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  • Infighting - Shorter Man versus Taller Man

    Infighting - Shorter Man versus Taller Man

    Being a shorter, stockier fighter, I have often found myself at a reach disadvantage. This was frequently true in competition, when weight classes would find me fighting fighters who weighed as much as I did, but were taller and lankier. I often found myself taking punishment just for the opportunity to hit back. One of my Jeet Kune Do instructors noticed this. I was sticking to a more classical JKD structure and strategy, trying to use footwork to maintain a fighting measure and intercept my opponent's movements, but often getting hit when my taller opponents were able to capitalize on their reach. I was trying to move like Bruce Lee or Mohammad Ali. He advised me to spend time studying ....

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  • Don't Focus on the Finger

    Don't Focus on the Finger

    In an often quoted and misquoted scene in the beginning of Enter the Dragon , Bruce Lee's character, aptly named "Lee", uses an old Zen Buddhist teaching from the Lankavatara Sutra to advise his student. "It is a like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don't focus on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory." Centuries before Bruce Lee was born or the script for Enter the Dragon was written, Korean warrior monk Hyujeong, the Grandmaster of the Western Hills, also drew from this teaching of the Lankavatara Sutra in a discussion with monks from a rival faction. "The Great Sutras are nothing more than a finger pointing you to see the moon. If you are really ....

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  • Evasive Tactics

    Evasive Tactics

    The other night during our adult martial arts class in Savage, I was working with a beginner who was becoming frustrated that they weren't able to successfully counter a student who had longer reach. Every time they attacked, they found themselves running into hits. When their opponent was coming at them, all they could do was run out of range or cover and get hit. "How do I stop him from hitting me?" she cried in frustration. "You don't," I responded. "You're shorter. His punch is your way in." We then started working on bobbing and weaving and getting comfortable moving in on punches as opposed to backing away from your opponent. When you're shorter, retreating just leaves you in range ....

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  • Empty Your Cup

    Empty Your Cup

    Last week, a man contacted Maryland Jeet Kune Do. Before asking about who we are, how we train, or anything of that nature, he spoke of his twenty-eight years of experience in over a dozen martial arts styles, none of which were Jun Fan-related. With this experience, he stated he had created his own system of Jeet Kune Do, and now was looking for a "new place to work out". When asked, he said he was not interested in learning how we practice Jeet Kune Do, just for a place to work out, since he had already created his own style of Jeet Kune Do. I asked if he was willing to empty his cup in order to train with us. He stated he was not willing to do so, and so I informed him that we were ....

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  • Be an Active and Dynamic Student

    Be an Active and Dynamic Student

    Beginning your practice of Jeet Kune Do can be very exciting but it can also be a very frustrating time. As you begin to drill and spar with more experienced and advanced students in your class, you are likely to come face to face with loss and failure. You will get knocked down. You will feel pain. If you let this frustration get to you, control your attitude, then it is likely your performance in sparring and your progress on the path will stagnate and possibly even get worse. What if, win or lose, you could be completely prepared for every lesson your teacher gives you and every sparring session you face? What if you could learn the lessons found in your losses and grow from ....

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  • The Difference Between Life and Death is Your Own Accuracy and Intensity

    The Difference Between Life and Death is Your Own Accuracy and Intensity

    One day during your Jeet Kune Do training, your instructor tells you to keep your guard up. A few minutes later, she repeats the same thing, urging you a bit more emphatically to keep your guard up. After class, she comments that you did a good job, but to focus on keeping your guard up. The next time you train, your teacher comments to you again, more sternly, to keep your guard up. Over the new few weeks, and eventually months, you notice that you’re not really improving. Other students seem to outpace you in their learning, and out-perform you when you spar. Even students who joined after you seem to be advancing faster than you. To make matters worse, your teacher ....

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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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