JKD and self expression

Discussion in 'Jeet Kune Do' started by Edgeorge, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Edgeorge

    Edgeorge Valued Member

    Bruce Lee kept on saying, in his books, that JKD is a way of honestly expressing oneself.
    However, I cannot possibly get a proper interpretation of what he meant. Did he mean that through JKD one can express himself like with acting, music, poetry etc? Because he stated that "he considers MA an art just as much as acting"?

    Is that what he means? If yes though, I do not see how one can express himself in combat. Can someone with a fair understanding of JKD explain this to me?

  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    It's a complicated question. Partly, I think his verbiage is a product of the 70s. Partly, I think it's his background as a philosophy student. (I'm an English major originally. I'm not here to judge.) And partly, I think he's on to something.

    I do think it's true that people organize their training and, consequently, their fighting (or the other way around if you like) around personal preferences. A guy who likes to grapple might train his punching primarily as a way to punch in and get a hold of his opponent. Another person, who likes to kick, may organize his punching around keeping the other guy off of him while he sets up to kick again.

    But there's also an objective... er, objective in martial arts. You throw a sidekick when he's open for a sidekick. Not when the spirit moves you. You feint low to open up his guard for a high cross. Not to express your inner feelings. So there's a practical dimension as well. There's a job to do. And the nature of that job is going to dictate your actions as much as any internal artistic sense does. Presumably more.

  3. pmosiun

    pmosiun Valued Member

  4. Edgeorge

    Edgeorge Valued Member

  5. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Huh. That might be the shortest discussion on record.

    "Self expression?"



    MAP has just validated its own existence.

  6. DragonSpawn

    DragonSpawn Ronin

    Have you ever felt a "rush" while sparring? It makes you feel free. You no longer have any fear or doubts or restraints (while still maintaining control of your techniques, not going full force). It's that feeling of freedom, and your vocalizations, your poses and stances, your own "handwriting" on the style, that allows you expression.
  7. DragonSpawn

    DragonSpawn Ronin

    But yeah. If you're too focused on "thinking" about what to do next you won't be able to find that clarity of mind.
  8. pakarilusi

    pakarilusi Valued Member

    I feel it is something to strive for. The journey is however more important than the destination.

    It is that moment every now and then in training/sparring that you just moved or acted so effectively, fully and honestly because of no apparent reason. "Mushin", no mind, I think its called. No thought. "It" hits all by itself as Bruce Lee said...

    At least that's how I understand it... ;)
  9. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    You have to understand the process of learning how to fight to understand what Brucey is trying to say. The most important thing to understand is that fight training is a process of adaptation, not learning in the same way that you learn physics. Every person is going to adapt differently based on their own personal characteristics. You are left with your own physical expression of Jeet Kune Do.
  10. Infrazael

    Infrazael Banned Banned

    JKD is a concept JKD is a concept JKD is a concept JKD is a concept JKD is a concept.....

    ad infinitum
  11. Doublejab

    Doublejab formally Snoop

    I think part of the process of training is discovering things about yourself, what you're good at, not so good at, how fleible you are, how strong you are, how fast you are, what makes you different. And how you develop and change and pefect in all these things with training.

    No two people on this entire earth fight the same, everyone is unique as a fighter, just like everyone is unique as a person. I think he meant learning more about yourself and being able to improve and use your skills during training in a way shows off your personality and who you are.

    Its weird, what I think he meant is very simple in my mind but I'm finding it really hard to write, that was about as close as I can get!
  12. Nhan Khuong

    Nhan Khuong Valued Member

    If I recall correctly, he was referring to "expressing one's self in combative form."

    In other words, one can express one's self through poetry, music, acting, and/or martial arts.

    Martial arts are a form of physical expression. Combat is simply a medium for that expression; it is a platform that acts as a microcosm to life's macrocosm, so to speak.

    In any case, it will only take this role if you do so deliberately, otherwise it will just be fighting.
  13. pmosiun

    pmosiun Valued Member

    Very true. Based on Bruce Lee definition of Jeet Kune Do, taking a dump can be considered an art form too. It is just most people don't consider it as such.
  14. Yohan

    Yohan In the Spirit of Yohan Supporter

    It's a concept given life. It's evolved into an efficient, effective way of learning how to fight which is based on adaptation to proper stimulus, efficiency, and the idea that all Martial Arts are bound together by similar (if not the same) principles.
  15. Infrazael

    Infrazael Banned Banned

    I'm not too fond of most JKD I've seen; most of the stuff I have witnessed appears rigid, frame-by-frame type of martial mindset.

    Seems to have moved to "let us combine X, Y, and Z" without first having decent mastery of X, Y, and Z, but rather using only odd bits and pieces. The result is some sort of weird amalgamation which looks robotic to me, and quite... awkward.

    My question is, why has the "concept" of JKD changed to something like this? It is, philosophically speaking, the "correct" approach to holistic martial art training, IMHO.
  16. Heavenly Glory

    Heavenly Glory Valued Member

    My previous experience in traditional styles includes about one year in TKD, one and a half years in Lau Gar, a few months in Wing Chun.

    WC was the only style where I really felt I was progressing. Unfortunately, the class was populated by neanderthals and not great for WC novices.

    I've recently started taking private classes in JKD having got to know someone who is an instructor, and whose own instructor has studied (and still does) with a number of Bruce Lee's original students. As for my own instructor, well, let's just say I've seen his battlescars.

    I find what I'm taught to be geared toward avoiding injury and finishing the other guy off as quickly as possible. No mucking about with "If he does this, you do that" - what advanced Chunners sometimes referes to as "chasing hands". I say this, because I never really felt that with the styles/arts I'd tried before. Even though I really enjoyed the WC, I can see now the regimentation.

    Looking round the web, I can say one thing for certain - many of the people professing to teach or demonstrate JKD don't do JKD - Jun Fan or Concepts as might be recognised BL's original students or the Bruce Lee Foundation.

    One guy on YouTube has 40+ instructional videos of between 5-10 minutes each. He claims that a vertical punch gives you a couple more inches of reach. On one of his videos, someone asks in the comments who he studied with. His response? He's never studied under a JKD instructor. Some of his other video's look pausible, and it's easy to see why people would believe it's JKD - after all, it looks like the stuff in Tao of JKD and BL Fighting Methods. Does that make it JKD? I don't know.

    There's another guy that has posted an entire series (about 40 - 50 clips)on Wing Chun basics and then another series WC advanced. Great. But then he posts clips on JKD. Partway through about the 3rd 10 minute clip, he stops and says that he wants to clarify that his JKD System has nothing to do with Bruce Lee.

    I can understand why he felt the need to clarify.

    After all, JKD as developed by BL and practiced in some form or other by Taky Kimura, Jerry Poteet, Larry Hartsell, Dan Inosanto, etc, doesn't teach you to "Karate Chop" your opponents arm as he swings in a hook. Looks nothing like the JKD I'm learning. FFS, why call it JKD in the first place?

    Of course, you've then got the fact that there are 3 "flavours" of JKD - Jun Fan from Seattle, Oakland and then Chinatown. Not forgetting there's also the Concepts branch.

    Many people question why lineage is important. I've recently realised why.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  17. Heavenly Glory

    Heavenly Glory Valued Member

    Have you got any specific clips in mind on YouTube or elsewhere?
  18. Infrazael

    Infrazael Banned Banned

    Lemme find my post elsewhere. I was doing a review of when I went to check out Inosanto's school.

    My thread is here: http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86524
  19. Heavenly Glory

    Heavenly Glory Valued Member

    I think I understand what you're saying. You're talking more about the teaching rather than the "style"?

    It does sound "different" to split the training like that and have them switching stances, etc. Certainly not something I've experienced. I'm not pretending to know or understand what you saw, but you mentioned that you went to look at an advanced class.

    It may have something to do with the fact that some schools teach all phases of the development of JKD, in order to get students to understand it fully, and it may be that this is what you were seeing.

    The way I'm taught, everything is from the Bai Jong (ready stance) which looks a bit like a southpaw boxer with the rear leg's heel raised. From here, I can apply a straight lead with my lead (strongest) hand, a cross with my rear, parries with my leading hand, leg kicks/obstructions with lead leg followed by low line oblique kicks with the rear leg, etc.

    We also do reaction drills from a natural standing position, i.e., no stance from where i can hit or parry-hit, just as I would from the Bai Jong.

    The footwork is pure JKD - shuffle step, step shuffle, push step, etc.

    We started trapping about 3 weeks ago learning 6 traps/variations and again, we work from the JKD ready stance rather than switching to a Wing Chun stance. But the trapping is focused on fighting in the close range - not trapping for trapping's sake. But then, we are currently working to enable me to better defend myself.

    Everything I'm learning at the moment seems to be modified to JKD's principles of simplicity, etc, rather than a punch taken from here, a kick taken from there. For example, from what I remember of my WC training a Pak Sao travels to your centreline guiding the opponents strike away from your centre line, and you can then guide the strike across and away from your body. JKD as I'm taught, uses a Pak Sao, but with forward pressure with the intention of immobilising the attacking hand - that's one application of Pak Sao.

    As I understand it, I will be learning stuff from the 3 eras once I've got a to a level where I won't make myself look totally useless.

    One of the posters on the previous page ( Nhan Khuong ), I understand is an instructor associated with Tim Tackett's group, may be the guy to ask further questions of.
  20. Infrazael

    Infrazael Banned Banned

    But why does JKD have to be based around the Bai Jong? Why does your power hand have to be forward as well?

    These were Bruce's personal preferences as a martial artist, fighter, etc; I don't see why they would be considered "fundamental" to the core of JKD concepts/philosophy.

Share This Page