Tag Archives: JKD

The Jab vs. The Straight Lead of JKD

By Al Alvir

Having just read The Straight Lead by Teri Tom, I was compelled to write about “The Boxing Jab.”  The straight lead works as a more powerful jab than the boxing jab, and it indeed has more reach than the classic boxing jab.  The problem is that the straight lead serves no additional function from a ‘regular jab’ than to make up for its lack of power in the wrist (as the straight lead’s form is to not turn the wrist) with explosive hip rotation.  JKD people tend to overstate the effectiveness of hip rotation in the jab, simultaneously underestimating the effectiveness of shifting weight and the dynamics of not rotating the hip with the jab.

The boxing jab serves as a tool for measuring distance and for setting-up an opponent.  The boxing jab, too, has numerous contact spots (aka pop spots, meaning the point of snap (this is discussed in other articles on Shootafairone.com), as a fighter has the luxury to jab shooting his hip with various torques.  This is a bad habit, however, for an educated fighter, because he is giving away positioning and taking his 2 farther from his opponent.  Also, when a fighter shoots his hip for a jab, it’s wasted energy, as it complicates such a simple weapon.  If a fighter can be successful throwing a straight lead, I promise that it will only be situational and will not happen against a person with better attributes.  I, myself, used to train the straight lead and was effective with it when it was effective (I meant to state it that way), but I found that I was way out of position for intelligent onslaught after missing.  But as I always say, “test it.”

It’s just a jab, either way.  It’s likely not going to knock-out anyone worthy of fighting.  The reason jabs are so important and effective is that jabs can be thrown rapidly and at repetition without unwise commitment.

The biggest problem of JKD’s straight lead teachings is that the teachers often aren’t schooled, or simply don’t teach, the progression of functionality; in other words, they skip the education on all the functions of that lead hand.  One example is keeping that lead hand up as insurance for 2’s coming from the same stance (same lead).  Simply put, JKD men often complicate the functions of the lead hand.  This complication, or over-complication, coupled with trapping and kicking and groundwork, makes it a ridiculous testament to its absurdity.  I mean, a damn book on a single punch was written for an amalgam of students the world over who are at opposing ends of JKD practice, and from which the majority of the pool is no good.  My friend, Bryan Lamont, is a JKD coach – one of the few good ones – who criticizes the poor JKD concept guys as well as acknowledges that most traditional JKD guys as sloppy and “all over the place.”  He remains loyal to JKD, yet I see him stray as I think any good JKD man should.

The straight lead mumbo jumbo and the detailed stance to the deferential treatment of Bruce Lee’s “writings” are all akin to hero-worship and go against what I believe were Bruce Lee’s teachings which were to keep things simple and direct.  The Straight Lead, as every single JKD book I’ve ever come across, is all about teaching style cookie-cut to a whole flock.  When Tom “scientifically” talks about stance, she undermines the effectiveness of infinite stances.  Boxing coaching – like baseball batting coaching or any proven sport – is broken down into the most fundamentally simple functions, allowing for the individual to evolve from that foundation in a very personal way.  Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson to Roy Jones Jr. to Floyd Mayweather Jr. got their styles from that foundation.  In JKD, Bruce Lee made a horrible mistake, as he himself prophesized, by setting specific “rules” or a “way” on style by detailing “his style.”  (*Aside:  Teaching such a linear stance will handicap some people from evolving and finding their own styles, as it is a more difficult way to learn how to shoot hips, weaving, slipping, offense, and moving in angles. This may be better explained in a different article, but I digress…)

Now, I am not against the straight lead, as it is called here.  Great boxers do it all the time.  Floyd Mayweather Jr. does it, but many boxing men call it an “up-jab.”  It’s a sneaky way to fit the punch between a opponent’s guard, and to find him from a greater distance.  Many boxers practice it as a sort of uppercut with the palm up and the punch rising under the chin from jab distance.  I always dismiss that stuff as signature stuff not to be taught on a greater scale.  Furthermore, it is important to know the most basic way of jabbing effectively before progressing into jabbing from different body angles, shooting the hips, and throwing the jab away from the face (aka “Lead hand no man’s land”).  Turning the fist and not the hips will provide for the best distance finder and the most practical use of energy.

Even if a well-schooled fighter throws a straight lead, he will not throw the straight lead from a high guard.  And well-schooled fighters sometimes have to have a high guard.  He may have to jab down and without turning his fist, he cannot produce the snap behind the shoulder; the vertical fist would have to be thrown with all the triceps muscle.  On a smaller note, a jab covers a little less area with the vertical fist and doesn’t cut someone as easily – this common boxer contention, however, is not the major reason turning the fist is better.  Additionally, a Floyd Mayweather Jr. shell stance is the best proven stance to throw the straight lead, but it’s important for fighters to get that chin behind that shoulder.  Mike Tyson did his version of the straight lead, but his speed advantage and his size made it necessary at times to turn his hip so explosively.  Punching up also naturally protects a fighter on that side, as the shoulder blocks the chin.

JKD practitioners such as Teri Tom discuss science behind punching, as I have in some earlier articles, and she and I are on par with the science.  Bruce Lee said “several inches and snap,” and I say “2-4 inches and snap,” but the difference is arbitrary.  But Tom discusses the Impulse-Theorem and retraction, to which I contend the reason turning the fist is better (again, see my other articles on the science of punching).  Take the hip out of the equation, and anyone will see a little more pop with the turning of the fist.

The Straight Lead is a great conversation starter, but it’s filled with misleading information and points that are amiss.  If Tom knows what she is talking about, the semantics can be challenged.  The cookie-cutter science may seem to simplify, but that’s a fallacy.  There is nothing simpler than custom skills and honest, uber-personal evolution while maintaining what this book complicates:  basics.

After all, it is just a jab.

I can hear it already… Straight Lead zombies swearing that it is much more elaborate than that.

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Unconventional Techniques – Spinning Backfist, Superman Punch, and the Straight Blast

by Al Alvir

The martial arts are littered with conceptual techniques that are vigorously taught to people who follow format usually without ever testing against it.  Then those techniques are reinforced and mastered whether they’re made to fail or made to make their marks. 

Even if they work, how much do certain moves make sense in the big picture?

Within the amalgam of contrarian techniques, there are some unconventional moves that are regularly practiced along with foundational moves.  Spinning back kicks are learned along with sidekicks. Double hooks are learned when the hook itself is not learned.  Crosses are learned before straights.  Arm-bars are learned on every person’s first-day before a complete understanding of defensive positioning.  This is what seems to be what all mma gyms are becoming: places that just aim to keep it interesting even if individuals are not ready.  For every move that works, however, there’s a large group of people who cannot make it work.

Sure the spinning backfist is fun to practice with moves like the superman punch.  Hook kicks, too, can be more spectacular than front kicks.  And the Floyd Mayweather Jr. shoulder roll can be cute in the ring.  But these moves only have a semblance of practical use when they’re performed by fighters who have solid foundations and the experience of practicing those moves only after seeing a deficiency or opportunity in the practice and use of other moves.  In short, they have to set it up and not turn to it in desperation. They should not aim for luck (an oxymoron).  They have to know, in every way, that it is the right move with the right calculations of risk and reward.

The poverty of martial arts fundamentals also makes way for techniques that are outright nonsensical.  The number one most foolish type of technique is any of the litanies of techniques that resemble the “straight blast” (aka the “battle blast”).  It simply is the dumbest, most reprehensible move ever to be sold.  Yet it works.  It is also the precursor of the majority of knockouts in every combat sport.  There is evidence everywhere.  A friend of mine has been in well over 100 fights (including group brawls) and, according to him, every single one of his knockouts and wins came from someone “blasting” in on him (he was never knocked-out).  Watch amateur boxing contests.  Low-rung boxers.  Top-rung mma fighters.  Every bar brawl.  The one who runs in, runs into something and it’s “goodnight.”  If you are considering the straight blast to be a skilled practice of controlled advancement, the argument is that it includes forward momentum, lack of strategy, and zero off-hand defense.  It is, therefore, idiocy.  Not to throw punches while walking-in (and obviously, running-in) is one of the first things fighters learn in any boxing program. This is why top boxers virtually never throw two-fist combinations when they’re advancing by more than one step and slide.  The fundamental concept is that any move performed should be able to be halted roughly in place – not to put the body into momentum and not leaving the fighter in a position in which he cannot protect himself at all times.  More fighters have observably been knocked-out doing flying knees than being hit with them. This also goes for spinning backfists and superman punches that are extremely advanced and appropriate only for the elite fighters with highly dynamic skill sets.  Practice helps, too.

But many martial arts schools continue, on a daily basis, to teach sub-elite practitioners crazy moves that are easily countered with simple punches or takedowns – simply, the basics.  Boxing, for one art, is comprised of basics, pretty much exclusively.  It has the smallest finite fighting space out of all martial arts and arguably the most intensive strategy.  It is so intensive because it has a simple set of moves by which, at its best, there is no luck and there are infinite variables.  Since the days before the Marquess of Queensberry rules, there were an array of techniques that have been tested and done away with.  Turning the back had the spinner injured to the back of the head, jumping got the jumpers knocked-out, bending below the waist was akin to avoiding to fight, hitting with the ridge of the glove allowed for a perversion of expertise – there was no function – and the list goes on.

Muay Thai fighters used to hold their hands extremely high in a traditionally robotic stance exposing their mid-sections.  In Europe, however, they veered from that stance and stood in more traditional western boxing stances, clearly able to block high kicks and shoot elbows.  Thai fighters who stayed in that old style were getting beat by the naturalness and function of the westernized stances so much by the mid-90s that the obsolete hands high style is virtually extinct.  Now you see Thai trainers like Phil Nurse with successful camps of fighters who bob and weave and come out of the crouch more than any Thai man would ever have condoned decades ago. 

In the martial arts world, there continues to be throngs of people who believe in the vertical-fisted jab (thumb on top).  They believe it comes out faster and somehow produces just as much, if not more, effect.  But all evidence points to the contrary.  The larger muscles that are used when the jabbing hand rotates cause a greater transfer of energy and anatomically reaches more angles (see entry Fight Science, Not Sweet Science).  It seems minute, but all the brainwashed souls who teach the vertical fisted jab dwell on it so much that they seem to partake in wasting time to deny a hundred years of credibility and proof produced by the sport of boxing.  But who really gives a crap?  It’s still just a jab and it’s not knocking out anyone who’s worthy of fighting.

There is idiocy of all sorts in the fighting world.  There are moves that have little application.  Wide on-guard stances.  Extended arm blocks.  Cocking the punching hand at the waist.  Sometimes these moves manage to work.  But like the writers of Freakonomics assert, “correlation” is everywhere but the important thing is “causation.”  In short, if a bunch of fighters pull-off an idiot move, it doesn’t mean that idiot techniques are choice moves. Perhaps it is that any move works on idiots.

So if you don’t have the thrilling skill set of Cung Le or Anderson Silva, you might consider keeping it simple.  If not, even Daniel LaRusso can pull-off a crane kick once… once.

Know What You’re Getting Into Pt. II – What You Get From Traditional Martial Arts

Editorial

 Know What You’re Getting Into Pt. II

 What You Get From Traditional Martial Arts

The importance of traditional martial arts (TMA) often gets muted in discussions about contact fighting and actual self-defense, but it serves its purpose.  Depending on what an individual wants to take from combat arts, he will know what route is best for him.

I had mentioned in Part I of Know What You’re Getting Into that ‘fighting better’ should be the goal for all martial artists, but because anything like pushups and sit-ups can help someone fight better, I need to expound.  Every connoisseur of combat should have his ultimate goal, however wordy, to be: “Fighting better quicker, by which it entails learning in the most direct and lasting way and for the individual to be in perpetual readiness for progress towards being his best.”  Bruce Lee called it “the truth.”  In other words, if a fighter knows a combative skill to near perfection, he will not have to fix it for as long as he remembers it; it works, it is the truth.  Fighters should never have to unlearn whole techniques and systems.  They could learn new and different ways to do things only.  When someone has to unlearn some aspect of fighting that was learned, it proves he has not been perpetually progressing in the art of combat.  Simply put, he learned it wrong, or learned the wrong thing.  The learned technique, therefore, was a disservice to the individual.  Combat art is about progressions and building, not building only to tear down in order to build again.  Don’t confuse the process of “unlearning” that I’m referring to here with the sort of thing applied to “forgetting” and “getting out of shape” and “a bad habit.”  That process is called “getting off your ass.”  But unlearning major styles of fighting is back-tracking, and it would be the most difficult, time consuming course, and does not come from the foundation of “fighting better quicker.”  Beware of TMA, because there is a good chance you will have to unlearn it if you choose one day to explore other arts.

I always urge people not to be fooled, because there are indeed wrong things and better things in combat arts.  It’s not simply “whatever works for you.”  That is true in its spiritual core, but it tends to imbue nihilists and JKD maniacs into thinking there is no choice way.  So why train?  Why try to master if perfection is irrelevant?  Why work-out if attributes are the only arbitrator?  So, with that being clarified, why take up TMA if it doesn’t allow for the best path to fighting better quicker?

Common sense tells us that learning how to speak another language and blurting out ancient facts verbatim has little correlation to fighting better quicker.  But if it’s discipline someone is trying to achieve, TMA indeed offers it through such methods.  The argument that discipline necessarily begets fighting better quicker, however, creates a false analogy.  Just because you “need discipline to learn to fight,” it does not mean that “with discipline, you will learn how to fight.”  But the “tear you down, build you up,” quasi-military practice of TMA could be a usable foundation for people who need some demonstrative humiliation before they learn anything.  It is, historically, the most sure-fire way to produce a mass following and instill mindless allegiance.  But remember, even in the Marines, strict instructions means learning to “get by quicker,” and to blindly trust the chain of command.  For children, it teaches a fear of doing the wrong things from what the authority says.  But I’ve known many soldiers, and the misconception is that they know how to fight without the artillery and without their army’s back-up.

Culture is the greatest benefit of TMA.  It opens people’s minds to a different way of learning.  People can get their first tastes of tolerance in a dojo.  Putting on a uniform and tying a belt properly shows people different ways of life while embedding discipline and routine.  Some people believe they need the high-handedness that TMA offers, and many parents prefer it for their kids.  TMA will introduce foreign language and historical reference to every beautiful maneuver.  TMA will teach some really interesting, highly complicated techniques that may or may not have any real world applications (it may not work in a fight, period).  So don’t think learning TMA will teach anyone the best way to be in the art of combat until he experiences it for real.  Eventually, a TMA practitioner may learn how to fight, but the question remains: Did he learn to fight better quicker?

The Problem With Bruce Lee’s JKD – Afterword

Faith Based Training

JKD has adopted the deficiencies of traditional martial arts (TMA): faith based martial arts training, as I call it. Without questioning all facets of martial arts through the process of simulation training and mere skepticism, all TMA falls short of reality. And JKD is a peripheral victim. The fact is that martial arts training involves pain and frustration and randomness, and it’s not for everyone. It is not glorious at all in all the suffering that goes with it, yet it is a passion like anything else. Even disciplines that are proven through sports must be proven to each successive practitioner. For example, no matter how convinced we are that an arm-bar works, we cannot even trust a Royce Gracie without trying it for ourselves. We cannot know viscerally—not just theoretically—how to do it to an opponent until we actually do it.

Faith based training is what has become of martial arts. Coaches don’t tell why and students don’t ask why. Their training itself doesn’t answer why. Even mma gyms seem to have allowance for quasi-practitioners who just go to classes, do partial-contact drills, but don’t do the free sparring with minimal protection. Minimal protection is important, because you must be free to release genuine force and also process the pain. JKD men often put full gear on (shin protectors, head-gear with mask, and even stomach protectors); this allows fighters to release force upon one another, but it does not allow fighters to process the pain and react to it. Conversely, “gear-less sparring” generally does not allow fighters to release real force on one another, and then there’s nothing to process. No pain, it’s like play-fighting.

The adoption of instructor titles and monikers is another indirect perpetuation of faith based training. It causes students to become followers who don’t question. It’s like religion of martial arts. A coach’s ability to communicate a way of thinking about fighting is better than any coach brainwashing. Anything that lends to brainwashing—as in “believe this because I’m saying so, trust me”—should be extinguished from martial arts. Such things like Sifus and masters and Professors have zero effect on improving martial arts. In the army they break you down to nothing, and on so many levels they brainwash you. Martial arts is not like the military in which you are taught to sacrifice yourself completely to your military’s cause. In martial arts, you sacrifice completely to and for yourself. A hierarchy on almost every level of martial arts stunts the only thing that matters: fighting ability. And respect, in combat arts, is inherent, if not earned on an individual basis. The point is that everyone is equal in martial arts and should question every skill, as fighting is a never ending evolutionary process among the vast array of disciplines.

In JKD, their three main aspects—efficiency, directness, and simplicity—is misleading. It seems inherently correct, but once you put it as a numbered aspect of a way (be it ‘of no way’ or whatever), you make it a “rule.” I would rather sacrifice efficiency, directness, and simplicity for something that simply works for me. Plus the 3 aspects are subjective. It can be argued that boxing is the least simple of martial arts, as it may be the most rigorously strategic. I question, for example, the effectiveness of trapping ala Wing Chun. JKD men all over the world are convinced that this stuff works. It seems efficient, direct, and simple enough, but how do we know? No one has ever used it in full contact combat with any bit of exclusivity. There is no known use of it in combat, period. Paul Vunak, a JKD man who was known for his excellent trapping skills, had plenty of instructional videos exhibiting the trapping range in what I call “contractual sparring.” By that, I speak of sparring in which one guy is limited from using at least one technique that his opponent is not limited from using, or one man’s goal is different from the other man’s goal. Something like this is really just a drill. The truth is that a fighter cannot trust any technique for himself because somebody says it works. A fighter cannot even trust a technique for himself even if he has seen it in action; he must practice it himself and ask the questions in every way he can. Mainly, “how and why would this work for me?” So how can the masses trust a technique they have never seen in use and have never tried themselves? And I don’t know about some of those Brazilian Jujitsu moves either; they don’t seem too simple, direct, or even efficient, but they sure as hell worked for other people. They just don’t seem as cockamamie as, let’s say, Ninjutsu. But hey, maybe that deserves some inquiries of its own.

Only an individual can answer what is best for him in combat, but he should be honest and realistic. If a technique works, is it the best move for a fight? Is there a set-up, follow-up, and counter? Is it a one time move like a Superman punch (meaning you can’t do it over and over because you give the move away)? What does it “working” mean? What if it worked 75% of the time before, but it’s completely failing this time? Do you have the proper tools to solve the problem? What if your technique doesn’t offset another fighter even one-bit? What if the move does the intended physical damage, but the guy keeps coming? Then what?

Question everything…Even what you are reading right now…1…2……3. You are cured.

I thought religion was “the opiate of the masses.”

The Problem with Bruce Lee’s JKD

Jeet Kune Do—a Humble View, Inside Looking… Inside?

From a basic philosophical perspective of education and information, I have always believed in questioning, testing, and testing some more. Now, as an experienced coach, I impel everyone to question what I say and test it. Bruce Lee was my earliest martial arts idol. He had moves with an aesthetic outdoing my sensei and smoother than other karate or kung fu men on Saturday mornings. Bruce Lee almost singlehandedly inspired me to learn boxing and supplement my experience with various styles of martial arts. I have grown to learn how Bruce Lee lent martial arts, on a grand scale, so many invaluable concepts that have helped the evolution of fighting.

My query on JKD is about what it inspires besides boxers to learn different defenses or Greco-Roman grapplers to learn Thai kicks or any other melding of styles. Does it cause a delusion of the artist? Is there a hero-worship that transcends the simple purpose of JKD? When has Bruce Lee ever proved that he existed as an “ultimate,” be-all and end-all of fighters? Hypothetically speaking, if Bruce Lee wanted to be worshipped or even if he wanted his disciples to blindly follow him through the wrong path, should they? Does one grievous Bruce Lee mistake mean uncorrectable, perpetual doom for its new practitioners? Was Bruce Lee’s death the most regressive thing for JKD, causing people to deify him rather than improve upon the gift he gave all of martial arts?

After reading – for the third time in the last 15 years – the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, I was again convinced that Lee was a genius, a legend before his time, indeed. He theoretically understood combat like Cus D’Amato understood boxing combat. He carefully detailed almost everything he had believed, his truths about the art of fighting. Of course, so many of his moves correspond with what we, in today’s fighting world, consider practical.

I notice too many JKD men, however, making the primary faux pas of not questioning. Bruce Lee did Wing Chun Gung-Fu, some western boxing, and Muay Thai, so JKD men believe they should do exactly those. Dan Inosanto, the top JKD man under Lee, incorporated Filipino martial arts, so the flock followed suit. It seems that every JKD man makes this his “way.” JKD guys even go to the extent to say, “ ‘We’ do martial arts [this] way, as opposed to [that] way.” With wide scale questioning – real, genuine inquiry and skepticism – individuals grow and come to find truths that can be so specific to each of the persons. And questioning could only strengthen the concept of JKD.

Bruce Lee regrets naming JKD, so why don’t JKD men absorb this idea: Giving it a concrete property, even in a name, takes away from its proposed water-like property. Being “like water, my friend” becomes mere rhetoric. If one JKD man speculates about his art, he will find answers and for all intents and purposes, he will test it. The JKD school half-testing techniques with assortments of drills only lends to a myth of JKD. When I was 16, JKD was my passion, and I practiced it everyday in my brother’s backyard sessions. But we were bamboozled in many ways; we wore too much gear and we choreograph-role-played too much. We pondered over the straight blast to how to properly perform a stop-kick. Some argued that a straight blast should be softer and made to stun the opponent. Others in our group wanted to swing harder and freer. Some guys wanted to cock the stop-kick for more force. Others wanted to just stop the opponent’s forward movement. We would copy the reference point square-off from Enter the Dragon and Pak Sao to one backfist. We were brainwashed to think one measly backfist predicted a fight’s outcome. Sometimes we would train a sequence of moves and finish it with the first damn strike. The moves lend the subconscious notion that one strike was the science to win a fight. JKD books even illustrate moves to set up these quasi-jabs or backfists. Where was the science of exchanges and reactions to the impact of power punches, set-ups, and boxing traps? Where was the pain factor? We all were so infatuated with finding one truth that we disregarded each other’s truths. We disregarded the whole idea of JKD; if we follow it, we miss it. It was just a concept and we ran with it to the point of killing it. The training was all-in-all worthwhile to a certain extent, but for all the hits we took and time wasted, we didn’t truly test the techniques with the ONLY thing that works, free fighting.

“Formlessness”… “No style as style”… “No way as way”…”Simple movements”… “Non-classical.” It sounds like some high-handed mumbo-jumbo, especially when Lee said what he does is a style. “There is no mystery to my style.” Well of course it is, it’s not a spirit or energy; it is as tangible as words on paper. Hence, it is “style.” JKD men seem to take some of Lee’s philosophies too literally except for the part of JKD that implores people not to follow it. It reminds me of Eddie Murphy in Coming to America when his bride will do anything he wishes except for when he wishes that she would do the opposite of what he wishes. JKD men think they can take whatever they want and throw out anything they don’t want from martial arts. That is naïve, even ignorant. I’ve met JKD men who think they can box for 3 months, do Muay Thai for 4, and play with Escrima sticks before bed without any true sacrifice and commitment to any single art and think they are efficient JKD practitioners. They wrongly assume they can borrow tidbits from arts without thoroughly consuming themselves in one art for many years. This is the current problem with MMA – they have “jack-asses of all trades, masters of jack-asses.” It pains me to watch some JKD men who fancy themselves as martial artists who know boxing. Much of the time, they have dumpy footwork but they could do the little butterfly shuffle from Return of the Dragon. They could snap a backfist, but do they understand a semblance of the science of boxing – an art that has been tested over and over again and continually evolves? How about the popular Brazilian Jujitsu? I challenge anyone to find a JKD school that exhibits proper technique in the fundamentals of boxing or Muay Thai, in which a seasoned western boxer or Thai boxer can witness a JKD school coaching and not say facetiously, “You gotta be kidding me…” JKD is almost irrevocably watered down martial arts with an assortment of flawed fundamentals. Too many of these guys pass as hacks deluded by blind dedication to an antiquated JKD. But, perhaps, the best JKD men (perhaps Eric Paulson and Burton Richardson, I wonder) have moved on and do not affiliate themselves with the eternalized cult that has become of JKD today.

There is a spiritual characteristic to JKD causing us to romanticize it. JKD practitioners sometimes delude themselves with a competitive nature that seems to rank “who is most like Bruce Lee.” There is no solid fight footage, so the myth is exacerbated by the movie fight scenes that we like to imagine were reenactments of real Bruce Lee fights. JKD men cling to every recorded word like the Branch Dravidians did to David Koresh. A JKD man may dispute the David Koresh example, saying, “more like Jesus.” Haha, it’s what I’m saying exactly. But is JKD “so lethal that we can’t practice it like sport?” That is such an easy cop out of a claim, but kicking groins, biting limbs, and the death touch are not the only things I ask to be tested. The one-to-three inch punch, for one, I’d like to be examined. Anyone with a boxer’s jab can pretty much answer the one-incher claim with a sarcastic “Big f-ing deal.” It is simply a display of moving one’s hips and generating short power. Still, when I first slow-motioned Bruce Lee doing it one of the many times, I felt embarrassed for him after noticing… Lee actually pulled back about 3 or 4 inches. See for yourself. Many probably won’t, because it’s so much cooler to believe the hype. Still, I would have been more impressed if he exhibited a top boxer’s power or speed in a full punch, rather than what seemed like super power in showbiz thaumaturgy. If he could hit as hard as a top boxer from 1 inch away, how would he fare from a full punch’s distance? Lee criticized katas, but held his own exhibitions of indulgence. He even broke boards though he was known to say, “The board doesn’t hit back.”

It is my humble opinion that JKD should be, as it was meant to be, a vehicle “to be discarded.” JKD guys, as they proudly seem to call themselves, “just don’t get it.” They mimic “stylelessness” and cling to every contradiction. I wonder, is Floyd Mayweather more JKD man than Sifu is? Was Cus D’Amato a teacher of an unwritten JKD?

I am not questioning JKD ad hominem. Contrarily, I am supporting what JKD stands for despite the historical myth of Bruce Lee. I believe Bruce Lee to have been the greatest martial artist to have ever been known. But I doubt that he was as good of a fighter. I look at Bruce Lee as being akin to a Malcolm X; he always meant well, but made a mistake, then he tried to rescind on that mistake, unsuccessfully. Many people of this ‘occult’ still believe the mistake, and no one can ever take it back. They believe they should dance like Bruce Lee and that they all, seemingly without exception, should put their strong side first. But Lee was explicit in letting everyone know that his way would not necessarily be anyone else’s way.

Why couldn’t he just have named it MMA? Instead, he accommodated each worshipper to hop on one leg and bark like a dog?

 

 

“I have not invented a “new style,” composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from “this” method or “that” method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see “ourselves”. . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of. Either you understand or you don’t, and that is that. There is no mystery about my style. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune-Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune-Do is simply the direct expression of one’s feelings with the minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it. He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive. Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one’s back.”
– Bruce Lee