An analogy compares two things, which are similar in several respects, for the purpose of explaining or clarifying some unfamiliar or difficult idea or object by showing how the idea or object is similar to some familiar one. Analogies may help explain a technique or concept in a way that is easier for students to understand.
I use analogies all the time. I think they are beneficial in helping get my point across to students. What I have found about my analogies is that:
- Most fit the point I am trying to make and help explain the point. Some fit the point but a better one could have been used. A few miss the point entirely and confuse the issue.
- When debating a point with people, sometimes they focus on my analogy and want to debate it, rather than debating my original point. Usually this is because they have such weak arguments to support their side of the debate so they are trying to change the subject.
Here are a few of the analogies I use:
Punching v. Fire Hose
When a fireman opens the valve of a fire hydrant, the water surges into the fire hose, and causes the hose to suddenly jerk straight and become rigid, allowing the water to flow with little resistance until it leaves the nozzle and strikes the fire. When punching an opponent, imagine that your shoulder is a hydrant. When the hydrant is turned on and forces are suddenly applied down the arm, your arm should suddenly straighten toward the target and become rigid until the forces are released into the target.
Punching versus Bullwhip
When punching, think of the arm as a bullwhip. When snapping a bullwhip, the handle of a whip moves relatively slowly but the tip moves very quickly. If the snapping motion is done properly, the length of the whip stays relaxed until the end of the motion when the handle is jerked backward. At this moment, the tip of the whip will exceed the speed of sound (break the sound barrier) and make a popping noise. A punch should be performed in the same manner. The arm stays loose and relaxed as it moves toward the target and, at the moment the fist contacts the target, the arm is jerked backward, which increases the speed, and thus the force, of the punch.
Punching versus Hammering
When you use a hammer to drive a nail, the head of the hammer moves in a large arc; however, the other end of the handle only moves in a small arc. When sparring, a punch should use the same motion. In your guard, the lead hand (head of the hammer) may move randomly to keep it in motion to confuse the opponent, but the elbow (end of the hammer) should stay relatively stationary in front of the body, protecting the lower ribs. When ready to punch, you "drop the hammer" by suddenly moving the fist toward the target. In this motion, the fist makes a large movement while the elbow moves relatively little.
Punching versus Line Drive