For a technique to transfer all its power to the target, it must arrive on time. If the technique is "too early" or "too late," it will not be effective. Although the execution of a technique appears to be one smooth action, the technique actually involves two stages: preparation and execution. The technique must be "set up" and then delivered. This means preparation must begin before execution. Preparation must occur for the technique to attain maximum power. A punch or kick must be cocked or chambered for it to have maximum power. One must spar many hours to learn to anticipate actions by an opponent so there will be time to prepare before execution of a technique.
Best times to attack are when opponent:
- Is about to attack, he or she is too preoccupied with the attack to think about defense.
- Has finished his or her attack and about to withdraw.
- Is moving backward or withdrawing.
- Has blocked your first technique and is open for a second attack.
- Stops movement and loses concentration.
- Is inhaling.
- Is off balance or changing stance.
Beginning and intermediate students are taught to time their hand techniques so they land just as the stepping foot reaches the floor. Advanced students learn to vary the timing of their attacks so they arrive at the target just before or just after the step reaches the floor, so they may confuse the opponent. When stepping forward with a reverse punch, the punch is usually delivered late so as to gain maximum benefit from hip rotation. Most students deliver the hand technique too late all the time. This reduces the benefit of stepping forward.