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  • Synchronize Yourself

    Synchronize Yourself

    It can be very frustrating when you begin practicing in Jeet Kune Do. There is so much to learn and remember. When you find yourself sparring with other students, you cannot apply the things you are learning under fighting conditions. You face discouragement as your fellow students outperform you. Senior students, your sihing, continually urge you on, pushing you forward when you work with them. Your instructor, your sifu, suggests you fix the same problem over and over and over again. You look at yourself and don’t feel like you are getting any better. In his notes on how to teach Jeet Kune Do and gung fu, Bruce Lee provides an overview of training, called the ....

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  • Frustration is the Path

    Frustration is the Path

    "Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick." – Bruce Lee A few years ago, I was engaged in a sparring session with one of my teachers. It was frustrating more than most, not just because he was outclassing me, but because of the way he was doing so. As we moved, I would see an opening or opportunity, and think to initiate an attack, only to find my teacher already countering my motion. “You’re thinking.” Then he would score his hit, and ....

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  • We Need Emotional Content!

    We Need Emotional Content!

    In the middle of the night, I woke up after two hours of restless sleep, went downstairs, and pulled out my Ipad. I spent the next three hours scrolling through various social media feeds and distracting myself with video games until I felt tired enough to go back to sleep. When I did fall asleep, it was restless, as my brain and my eyes were still caught by the flashing images playing on that blue screen in the dark. I slept passed my normal wake up time, accomplished far less yesterday than I otherwise could have, and basically went throughout my day in a sedated funk. This morning, when I woke up after a solid eight hours of restful sleep, I was angry at myself for ....

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  • Endless Beginnings

    Endless Beginnings

    It’s a theme every year, usually towards the end. A celebrity dies, or some other tragic or emotive event occurs, and we blame the year for it. We’ve been doing that a lot more in 2020, and for good reason. We’ve had a pandemic, economic collapse, civil unrest, political turmoil, and probably a few things I am forgetting. Many of us have suffered losses; of friends and loved ones. They were here and now they are gone. We have lost jobs or businesses. The things we had thought we would be able to build our future on and support our families are gone. All of those things aren’t going to go away just because the clock turns over at midnight It’s too ....

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  • The Whole Ground of the Discipline

    The Whole Ground of the Discipline

    The other day, a question was posed in a Zen forum I frequent. It is, in fact, the only Zen forum I frequent, for reasons that will be clarified as we go on. The question was essentially, what factors in life enable some people to actually DO Zen practice and not just intellectually analyze it? Reflecting on my own experience, I found found Zen practice through the martial arts. My story was not an uncommon one, with several others commenting similar experiences. My journey began with Matsubayashi-ryu Karatedo and continued on when I received my first copy of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, which begins and ends with Zen. In the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee states, "Learning techniques ....

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  • The Most Advanced Type of Fighting

    The Most Advanced Type of Fighting

    Last night after class, a student approached me with a great question. "It feels like we've been covering more complex material lately. Do you feel like we are advancing?" Fresh off of a workshop series with Burton Richardson, we had been covering multiple attacker drills and sparring games this week, certainly not a "beginner" topic. Fighting one person can be challenging enough. Just watch any mixed martial arts competition. Fighting off two or three or five attackers at the same time certainly must require more "advanced" techniques and concepts than that, right? Yet, like every other class at Maryland Jeet Kune Do, beginners were right there, training alongside more experienced ....

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  • Take a Step Back

    Take a Step Back

    The other night during Jeet Kune Do class, we were working on Street Kickboxing sparring drills. Several students were having an issue dealing with their partner's attacks, particular when there was a great deal of forward pressure put on them. Many times, they would find themselves leaning too far back to be able to defend themselves, and a few lost their balance and fell over. Bruce Lee writes in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, "...many fighters commit the error of leaning back on their rear leg when defending themselves instead of taking a short step back. In such cases, attack the rear weight-bearing foot.* Sometimes in life, we can find ourselves completely caught up in an emotional ....

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  • Are you a Mechanical Fighter or an Intellectual Fighter?

    Are you a Mechanical Fighter or an Intellectual Fighter?

    During our first Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do session, Sifu Burton Richardson said, "JKD is a thinking man's art." It the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee lays out a critical difference in the mentality of the prospective Jeet Kune Do practitioner. "Fighters can be placed into two main categories: the “mechanical” fighter and the “intellectual” fighter. It’s easy for the mechanical fighter to give advice because his fighting techniques and tactics are the result of the mechanical repetition of strokes, bred of a lesson which was purely automatic and lacking an intelligent explanation of the why, the how and the when. Their fighting follows a similar pattern in each ....

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  • Examine Your Footwork

    Examine Your Footwork

    Have you ever found yourself in the middle dealing with a problem and realized you were in way over your head? Maybe you've been trying to get in better shape but haven't been seeing the results you wanted despite all the working out and dieting you've been doing. Or maybe you've found yourself in an argument with a loved one and aren't quite sure how you got to this point, much less how to resolve the situation. You have a goal you need to achieve at work or school that gives you a clear idea of where to go, but no clue how to get there. Consider the possibility that once you know what your end goal is, the question you should be asking isn't "How do I achieve this?" but "Where am I ....

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  • Giving Without Attachment

    Have you ever known someone who did all the right things only to find out later that they had all the wrong reasons? Have you ever realized that you were helping someone just so you could get some benefit from them. Once, one of my mentors purchased several hundred dollars worth of rotisserie chickens to hand out to the homeless. As he drove from camp to camp, he filmed himself on Facebook live and spoke of generosity and spirituality. Later, we went through the pilot of his new martial arts life-coaching business. In addition to the training, we filmed videos and served as backdrop for his videos and marketing material. At the end of the month, he gave us a few hundred ....

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