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As a small child I had the privilege of having very little tv (literally a 9 inch black and white Motorola) and we had few channels, mostly in German as we lived in Bitburg at the time (1964 - 1968). One of my favorite programs that we did get was "The Green Hornet", a 'superhero' program along the lines of "Batman": campy comic book fare.

Most people who know anything about the Green Hornet know this was what shot Bruce Lee into the spotlight. I watched the show just to see Cato, Bruce's character, do fights and stunts. I was fully hooked on all things Chinese and martial arts by 6 or 7 years of age.

At the time Bruce was not the legend he is today. I feel fortunate to at least have seen his initial work when it was first breaking. The rest they say is history.

Fast forward to the early 1980's. I survived high school. I was a scrawny lankny nerd with zero physical conditioning and a focus of numerous bullies. My father left the Air Force in the mid 70's and moved a scant 15 miles from the air force town we settled in after returning from Germany.

Whereas the air force town was a melting pot of various cultures, the town we moved to was very white: a mix of small town middle class sorts and a large population of 'hillbillies' who had relocated to the town some time earlier after General Tire closed a plant in their area of Kentucky. I never really fit in and was something of an outcast, encouraging the more primate-like rednecks and hillbillies to punk on me for fun. I always dreamed of being able to fight but no such offering outside of half-assed 'judo' classes at the YMCA.

In 1985, living in Indianapolis, Indiana, I passed a situation in which a guy was slapping a girl around. I stopped and got out and shouted at the guy to stop. The guy told me to fuck off, the girl told me to fuck off and a voice behind me told me to fuck off. Which I did quickly.

That was the last friggin' straw, I told myself.

2 weeks later I was studying Okinawan Karate with a set of instructors I felt good about.

Which meant I had to move away.

I found far, far better instruction in Evansville, Indiana, of all places. There I was introduced to Wing Chun, Muay Thai, Kali, and Jeet Kune do. As well as a new martial art called Brazilian Jiujitsu.

I studied there for almost 2 years (early 1986 to Late 1987)  and, again, just when it got really good, I had to move. But I have worked with what I can remember since that time.

My teacher or sensei was a multi-degree blackbelt and, sometime after I was there, he became a certified Muay Thai Instructor via Francis Fong. My sensei also studied under Dan Insosanto who was a very senior student of Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee was a student of a variety of teachers, including Ip Man, currently considered to be one of THE founders of what is now called Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Bruce Lee took what he had learned and went through a period of refining and refining it, always 'chiseling away that which isn't needed".

He called this emerging system or approach - he eschewed forms - Jeet Kune Do: the Way of the Intercepting Fist.

I have devoured the book numerous times over the past 20-some years. During times of real stress I jack up my exercise and my practice.

In 1991 I heard another girl screaming in a parking lot at 1 am on a Saturday night. Again, like a dummy, I go to intervene. A man is clearly engaged in what law enforcement calls "kidnapping', trying to jerk her into a nearby open apartment door. She was clinging onto a tree and screaming. I told him to stop.

He proceeded to attack me and it was on. This time, I was prepared and prevailed. He went to the hospital. I got bragging rights.

About 3 years ago I discovered WEC/UFC and was amazed to see professional competition done correctly with people fighting just I  was taught. (Those guys would crush me with a high-5, by the way). This just sparked more of my interest in my old hobby.

Recently, and the point of all this rambling, is I came across a couple videos and a couple theatrical films that I think do a very fair job of showing what Wing chun and JKD bring to self defense, personal combat as well as professional MMA.

The first video below is aptly titled "the best trapping techniques you will ever see" and despite the ultra-crappy quality of the video, the video delivers. I highly recommend this to people interested in learning effective self-defense or who are considering getting their children trained for the ugly world ahead of us.

There are four basic 'ranges' in fighting: Kicking, Boxing, Trapping and Grappling. Trapping, to me, is the real meat of 'kung fu' along with throws and joint locks. Much of this is not the flashy stuff most people think of when the subject of "martial arts" comes up. It's almost impossible to film chi sao techniques because they are nuanced and often very fast.

The video is long and is excellent instruction and shows more than words can say.

In recent years, my guess is that American interst in Wing Chun has grown and/ or fascination with Bruce Lee has grown and/or Chinese Cinema has taken off or whatver, a series of movies about Ip Man have been made including 3 or 4 with Donnie Yen, another Ip Man student. He's a very clean cut guy, looks like a doctor or a dentist to me, but one bad mofo with the wing chun.

In this video, Dan Inosanto talks about Bruce and Ip Man and Wing Chun and there are scenes from the first 2 Ip Man films,  presented as interplay between actual school training and movie fight choreography.

Here's a lengthy original JKD training film with Bruce and Dan for ages ago, apparently found sitting on a shelf.

Here are a series of videos showing a lot more trapping and WC/JKD strikes, joint locks and general punishment of the human body. This is not competitve sport martial art; this is save your ass from victimization martial art:

Advanced JKD Techniue
[1 |2 |3 |4 | 5 | 6]
Again, the Ip Man films are pretty theatrical demonstrations, ie a little flowery with the violation of laws of gravity and such, but most of it is pretty dead-on and It is very cool to see it presented so well.

Thank you for reading!

Originally posted to DFH Local No 420 on Sun May 19, 2013 at 10:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh Where To Start (4+ / 0-)

    I got a very sick mom and spent a few days in Evansville at the Deaconess Hospital from this Thursday until late last night. Will go back in a few days. I will just say wow that is a nice hospital. I don't care where you live, if you ever get really sick that is a place you'd like to be. Seem very progressive to me.

    Now with that said I had the same experience as you. I was bullied 24/7. My parents taught me to wrestle. Did it from like 5th grade until my junior year in high school.

    I like to joke if I can take your first punch, and grab you, ugly things will happen. I realize you are talking about the same thing, using the weight of somebody else against them before they realize you are doing that.

    A punch, I can't do that.

    But lucky I only needed to "mess" up one kid and then the abuse stopped for me.

    •  Wrestlers, particularly good collegiate (5+ / 0-)

      wrestlers, dominate MMA today. John Bones Jones is the heavyweight champ and has a killer wrestling background.

      You and I had this conversation years ago and I always wanted to make sure I wasn't excessively flippant and that I agreed with you on this note.

      And yeah, you kick one person's ass and pretty much people leave you alone after that. Funny how that works....

      •  I Am 43. I was like 27. (4+ / 0-)

        A guy was pushing this women outside of a bar. I will be honest I don't tend to like to get engaged in other people's affairs. But I asked her, "are you OK?" She said no.

        I was how about we go inside and call you a cab.

        Her boyfriend/husband I don't know took issue with this. He made a huge mistake. He didn't hit me in the back of my head. He put his hand on my shoulder where I could grab it. Turn him and I turned. Took a leg out. Down. Chocked him out.

        Called the police.

        Generally speaking I'd NEVER do this. You never know who you are engaging. I might engage you and you kick my ass.

        BTW: The MMA thing is amazing. I love to watch it. At times a ton of blood. Maybe too much. But the moves those folks make. The defense. Lot of skills going on.

        •  I was 31 when I had the fight mentioned in the (4+ / 0-)

          diary. I am 52 now.

          about a year ago or so I starrd a guy down in the street, choking his gf at a bus stop in broad daylight. He put on quite a display but even with 2 friends joining he and they elected to move along. Not a shot fired.

          I gave them my Death Eye.

        •  And you and I aren't likely to fight (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          because neither one of us starts stuff with people.

          But yeah, one always runs a risk of meeting a better fighter, but mostly I think people who do bad things like this are impulsive and undisciplined and not likely to be very competent fighters.

          Reason #1 I don't go round starting stuff....

          •  Some of them have weapons (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xxdr zombiexx, Creosote


            Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

            by Dogs are fuzzy on Sun May 19, 2013 at 05:28:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A big concern. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PeterHug, Creosote

              I the words of my wife, I have the running kung fu as well.

              However, I am not all that bothered by non-firearm weapons. Knives are by far the worst. Never been confronted with a knife.

              Other things such as ball bats and sticks are sort of a specialty.

              The empty hand literally is the more dangerous weapon as a hand with a stick or a knife becomes very limited in what it can do, plus it becomes the target of your opponent.

              I have had a variety of occasions of disarming people for one reason or another that I don't consider fights, mostly in the course of my work with teens and psychiatric patients.

              I disarmed and took down single-handledly a large out of control teen one night during utter chaos on a unit of a crappy hospital I worked in. He had a sizeable wdge of wood, pointed at one end. I ended up in a room alone with him and the wood. (God that sounds bad)

              As he squared off against me I zipped in and  stripped that out of his hand and took him down with a leg sweep and sat on top of him until help arrived.

              Later he said that was "really cool' and I never had any further difficulty with him.

              And I did already mention running away...

      •  There IS that judo girl whose matches rarely... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny the Conqueroo, PeterHug

        last a round. Wrestlers have no backround in chokes and armbars needed to end a match. I find MMA silly myself and a bit of a sad commentary on our society (they should just add swords IMHO). But Rhonda, as big a dope as she is, cleans up in women's and it's her judo backround that does it. Kayla Harrison would kick her butt but, she's too smart for MMA.

        •  MMA is like heavy metal (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Massconfusion, PeterHug, Creosote

          a lot of it is bad.


        •  Really? swords? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xxdr zombiexx

          "sad commentary on our society?"
          You're okay with football & boxing?

          There's quite a difference between Olympic Judo and MMA.  Just because Kayla Harrison is better a judoka (and outweighs Roussey by 20+ lbs) means nothing as far as MMA.

          Did you see Roulon Gardner fight MMA?  terrible.
          Tom Erickson?  Bad as well.

          •  I am far from OK with football...I am also well.. (0+ / 0-)

            aware of the differences between the spectacle of MMA and judo.  I also know both Rhonda and Kayla I can assure you that Rhonda wouldn't stand a chance. Kayla has come down in weight BTW and I suppose that Ron could come up but, as I say, Kay is too smart for MMA so that fight won't happen, lucky Rhonda. You left out their old teammate Rick who has done passably well as an 'MMA guy'. And yeah, it is just one step above gladiatorial combat in my opinion and sad commentary on us overall.

            •  ... (0+ / 0-)

              you didn't mention boxing...

              "it is just one step above gladiatorial combat"
              really? how?
              I guess you compare it to dog fighting as well...
              two guys that AGREE to fight each other in a competitive sport that combines many combat sports into one (boxing/kickboxing/wrestling/judo/BJJ/sambo).

              "I can assure you that Rhonda wouldn't stand a chance."
              You know how many times someone has said that about a fighter, only to be dead wrong?
              Once again, just because you're great in your one discipline, DOESN'T make you a great fighter.

              •  I am not OK with boxing either on a professional (0+ / 0-)

                level. The severity of head injuries in boxing is only beginning to receive proper attention.  

                I will not go into details but, I know Kayla and Rhonda quite well and I have trained and been around fighting sports for a long time. Since it's unikely to happen that they will meet it is really not worth speculating but,I'll repete, good thing for Rhonda. Rhonda only sees MMA as a stepping stone to a film career anyway.

                I don't see MMA as dog fighting, as you point out the people have agreed to fight. I do, however, think the dogs are paid better.

          •  Actually if they did have swords they could... (0+ / 0-)

            convince promoters  and the MMA organizers to pay them more...

  •  Bow Sim Mark (5+ / 0-)

    Donnie Yen is Bow Sim Mark's mother and is a well-respected martial arts teacher in Boston, MA:

  •  Thanks for this... (6+ / 0-)

    I'm not proud to say it but I had a history of barroom and street scuffles in my younger years. In 1980 at age 26 I took up Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido and was within one test of my black belt when I hurt a shoulder and had to quit classes, I still trained but no longer attended classes.

    What martial arts did for me was to make me realize that I was only trying to prove something to myself with my previous antics and there was nothing wrong with just walking away from avoidable confrontations. I became confident in my abilities and who I was and no longer needed to prove anything to myself. It calmed my rocky seas.

    I got the self discipline at a time I really needed it.

    •  I got some courage, some heart, and some brains. (4+ / 0-)

      I learned strategy and I learned 'clarity of mind in a crisis', probably one of the best things I ave ever done for myself.

      I still have the "Oh SHIT!" moment, but it passes and I remember "this is my hobby..."

      In my work I have had to go into some pretty scary places and my training, as simple as it is, gave me enough confidence to do what needed to be done.

      I wish I have known this as a child.

      •  Yes, me too... (0+ / 0-)
        I still have the "Oh SHIT!" moment, but it passes and I remember "this is my hobby..."
        I've come very close a number of times since my training days but was able to pull myself back. The fact that there could be legal implications if I use my training in an instance that did not justify or warrant is always in the back of my mind. Excessive force with martial arts training can work against you in a court of law.

        As to your confrontation in the parking lot in 1991, I would have done the same. ;-)

    •  Thanks for bringing this up...we always teach our (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny the Conqueroo, Creosote

      kids that a good judoka stays the hell OUT of fights on the street unless there is absolutely no avoiding it.

  •  Were you at Keesler?? That was my dad's last (3+ / 0-)

    base before retiring.  All the bases we were at have been closed down, except Keesler.  That hospital almost killed me shortly after we got there.  Contracted Scarlet Fever, had temp of 104/105 for a couple of weeks and the hospital said it was normal for a 10 year old to have that high a temp for so long.... took the hospital commander finding us waiting and mom giving him a what for in order for me to get 'real' treatment.

    Anyway on the martial arts thing... my oldest and youngest nieces are taking Korean form of martial arts called Tao S*** Do (can't remember the middle word).  The oldest will be 14 in a couple of months and is 2nd degree black.  The youngest will be 10 in December and is 1st degree black.  For the oldest, it's given her confidence in herself and some self discipline.  It suits her well as she's not overly aggressive.  She also plays by the rules - so, unfortunately, some of her classmates don't pull their kicks or punches as well as they should... we have to reminder that it's ok to not pull if the other person is refusing to do so.  Only once will do the trick and the opponent will learn what it is to pull.  She's done it a couple of times and the opponent went flying and never did it again.  The youngest is in it because of big sister, mainly.  But, I think she's going to benefit with self confidence as well.

    •  Grissom AFB outside Peru Ind. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Unsure if it has been renamed.

      It was Bunker Hill AFB until the NASA mission killed Gus Grissom.

      I had to move prior to testing for my green sash (belt) but it was months of traing just to get white, and a lot more months to get the yellow. It was a long, long way to black at that school.

      •  They both started when they were 6, I think. The (0+ / 0-)

        youngest may have been 5.  So, it did take them years to get to black.  It took the oldest 2 years to go from 1st to 2nd degree.  It'll probably take the younger a bit longer.  Unfortunately, their primary instructor retired  about a year ago and the new lead instructor just isn't the same.  The original took to the girls quite a bit.  He even carried the older one around like she was his own.  He spent extra time with the girls where as the newer instructor isn't as interested in their progress.  Grandpa is a little disappointed and has to come to terms with one, or both, leaving the sport sooner than later.

        All three girls are petite little things, being ethnic Chinese.  So, knowing some self defense, and the self confidence, will do them good in the long run.  The oldest is just under 5 feet and hopefully will be as tall as myself - 5 feet.  The middle one will be my height, or just a little over.  The youngest should be 5' as well (she needs a growth spurt though as she's only around 4'6", maybe).  

        At least they're in the more cosmopolitan areas of Iowa where there's less bs about being not white.  They've not said anything about being the targets of bullies and they're definitely not the types to be bullies.  I'm profoundly glad for both!!  Like you, I was the target of bullies too.  We're within 5 years of each other - so you have an idea what it was like to be a northerner in a southern area.... then top that with being in college prep and 'different'... yeah I was a social outcast most of my life.

  •  Bruce Lee is awesome!!! (0+ / 0-)

    America, We blow stuff up!!

    by IndyinDelaware on Sun May 19, 2013 at 01:52:34 PM PDT

  •  Trapping Hands? (0+ / 0-)

    Trapping Hands doesn't work in a fight.
    You really think you're going to be doing that junk when some one's punching you in the face?
    How about a nice double leg? What's trapping going to do?

    I enjoy Bruce Lee as much as anyone, but the trapping hands aspect is stupid.

    There was some Wing Chun Guy who fought in the UFC and he got killed.  Where was his "trapping hands?"
    Where are all the Dim Mak Practioners, or Ed Parker Kenpo Dudes?
    Watch the mysterious art of Penchak Silat (sp?) in UFC 1 (I believe) get destroyed as well as the "ninja" (UFC2).

    Nothing works in a fight exept grappling/striking (preferably wrestling/muay thai/boxing)
    None of that pressure point, death touch, trapping hands works for real so don't bother.

    Just watch Gracie in Action and see Hapkido, Karate, Tae Kwon Do all get destroyed in seconds by the Gracies with simple takedowns.

    •  BJJ/gracie Jiujitsu (0+ / 0-)

      is what I alluded to in my post. That was just becoming known back in the mid-1980's. Now it's the dominant martial art 'style'.

      As your name implies, we are talking about "mixed" martial arts and the functionality, the worth and importance of wing chun is not as a direct action so much as a vehicle for sensitivity as to when to used all those other forms you have studied. So we 'mix' martial arts to have a larger arsenal.

      Wing Chun is limited to a small area between boxing and grappling. But it is nonetheless valuable stuff.

      That said if two people have trained in different styles my guess is the winner is simply better at their style more than one approach is better than the other.

      Muay Thai and Wing Chun compliment each other beautifully. That's what I have practiced all these years.

      My former sensei teaches Silat and BJJ/combat submission wrestling.

    •  Silat getting 'destroyed' in the octagon..... (0+ / 0-)

      Worthless stuff, apparently.

  •  learned (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Wing Chun as a teen, but more recently have been interested in doing AIkido as I have got older since I don't have the strength for striking/grasping disciplines like Krav-Maga

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun May 19, 2013 at 03:33:01 PM PDT

  •  Dang. I never thought I'd encounter another... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, navajo, Creosote, xxdr zombiexx

    ...Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do practitioner here. (I guess I shouldn't say "practitioner" in applying it to myself since I haven't been engaged in it for eight years now and I gave up sparring 12 years ago.) But from age 45 to 55, I studied Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do from several teachers.

    Most notable (and best) among them was Steve Grody, a student of Dan Inosanto. Here he is (in one of his videos) teaching trapping:

    I've seen him take on three skilled opponents simultaneously.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sun May 19, 2013 at 04:32:10 PM PDT

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