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Infighting - Shorter Man versus Taller Man

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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 Cus D'Amato, Mike Tyson, and the Peekaboo style of boxing.

At first, I found this change in structure, from my guard to my footwork, to be difficult to comprehend.  I had to leave the safety of the measure and get inside by learning how to slip and bob and weave punches.  It didn't feel like JKD to me, but there was the main problem.

In the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee records notes on fighting taller opponents, taken from his study of Western Boxing.

"Not only does it take skill to get in close, but it takes skill to stay there.  To get inside, it is necessary to slip, bob and weave, draw and feint...Keep your hands up, elbows close to your body.  Bob and weave, moving from side to side.  Gauge your opponent's leads - make him miss and get inside his punches by ducking, slipping, feinting or "sticking" with controlling hands."

Once I adapted to this new "style", it forced me to see an entirely different level to my Jeet Kune Do.  I became better at Attack by Draw, learning how to set my opponent to give me the avenue I wanted to get in on them.  I became a much better counter-puncher.

All of this happened because I was able to empty my cup, and realize that my growth and expansion in Jeet Kune Do was going to require to me to do something that felt un-natural, and untrue.  Once doing so, however, I was able to see the truth from a different perspective.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  We base our strategy and structure off of concepts and ideas we hold to be true.  When those strategies and structures fail us, we can often find a deeper, more faceted understanding of those truths by letting go of the things we thought were necessary.

PRINCIPLE: Switching strategies and structure is the heart of Jeet Kune Do.

QUESTION:  Where in your life is your current strategy and structure failing you?

TASK:  What can you do today to find the deeper truth that lets you change your strategy and structure?

QUOTE: Not only does it take skill to get in close, but it takes skill to stay there.  To get inside, it is necessary to slip, bob and weave, draw and feint.  Keep your hands up, elbows close to your body.  Bob and weave, moving from side to side.  Gauge your opponent's leads - make him miss and get inside his punches by ducking, slipping, feinting or "sticking" with controlling hands." - The Tao of Jeet Kune Do


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