Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Students

It's an idiosyncratic little list of people that have trained with me. It includes blue-collar workers (construction worker, fireman), digital professionals, therapists, some lawyers, students and so on. One thing that they have in common is that they are just here for the training. What I mean by that is that all of them are doing the training because they enjoy it and find it useful, not because they are working towards any kind of certification to hang on their wall, or to be part of a social group or hierarchy (there is none to be part of as I just teach privately). Nobody is too concerned about the Jeet Kune Do lineage. What has been a pleasant and consistent surprise over the years is how the training has affected them personally; I seem to get reports of noticing how much less anxious they are in personal interactions where power dynamics may be at play. And of course it's been important that on those occasions when necessary, the model of how confrontation works and how to deal with it has been born out.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Even Simple Is Complex

When you think about it, executing even the simplest technique in context is a complex task. Take a jab, for example. Even doing a proper power jab, with no telegraphic movement, coordination of the turning of the waist timed with an advancing step, the final jab extension coming just before the lead foot touches down, well, that's something that takes cultivation. And that's just the solo part of it. Then to develop the sense of timing and distance relative to an opponent is another cognitive skill set. And then on top of that, to be ready for all of the possible things that can happen as you fire the jab is a boatload of complexity; being ready to counter the opponent's simultaneous counter-strikes, or to shift smoothly to another line of attack as the jab is being defended against, you get the idea. And yet many/most traditional martial arts emphasize the practice of pre-set techniques with long chains of movements. Now certainly, the more honest of the instructors using that kind of training method would say that those sequences are just to teach coordination and possibilities of attack and defense, but if the techniques (and let's assume here for the moment that they are workable) are not ultimately practiced in a loose freelance way, the chances developing their spontaneous use is highly unlikely.