Jeet Kune Do Post 1
When I got the idea to begin this blog my first question to myself is why write another post on JKD? What thoughts or ideas do I have that others have not already covered? I finally came to the conclusion maybe nothing. But after 16+ years of studying and practicing this art with a lot of Bruce’s original students and other great JKD instructors, maybe I can provide some insight to others in their journey as they did for me. So these posts also might be a way of me thanking those generous enough to share with me. This first post is mostly a little personal background and open thank you letter to my friends and teachers.
I have been studying JKD for close to 17 years. I have been fortunate to train with many great martial artists from other martial arts as well. I have or continue to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, catch wrestling, boxing, and Kali to name a few. But JKD is my passion and the art that has influenced or helped me along in this journey called life. I have bounced at bars and currently work in law enforcement. So I have witnessed numerous violent encounters and been an unfortunate participant in a few. I would like to think my JKD training was of great assistance during them. I consider JKD the thinking mans art. With that being said I have a law degree and passed the bar. So I at least have some brain activity. I don’t say this to try and say I’m smart because frankly I graduated with a lot of people who I didn’t think were that bright and seriously lacked common sense. I’d like to think I’m at least smart enough to know when I don’t know something, and I’m good at finding the answer from somewhere or someone. I’m also of the opinion I should try to be a better version of my self everyday.
I was considering trying to get into a long diatribe about what JKD and what it is not. After thinking this over I felt this approach has been beaten over and over. To be truthful what I have learned is that no matter how much you write or say, you change very few, if any minds. It’s similar to arguing politics or religion. The only approach I have seen work for me is to show people JKD in person along with the explanation. This is the approach that changed my perspective on what I thought JKD was. I will say briefly what JKD is to me, so you understand the viewpoint I am writing from. JKD is the martial art Bruce Lee developed and practiced during his lifetime, and more specifically to me the art he practiced and taught his students toward the end of his life. An era many of my teachers refer to as the Chinatown era. It was the last so called era of JKD before Bruce’s untimely passing. I believe JKD is mostly a western martial art comprised of fencing, boxing, wing chun and most importantly science. It is the analysis of these arts and science (kinesiology, physics etc) that Bruce was trying to find the most efficient way to apply the body in combat. Whether it was determining how to apply the most force in a kick, how to punch in structurally the safest manner or how to react in the quickest most efficient manner to an attack. A great example being the straight lead punch, often referred to as the most important tool in JKD. The straight lead showcases several great features seen in boxing, wing chun and kinesiology to name a few. The mechanics of the JKD lead punch could be a several posts or even a whole book (oh wait it is). Many of these future posts will cover these tools, techniques etc and how I was taught to do them.
While I may not agree 100% percent with anybody I have ever trained with, I will say there is an enormous amount of agreement between students of Bruce’s that were there on what JKD is, and I feel the same about what I have learned from them. But more on that later. While a lot of these posts will be strictly on JKD, I will also cover other interests such as health, strength training and personal improvement. Some with a JKD flair or theme within them. Some maybe not. It might all depend on my mood or maybe if I had a few vodka sodas. The goal is to hopefully provide some knowledge with a little entertainment. I’ve always felt if I learned one or two things from a book, it was worth reading. Maybe I can provide a few things.
While I believe this and future posts might help others in their journey, selfishly I know these posts will also help me. My teacher and friend Bob Bremer told me he never wanted to teach JKD. He stated he just liked learning how to fight. But Bob told me it wasn’t until later that he realized teaching helped him learn just as much or more as those he was teaching. It was Bob’s encouragement that teaching would help me immensely is why I ever did it. I would like to finish this post by thanking all those who helped me along on this journey. If I listed everyone by name that would be another post of just names. I would like to thank all of Bruce’s students I have had the pleasure to train with, but especially the entire JKD Wednesday Nite group family. They have all helped in some fashion to make me a better JKDer and person. I will say I owe the most to Bob Bremer, Tim Tackett, Jim Sewell, Dennis Blue, Louie Berard and Jeremy Lynch. I am especially grateful to Dennis Blue and Louie Berard for spending countless hours on the weekend working with me privately for next to nothing. Time is our most precious resource and they wasted a lot of it with this smart and annoying ass they call a student and friend. So until next time…