Monday, December 10, 2018

Notes on the Jeet Tek

A staple of the JKD arsenal is the “stop kick,” jeet tek in Lee’s Cantonese. Although any kick that interrupts the initiation of an opponent’s attack is in the category of a stop kick, there are two variations referred to as jeet tek (JKD historians: feel free to chime in or correct me). Both are generally presented as “stiff leg” kicks, that is, there is no chambering, just picking the leg up and getting a stopping force on the opponent’s knee or shin (however you advance the kick). In one variation, the bottom of your foot is at a 45 degree angle to the surface you are contacting. The advantage of this variation is that there is no change of angle of the upper body to be seen by the opponent, it’s quite stealthy. Also, your upper body, having not turned, is quick to the follow up with hands. The second variation in its final position is that of a low side kick but still generally executed “stiff legged.” The advantage of this is that you can pump more force into it and your upper body is leaned back for better defense. In both cases, it is important to get a good contact with the arch of the foot rather than the ball. They are both very workable.
The one thing I would say is that your stance INCLUDES a chamber that is a shame to waste. That is, if using a slide and step to advance the kick, however bent your leg is in your stance, coordinate the straightening of the leg with the impact of your kick to get added force. Otherwise, it’s arguably like having your jab completely extended before contact rather than “hitting through” the target.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Disrespectful Me


 As a bit of preview for my in-progress getting-close-to-done knife course (and future weapons volumes), I thought I’d share a bit of my guiding perspective. 

First, what is my primary loyalty to? A particular system and the social dynamics that keeps things bounded? No. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hugely grateful for the knowledge shared by my teachers. 

But the loyalty to a system and its logic is one of the most unfortunate, if understandable, impediments to progress. Even though it seems like ancient history to look back at the time when Bruce Lee wrote “Liberate Yourself From Classical Karate,” it is still as relevant today as it was then. People love belonging to a group and having that identity (and salability). Very human. 

Then there are other problems, such as the natural simplification of curriculum so that the average person can feel like they are making progress through memorization and various skill sets even if that curriculum does not adequately address intrinsic complexity, i.e. how messy fighting can be.

Another problem is open instruction versus secrecy. That is, the most efficient and useful material is often held back in the name of a traditional curriculum. Also in the unacknowledged name of making money: if your primary goal is keeping people around for as long as possible rather than making them as functional as quickly as possible, then by all means have an extensive elaborate curriculum and obscure what is most important.

Hypothetical: If a close relative were going to have to be in a serious knife confrontation in a month or two, how would you train them? Would you train them to do middle range counter-for-counter flow drills, or how to move and stay at long range as the primary strategy?

To be specific, I think a lot of weapons curriculums are ass-backwards. That is, they start with middle or close range (of course without asking how you ended up that close without doing anything sooner), and then somewhere down the line dealing with long range (although there are systems that I’ve seen that don’t seem to deal with long range at all, which makes them eye-rollingly bad). 

The truth is, that under uncooperative conditions, long range skills hold up under pressure much better than middle range skills. Yes, anything can work and anything can fail, do we really need to say that? So it makes more sense to me to really focus on long range as primary, and middle/close range as something you had to do because you screwed up ten ways from Sunday.

And as for long range, a lot of training I’ve seen still deals with long range (i.e. the range where they cannot land a strike or cut to the head/body but you can strike or cut their incoming  attack) in a pro-forma set patterned way so that the defender does not really have to judge distance or manipulate the footwork to maintain proper range. Beyond that there are still timing variations that are rarely addressed.

The goal is to cultivate an intuitive skill that has a chance to hold up in real time under pressure.




Sunday, March 19, 2017

ROBUST?

ro·bust
[rōˈbəst, ˈrōˌbəst]
ADJECTIVE
  1. strong and healthy; vigorous: 
    synonyms: strong · vigorous · sturdy · tough · powerful · solid · 

    (of an object) sturdy in construction: 

    synonyms: durable · resilient · tough · hardwearing · 

    (of a process, system, organization, etc.) able to withstand or overcome adverse conditions
    1. So this relates to a number of previous posts. Considering how there are no guarantees that some technique, tactic, or strategy will work at a given moment, acknowledging the intrinsic complexity of a fight, it's less a question of whether something "works" or "doesn't work," and more a question of odds of working or not, and how robust a thing is in general. A prime example would be our (i.e. "my") view regarding the high corner block and strike ("biu sao da") versus the modified high cover and strike as a defense to the high hook ( the wrist is braced just behind the head, with the elbow slightly out, no more than 45 degrees, and between eye and nose level, with the shoulder hunched up, while moving slightly in towards the opponent while the free hand is finger jabbing the eyes or throat). The thinking behind this is that you form a very strong structure that that dissolves the force of a hook because you are not giving a surface to bite into like the “telephone” cover, standard in boxing. You can do it almost too late and be safe whereas the corner block has to be executed a bit earlier in the opponent's strike and therefore has a higher failure rate, especially against tight hooks which it is not particularly designed for. So as part of our thinking about various responses, we should always ask "How well does this technique/tactic stand up in the real world?" Also, the more movements required to accomplish something is directly related to how likely things will go sideways, which is why joint locking, for example, is not considered a base skill to me (other than the finger grab, which may easily be found in a standard combative mess. Food for thought...


Friday, January 27, 2017

Street-Tweaked Boxing Available as MPEG4 DVD

Hi Folks,

My Street-Tweaked Boxing is now available as MPEG4 DVD. I'm going to discontinue availability as VHS ("What's that?" say the millennials). Don't ask why it took so long... It will play on a computer, but not a standard DVD player.
If you would like to purchase this show, just use the button below.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Where It Happens

The equipment corner of the studio I've been at since the Fall of 2013.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cynical But True

Seems that the more "traditional" a martial art is and the more extensive the curriculum, the more it doesn't deal directly with core issues in a useful way. So my cynical, but I think true, thought is that the reason so many people look forward to martial arts training and then quit after a short time is that they intuitively feel that what they are learning would be hard to ever apply.

Monday, May 4, 2015

KNIFE SEMINAR

Knife Seminar: Fine-Tuned Foundation and Advanced Deceptions. This is not a traditional curriculum, and will be a cross between Filipino and JKD principles. No “flow drills,” but drills focusing on timing and distance that can be done in real time against trained or untrained knife-wielding opponents. You will need hand protection and a padded knife (hard training knives won’t be appropriate for many of the drills). $40
May 23, 1-4pm, BPStudios, 618 B Moulton Ave LA Ca 90031. 
Questions? 213 625-0516
stevegrody.com