pop them with the towel, well, that’s a different story. That’s going to hurt. And this is how a fighter throws a good punch. He cracks his fist like a whip.
Sports are not won with superior strength and size. They are won with superior speed, and explosivity. When a smaller player on the football field dominates a much larger player, he does it with explosive force. At the last moment, before impact, the superior athlete takes every fiber of muscle within his body, and focuses it into a single sudden explosion. All things being equal, the more explosive athlete will prevail every time – in every sport.
I think boxing is the best way to learn explosivity, but there are many tried and true methods. Plyometrics are excellent, where you jump up onto boxes. Launching into a tackling sled is good, or practice coming out of the blocks up at the track. It’s all about that sudden, explosive release of energy. Learn it well – and perform well!