IJKDC COMBATIVES: Beyond Present-Day Limitations

The majority of world citizens never fought anyone outside of minor school-yard scuffles; most of our dads never encouraged us to fight-it-out on front lawns for control of the block. Rarely, will anyone be forced into a corner and come out fighting; it’s uncommon to strike someone enraged with anger, to get knocked down or become unconscious; to see someone’s blood actually being spilled. Most people will successfully avoid any serious physical confrontations throughout their entire lives. The percentage of anyone forced to learn the measure of themselves in combat is low.

The same goes for us martial artists. Outside of sparring contests and the occasional sporting event, we may never feel compelled to demonstrate our true fighting skills upon another person in public. Odds are we will never have need to literally fight-for-our-lives against a true assailant. To do so, a person would have to go out looking for trouble.

You see, society has changed since the western world first discovered the ancient eastern arts. Nowadays, the average citizen can purchase affordable firearms and have little faith relying on honorable self-defense methods. Still, there remains growing interest in learning martial arts mainly for fitness; primarily driven by an ever-growing Mixed-Martial Arts fan base. Although MMA is seen primarily as a modern aged sport, its roots come from martial Combatives.

In America, many types of martial arts are made available for learning. Traditional systems such as; Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, Muay-Thai, Karate & Kung Fu, still thrive alongside MMA in nearly every corner of the county. Systems like Kali, Silat or even Krav Maga that place much focus on practical weapons training have also evolved here in recent decades.

That being said, does Jeet Kune Do still hold-up well enough? How can someone accurately measure its effectiveness?
You’ll see plenty of YouTube video examples online and find many books by various disciples displaying JKD principles, but, when it comes to displaying his art in real combat action; do any of them stand-out as prime examples of Bruce Lee’s creation? Do any of them clearly display a high degree of hard-contact sparring or do they merely appear to be examples of semi-cooperative demonstrations, etc.? Some would agree that most appear to be repetitive information.

Extreme examples of literal JKD fighting are almost impossible to find. Why is it so? Arguably, the reason for this is because Bruce Lee never focused on designing his JKD as any type of sport. His main focus was upon actual combat or urban self-defense fighting methods. With legalities in mind, it’s also not likely that a JKD practitioner is willing to go out and kill someone while filming an actual homicide in order to prove his skill really works! Meanwhile, someone claiming to have used JKD to defend themselves without providing footage as proof will immediately be debunked.

In most cases, only minimal examples of JKD sparring appearing to revert into standardized Kick-boxing and not much more are all we see. In such examples little resembles what Bruce Lee displayed on film or any of his other published documentation. Often missing are his body-shaping, effective trapping, power-line delivery and other key elements.

So, how do we gain greater confidence as JKD practitioners and fighters? How can we be so sure that this art will work well in actual combative situations outside of occasional sparring with team mates? If we are not able to fight purely on a consistent basis against serious opponents who are out to kill how can we learn the Truth? Outside of having Faith, how can any of us be sure if Jeet Kune Do
will save our lives as needed with such limitations placed upon us?

Sifu Paul S. Lewis