When we first learn to punch, we learn to chamber. When we learn to kick, the instructor is always telling us to chamber. When perform patterns, we are told to imagine the chamber as an extra movement added between the traditional movements, and that we should exaggerate the chambering movement. However, when we spar we do not chamber. Or do we? The chamber is still there, it is just subtle and hidden within the movements. A fist that is pulled back to its guard position is chambering.
Reasons for chambering punches
- Chambering may also be an elbow attack into a person grabbing you from the rear.
- When a punching wrist is grabbed, chambering releases the grab by the twisting of the wrist toward the person's thumb, and it pulls the opponent into a counter punch using the opposite hand.
- Chambering allows the punch to be delivered with full-power as a finishing blow.
- Chambering helps reinforce hip movement that is used to generate power.
- As you chamber, you tighten the fist, which helps build strength.
- Full motion chambering strengthens and stretches the arm muscles so that, while sparring, more power may be generated in the limited motion sparring chamber.
- When blocking, such as with inner or outer middle outside forearm blocks, chambering allow more power to be applied to the block.
Reasons for chambering kicks
- Chambering a kick high allows all the power in the hip, leg, and body to be applied into the kick.
- A side kick that comes from the floor may be jammed by an opponent rushing in. A side kick that is chambered high with the knee pulled back to the side may be executed even when the opponent is within punching range.
- A high chambered kick gives the opponent less time to react. Since the kick may be targeted low, middle, or high, the opponent does not know where the kick may go.
- A re-chambered kick may be executed again with almost as much power as the first kick.
Whenever possible, all techniques should be chambered (cocked) before execution and after so maximum power may be imparted into the technique. In training this is an overt, complete motion, while in an actual self-defense situation, it is usually a covert, truncated motion. In a self-defense situation, most techniques are executed with minimal, if any, chambering, except for the coup de grace, when a full chambered, full power technique is used to finish off the attacker.
Chambering for kicks usually involves raising the knee. In the side kick, hook, or heel kicks, the knee of the kicking leg is pulled back across the front of the body with the lower leg held parallel to the floor. This allows all the large muscles of the upper leg to thrust behind the foot. If the kick were to come straight from the floor to the target, it would not be as powerful and it would be easy for the opponent to block or jam. By re-chambering the leg to this high cocked position, it makes it easier to execute subsequent powerful kicks without returning the foot to the floor. In the roundhouse kick, the knee of the kicking leg lifts straight up with the shin parallel to the floor for the same reasons as the side kick.
Chambering for hand techniques usually involves crossing the arms. Depending on the technique used, the attacking arm may cross over or under the other arm. The arms are tightly crossed one over the other with one elbow over the other. From this position, if either arm is grabbed, the other is free to react. If the arms are crossed with one in front of the other, if the leading arm is grabbed and pushed backward, it will trap the other arm and prevent any reaction with the arms.
If chambering is always used in training sessions, it will led to quick techniques that also have maximum power. Like everything else, it takes extensive training to chamber quick enough to make blocks ineffective.