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Synchronize Yourself

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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 Three Stages of a Technique.  These stages explain the natural progression a student must go through to achieving fighting competence and provide a framework for creating lesson plans.  It can be helpful for a new practitioner of Jeet Kune Do to review this outline in order to understand how she is being trained, and more importantly, how to approach her training.

 

            Stage one is called the Synchronization of Self.  Here, the student learns correct form, precision, and synchronization of the whole (moving the entire body through a technique).  As the student learns the technique, their speed is progressively increased.  A fundamental example would be the jab.  A student learns how to reach their fist out to full extension with accuracy and speed and then snap it back into a proper guard.  This is done slowly at first, and the student learns to hit a pad or a target accurately, and then gradually faster.  Footwork is included so the student learns how to move the whole body with the jab, not just the arm.

 

            The second stage is Synchronization with Opponent.  Here, the student timing, which Bruce Lee defines as the ability to seize an opportunity when given.  Through pad or isolated sparring drills, the student learns to attack using the jab, hitting when a target is exposed.  Through motion, and responses from her partner, she also learns the correct distance from which to execute the jab.

 

            The third and final stage is Application Under Fighting Conditions.  Now the student begins to integrate the jab into her repertoire of techniques, tactics, and her overall strategy, as she spars with multiple opponents in a free kickboxing or MMA environment under the guidance of her sifu.  Resistance is increased gradually until fighting proficiency is achieved.

 

            So, how can we be sure we are ready for the third and final stage?

 

            Take responsibility for your own Synchronization of Self as quickly as possible.

 

            Master your will by deciding immediately that your sifu and sihing will not have to remind you of the correct form of the technique you are learning in that class.  If you have been training for three or more months, you have likely seen and drilled the fundamentals several times over.  Take the responsibility now to master them.  The student who places the burden of Synchronizing themselves on their sifu and fellow students is not approaching Jeet Kune Do with the idea of mastering their will.  The student who is approaching Jeet Kune Do in the manner Bruce Lee outlines will take the responsibility of synchronizing themselves before their next training session.

 

            Synchronization of Self is achieved by drilling and practicing outside of the mere two hours of class time, through solo drilling, shadowboxing, bag work, karenza, and other individual practice and review.  It is helped by interacting and asking your sihing (senior students) for help and assistance before your next session.

 

            Jeet Kune Do students who take responsibility for their Synchronization of Self immediately improve not only their learning experience, but the learning experience of their fellow students.  They learn how to see and grasp the fundamentals of a new movement and a quicker rate than before.  They are more prepared to Synchronize with their Opponent faster, creating a better training environment for everyone to learn and grow in.  By becoming a better student, they then encourage their classmates in their own practice.  Soon, they are the ones new students are looking to for guidance and inspiration.


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