Gyms and personal training studios (and even some martial arts schools unfortunately) are filled with people who LOOK LIKE they are throwing punches and kicks.  They aren’t.  Looking like it and doing it are two completely different things.  It is not enough to throw something that “looks” like a punch or kick. 
To operate in this way is a complete waste of time and energy while also being potentially dangerous because you might start thinking that you can actually punch and kick. 
Here is the main problem.  In order to throw a strong and fast punch or kick, you need to recruit the right muscles and have them fire in the appropriate sequence to really develop any sort of real speed and power. 
This is why “self defense” seminars, cardio-kickboxing programs, and foolish personal trainers don’t work.  The only thing that develops the appropriate recruitment of muscle chains is constant repetition over an extended period of time.  All of these methods can recruit muscle fibers.  But only educated training will get your body to fire these muscles in the appropriate sequence.
That is to say that the way you train has a severe impact on the outcome of your performance. 
If, for some reason, you never attempt to throw a punch or kick with full power…  your body will not know what its like to recruit that chain. As a matter of fact, it will not even know that it is POSSIBLE to throw a stronger punch or kick than you are currently attempting. 
The ultimate problem is that if you don’t throw that motion over and over again with full power, you will not have developed the habit of recruiting the chain of muscles required… and therefore you lack power. 
The same can be said for speed.  As they know, muscles are made up of different fibers which fire at different rates.  One creates speed.  The other power. 
If you don’t throw punches and kicks which are meant to be as fast as you can, those fibers will not be recruited and your body will not know that “faster” is even possible. 
Finally, given these two realities… if you are not training both speed AND power, you will not develop the “holy grail” of martial arts which is to be able to achive BOTH at the same time. 
Here is the up side:  The major benefit that you receive from training in this way is NOT to be able to kick someone’s butt.  Obviously, we would like you to be able to do that but the reality is that you are most likely never going to be in a fist fight or have to defend yourself. 
The real benefit to you is the increased level of confidence.  When you hit the bag and you see the result of a fast, strong punch or kick, you smile inside and say “Yeah…  that’s it.”  That level of confidence is highly contagious and seeps into every facet of your life.  You walk differently, carry yourself differently, apply yourself in stressful situations differently…  everything changes when you ultimately become confident in what your body can do.  This is the real benefit…  Confidence!
This is why we constantly state that it is YOUR class and that you want to have a plan heading into your class.  We obviously have an outline and you wouldn’t want to go counter to that outline (sometimes we are working specifically on speed or power)…  yet most of these ideas can be applied to 99% of our classes.  
As you approach your classes over the next few weeks, figure out what it is that you want to develop.  Remember that true martial arts skill is developed over years and not months.  (The same can be said for true physical transformation.)  You don’t need to accomplish EVERYTHING now.  You need to accomplish SOMETHING.  Pick what it is before you bow in and then throw your heart into it. 
See you in class!