Momentum and the Forward Drive

Momentum and the Forward Drive

The three pillars of  self defense are POSITION, DISTANCE and MOMENTUM.

Position is where you are in relation to the threat.

Distance is how far you are from the threat.

Momentum is your motion forward.

Momentum is the key.

Keeping your target off balance while maintaining yours will render your attacker powerless since he doesn’t have a solid base, he can’t set his feet and generate power.

Momentum will also enable you to create openings to either press the attack or escape.

Unfortunately martial arts have literally removed momentum from your basic technique training.

Please take a look at the following video on HOW TO DO  FRONT KICK and see if you can tell what’s wrong with it…

CONFESSION – At one time, I taught how to do basic kicks and punches EXACTLY like this.

We believed that keeping your balance and control through the technique was one of the BEST ways to learn how to do the technique….with control.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I WAS WRONG and my instructors were wrong.  

Training any technique like this removes all the momentum and KILLS YOUR POWER.

A technique has two basic parts – OUT to your target and then BACK to reset.

When you throw a technique you need to hit with POWER which means you need SPEED and WEIGHT behind it. But when you kick as demonstrated in the above video, you need to SLOW DOWN and hold your weight back. This makes your technique POWERLESS.

Ask yourself, would you…more to the point, could you, kick down a door with that front kick? (if you said YES, you’re an animal).

In order to go through the door you need ALL YOUR WEIGHT and SPEED and there’s no way you’re going to do that staying in one spot.

When you practice you should ALWAYS take ground and move forward (in the SDTS we call this the FORWARD DRIVE).

When you land, you’re going to plant your foot and keep moving forward.

Even if you don’t “hit him” your momentum alone will force him to either stop his forward movement, move backwards or out of the way. Either way it STOPS his attack for a split second. 

This will give you enough time to follow up with another attack or escape – BUT YOU DON’T STOP.

Below is a video lesson from Module 1 of the Self Defense Training System Bronze Program.


There’s another thing that happens when you have momentum…you actually “GET BIGGER”.  Notice the graph at the top of the page. When you MOVE FORWARD, you actually increase your mass. A smaller body in motion will have more impact than a larger body at rest. So the SMALLER you are, the more critical it is that you MOVE FORWARD!!!

*Note – this is not sparring where you’re feeling your opponent out, setting the distance and playing a sport. This is life or death self defense when your SNS kicks in (fight or flight) you have a huge adrenaline dump and a tremendous sense of urgency and the forward drive takes advantage of your SNS activation.

The forward drive takes advantage of FIGHT OR FLIGHT and will amplify your attack. 

But even in sparring, you will step into a jab (ever so slightly) and try to cut the ring off and get him off balance. YOU NEVER go right back to the exact spot where you started.

Train your techniques to DRIVE through the target and always try to be where your target is standing.

Until next time…

Train Honestly,


PS. Didn’t start yet – check out 60 minute self defense HERE <<<

If you did that already, maybe it’s time to start the  SDTS Bronze Program for $1 HERE <<

Published by theselfdefenseco

Founder, The Self Defense Company

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  1. The formula for Kinetic Energy (KE) = 0.5 times the mass (M) times the velocity (V) squared. So the faster a person is moving toward the target the more energy will be delivered. Moving twice as fast delivers four times the energy.
    Thanks for reminding us of how important our forward motion is.

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