Saturday, January 7, 2017

How to apply Jeet Kune Do in self defense training

Jeet Kune Do is a fighting philosophy developed by Bruce Lee. It emphasizes freedom from rigid martial arts styles and using practicality over traditional techniques with no real world application. If you are interested in becoming more proficient in self defense and want to learn Jeet Kune Do, this is the guide for you.

* Understand the root of Jeet Kune Do - Bruce Lee took ideas primarily from fencing, Wing Chun, and boxing as the basis for his Jeet Kune Do. By learning about the principles and concepts from these fighting arts, you will understand Jeet Kune Do more clearly.

* Liberate yourself from styles - Many martial arts tend to follow traditional patterns of movements and beliefs. While they serve you well in health and fitness along with learning the art for it's own sake or sport, many are ineffective in real combat. Even if they are effective, many styles tend to abide by set movements. Jeet Kune Do is about the freedom of expression. There is no "right" or "wrong" way of doing Jeet Kune Do. It's simply about what works best for you and keeping an open mind. You are free to take techniques from any style and art regardless of origin as you utilize it in your own personal system. Some people like to teach the original Jun Fan Gung Fu (Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do) in order to teach Jeet Kune Do principles and concepts to others. If training in Jun Fan Gung Fu helps you understand the concepts and principles of Jeet Kune Do then by all means do so but there is no set standard for understanding Jeet Kune Do. Understand the root and from there, you can start to apply Jeet Kune Do to your training.

* Abide by the economy of motion - The economy of motion is derived from Wing Chun. It's the principle that the simplest things work best with only the necessary movement. I'll break it down into several parts:

Efficiency - An attack which reaches it's target in the least amount of time. A straight line is generally the shortest distance between two points. Therefore, it's much more efficient to strike in a straight line rather than from a curved angle as it takes less time and little wasted movement. This is why Wing Chun practitioners attack from the centerline, an imaginary line running down the center of the body.

Directness - Doing what comes naturally in a disciplined manner. There's no "fixed" way of attacking or defending in Jeet Kune Do. Simply do what feels right in a given situation.

* Understand the centerline theory - Control the centerline and you control the fight. Your centerline is the most important in a fight so you must always protect it. Exploit your opponent's centerline. Think of his/her attacking or defending limbs as obstacles that you must get past in order to reach your primary target - the centerline.

Now onto the principles of attacking and defending:

* Absorb what is useful, discard what isn't, add what is uniquely your own - In Jeet Kune Do, there are four ranges you should be proficient in. 1) Close range 2) long range 3) Trapping range 4) grappling range. In order to build your own Jeet Kune Do system, you must absorb practical techniques and attacks from different styles. They ought to be efficient and simple in order for you to effectively use them in combat. Don't just pick techniques for techniques sake, integrate them into a system using all of the ranges. Think of yourself as a sculptor chipping away at unessentials to create a sculpture. Here's a list of examples of how this could work.

1) Close range - Choose styles that emphasize striking such as Wing Chun, Krav Maga, boxing, praying mantis kung fu,etc.

2) Long range - Wing Chun, Savate, Karate, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, etc.

3) Trapping - A concept in Wing Chun where you briefly grab one or both of your opponent's limbs as you make an attack.

4) Grappling - Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, etc.

By being proficient in all ranges, you are able to freely use more than if you confined yourself to one style.

* Embrace your freedom of expression - Once you understand the ranges and freedom found in Jeet Kune Do philosophy, embrace the freedom to attack in any way you see fit. If someone tries to kick, i can counter with a Wing Chun or Savate kick and do all sorts of rapid strikes to vital areas of the body then grapple my opponent's elbows as i deliver a headbutt followed by a slam to the ground. I could also kick, get in close range and trap one of my opponent's arms before i do an armlock then an armbreak or a Judo throw. There's endless possibilities to what you can do in a fight.

* Learn the art of interception - In swordfighting, i learned that there are different angles of attack from which i could intercept or attack my opponent. If my opponent lunged in to thrust me in a straight line, i could intercept him/her by giving a counter-thrust to redirect the line of attack away from my body as my attack reaches my opponent. If my opponent strikes high, i counter-attack by striking my opponent in the chest. The same ideas used in swordfighting and fencing are simply transferred to Jeet Kune Do via. hand to hand combat. In the art of interception, the best defense is an offense. Master the art of interception by merging your attacks with your deflections in one movement. There are three kinds of interceptions:

Attacking the centerline - This kind of interception seeks to strike at your opponent's centerline (center of mass, chest, and other vital areas.) If someone tries to do a straight punch, i intercept my opponent's attack by delivering a punch of my own while deflecting his or hers and hitting my target (ex. the head.)

Limb destruction - This method of interception involves attacking and/or destroying the limbs. For example if someone throws an uppercut punch, i could counter-attack by delivering a downward elbow strike to the fist which would break the hand. If my opponent does a high kick, i could trap it and deliver a powerful stomp kick to the side of my opponent's rear leg's knee which would cause it to break. Limb destructions are useful because they render an opponent's ability to attack and defend useless.

* Practice the difference kinds of attacks - In Jeet Kune Do, there are five ways of attacks and other attacking concepts. They are as follows:

Stop hits - When an opponent is closing the distance, you deliver a stop hit or kick to intercept his or her movements. For example if an opponent were to charge at me, i would intercept him or her by delivering a stop kick to the knee before i get in close range and delivering my own attacks.

Simultaneous attack and defense - This is one of the basic principles in Wing Chun. Blocking an attack before you deliver an attack would take too much time and energy. It's much more efficient to simply redirect an attack as you deliver one of your own at once. For example, if someone were to throw a punch - i would counter with lap sao followed by a straight punch. If someone tries to elbow strike me, i could easily use pak sao or lap sao as i deliver a punch to the solar plexus. In Wing Chun, there is no committed attacks or parries. A finger jab could instantly change to a straight punch or a hammerfist at any given moment. A punch could change to a lap sao or elbow strike. Spend time practicing deflecting attacks as you deliver attacks of your own.

1. Single Direct Attack - This kind of attack is delivered in a straight line. An example would be a straight punch to the chest.

2. Attack By Combination - This is a sequence of attacks delivered either to the upper body, midsection, or lower body. An example would be the boxing jab, hook, cross. Another example would be a kick to the knee, a straight punch, elbow strike, finger jab to the throat or eyes, a chop to the neck, and palm strike to the chest. Practice delivering a combination of attacks.

3. Progressive Indirect Attack - This is delivered by feigning an attack before quickly changing the direction of your original attack to another area of the body or using another attack instead. For example, i may choose to do a finger jab to the eyes and cause my opponent to get a flinch response. As soon as my opponent flinches, i follow up with an uppercut to the ribs. Practice delivering a mix of fake attacks to distract your opponent from defending against certain vital areas as you deliver real attacks.

4. Hand Immobilization Attack - This kind of attack is executed by trapping or subduing an area of your opponent's body. For example, if my opponent moves back while i'm attacking - i can deliver a stomp to the foot and keep my opponent from retreating while i finish him or her with devastating blows. I could also grab ahold of hair or clothing as i strike.

5. Attack By Drawing - This could be done several ways but the aim is to draw your opponent into a trap you've made. For example, you could purposefully leave an area of your body unguarded to make your opponent think that's your weakness only to deliver several attacks of your own when he or she moves in. Practice leaving an area of your body exposed as you try to get a reaction out of your opponent while you plan your attacks.

Low kicks - Generally, Jeet Kune Do follows the same principle as Wing Chun when it comes to kicks. A kick should be delivered no higher than the waist except in Jeet Kune Do, this isn't set in stone. Low kicks are harder to stop as they take less time and energy to reach the intended targets than high kicks. They also don't compromise the fighter's balance.

Non-telegraphed hits - Bruce Lee believed that you shouldn't telegraph your attacks because it gives them away. As soon as you wind up for a punch, your opponent can counter-attack before you finish it. Thus, you must practice not giving away your moves via. body language. Observe yourself in the mirror and make sure that you strike without warning.

In conclusion, i leave you some more additional tips for training using Jeet Kune Do concepts.

* Use your freedom wisely - Just because you have the freedom to perform countless techniques, does not mean that you should. The real skill is how you use the few techniques that you've learned to resolve many different situations as well as the fighting ranges. Exploit your opponent's weaknesses and avoid his or her strengths. If your opponent is a superior striker at close range, you attack him or her at other ranges.

* Blend the ranges - In other fighting arts, you focus only on getting to a particular range. In Jeet Kune Do, your focus is on attacking your opponent from any range. Let's say you went up against a striker at close range and counter-attacked his strikes with of your own. If your opponent retreats but is still within your long range attacks, you kick. If your opponent grapples you, throw your opponent to the ground or use anti-grappling techniques to get back into close range striking.

* Adapt to every situation - The idea behind Bruce Lee's inspirational saying "be like water" is adapting to the circumstances. If you cannot adapt, you most likely will not survive. For example, using attack by combination will not work against say a Wing Chun fighter who intercepts your attacking combination and attacks at close range. It's therefore crucial that you change your strategy of attack appropriately. Your fighting art especially in self defense must be fluid and subject to change. Adaptability is one of the most important fundamentals of Jeet Kune Do.

* Fight dirty - In Jeet Kune Do, there are no rules. Be brutal and ruthless. If someone tries to do armbar, you could bite their legs then elbow the groin repeatedly. If someone's ontop of you, pull him or her closer and bite his or her ear off or throat. You could bodyslam someone to the concrete and cause a concussion. You could grapple an opponent, do a chokehold followed by breaking his or her neck. Use weapons, blind your opponents, slam an opponent into a wall as you bash his or her against it before you end the fight with devastating blows. The idea is to not fight fairly. Jeet Kune Do for self defense is about survival, not about winning or losing.

* Always evolve - Be humble enough to change your beliefs and challenge them in sparring against a non-compliant partner. If your ideas on a technique's effectiveness in combat are wrong, accept it but refine your skills on what you have learned. If you've made a good move in sparring, look for a better one. Always strive for improvement in all aspects of your life.  

* Engage in full contact sparring - Bruce Lee advocated for full-contact sparring to improve your skills. If you want a set of sparring gear to get started, i recommend these products. The Macho Sports/ Martial Arts Chest Protector is lightweight and allows for quick mobility. It absorbs alot of impact very well. The Macho Dyna 8 piece sparring gear comes with a face mask, head gear, shin guards, and gloves. This set comes in sizes range from small to X-large and various colors. They are also shock-absorbent to impact. Be sure to practice safely with your sparring partner and memorize Jeet Kune Do principles.  

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