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BFR - What is that?

Updated on December 5, 2012

BFR is . . .


In order to properly execute techniques, the student (karateka) must control them through balance, focus and relaxation, (BFR). Techniques should never control the karateka.

It takes time since it is a learned action



Balance is having the feet and hands properly placed with a proper weight distribution and proper execution of the technique, along with the proper focus.

Balance requires a proper transfer of power/momentum without which one would end up off balance and, possibly on the ground after execution of a (missed) technique.

Balance is dependent upon whether the student is punching or kicking the "air," on various pads or an opponent.

When executing drills "in the air," that is without resistance, the technique should be executed with limited power, not more than 50% speed and power, while keeping weight within the "tipping point." This allows the student to increase control and balance while developing the technique. Overpowering the technique without resistance will cause immediate balance problems and physical damage to the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments over time.

When executing on a bag or pad, the amount of power is dictated by the type of pad, whether or not it is hand held or suspended mechanically. One must also consider the purpose of the drill, i.e., to perfect the technique, the balance or the for developing power.

When executing on an opponent," the opponent provides the stopping action as does the pad above. A proper technique demands body weight move toward the centerline of the opponent/target. The proper transfer of power (momentum) from the giver to the receiver is what allows the giver to regain their balance as alluded to above where one trains "in the air." Without the movement toward the opponent/target, the technique would be dramatically reduced in effect.

There is also a proper "attitude balance."

When in an actual "street" situation, the object is to end the confrontation as quickly as possible, but using only that force which is necessary to render your opponent incapable (mentally or physically) of continuing the assault. But, when sparring (in-house), the purpose is to teach each other not to destroy each other, therefore full power techniques are uncalled for in training drills and set ups when facing other students.

Balance is highly dependent upon the continuation and proper completion of a technique as the brain has computed balance based on proper completion.

Proper techniques can be learned and controlled. The ultimate goal is "minimize the incoming while maximizing the output and having proper balance upon completion.

It's a mind and body thing.



Focus is identifying the "danger" or the target, mentally and physically.

Mentally, the focus is on the job at hand.

Physically, the eyes are on the opponent. Specifically, focus is initially directed to a spot in the middle of the opponents chest where the two collar bones would join if extended. This is where all offensive movement starts.

Through proper training of both mental and physical focus, the mind will be programmed to adjust the focus as the situation changes. The student should also develop an ability to gauge distance for protection and counter action. This is done through repeated practice, such as when one learns to walk.

Tension constricts the action



Relaxation is a "primary" issue for confrontation in or out of the class setting.

Relaxation requires a lack of emotion which can be of value in reaction time. THIS IS THE EMPTY MIND CONCEPT OF THE TRADITIONAL ARTS, BUT IS NOT PART OF A RELIGIOUS SYSTEM. One should always be in control of their faculties. In a confrontation, that control is subject to the ability to set aside all thought patterns that are not associated with the task at hand. It also includes shutting out negative thought patterns such as "what the other guy might do to me" and vice versa.

Breathing is an important factor in relaxation and is more closely akin to relaxation than to "balance and focus." But we must remember that breathing will affect all three, either positively or negatively.

The most important item for attaining relaxation is proper breathing. Proper breathing is a necessity for muscular relaxation. Tightness and slowness of movement and/or reaction are a result of poor breathing and will inhibit the technique.

The relationship of breathing to relaxation has to do with the volume of air contained in the body. Simply put, oxygen relaxes; carbon dioxide constricts. The heart will demand from the lungs, that amount of oxygen necessary for the actions taking place and continue. Without a proper exchange, reflexes will be slowed (stiff muscles), balance will be faulty and timing and focus will be altered.

As an ending to this writing, we leave the reader with three items that have been part of the Christian Martial Arts Fellowship (CMAF) training program since 1990. They are the basics of Cha Yun-do, the discipline taught in all CMAF schools.


Axiom #1

CONTROL yourself. The student must always control the technique. The technique must never control the student.

Axiom #2

BREATH at a rate required by the body in order to function efficiently.



"PT" is proper technique. Every PT is composed of four elements.

"X" is the movement or technique (block, kick or punch)

"BFR" are the other three elements: 1) balance; 2) focus; 3) relaxation

The student controls the movement "X" by controlling the "BFR" factors. A technique will have its maximum effect when all is in harmony. (This is harmony between the four elements not the harmony akin to the occult in the traditional sense.)

Lacking one of these elements, such as in this formula "X + B + F - R," will impair a technique’s effectiveness, but the technique may still have value. However, lacking two of the three factors, the technique will have little or no value. And, at the same time, it may result in the student placing themselves off balance, out of position and in an indefensible situation.

All techniques will have their maximum affect when all the elements work in harmony, BALANCE-FOCUS-RELAXATION (BFR).

PT (Proper Technique) = X (executed technique) + B (balance) + F (focus) + R (relaxation).



- proper execution, before, during and after the technique

- circular action

- linear trajectory


Mix all the ingredients together and perfect them in a regular training schedule.

Information and Acknowledgement

NOTE: All written training information presented by Dr. Randolph A. Young and the Christian Martial Arts Fellowship is for informational purposes and is not presented as a training program. All training and use of martial arts techniques should be learned and developed only under the direction and supervision of a qualified instructor.

IMAGE COPYRIGHT: Images, references and other related material used are mainly from personal files or It is not our intend to infringe on these rights in anyway. When timely proper notification is received regarding an issue, the item will be removed as soon as possible.


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    • PastorAndrew profile image

      Andrew Grosjean 5 years ago from Detroit

      Dr Young is an excellent martial artist and instructor, but he his a better mentor and Christian. I have known him for 15 years or so. You should listen to what he says. It will help you.