April 2009 - Italy Seminar
This was my first seminar in Italy, the place was Caserta just outside Naples. Going here I was thinking what to teach or what kind of experience would these guys have. Could I get them to glove up or should I let them hit the pads to see where we're at? Well I decided I should just start teaching from the basics and just see where we go from there. The seminar was hosted by Antonio Devito, a student of Tim Tackett.
So, we got started with footwork. I explained the stance and the method of delivering the tools to the opponent via your feet. So many folk teach this static hitting, but that's really dangerous because if your standing still you can be punched or kicked. If your in motion, well its much more difficult. Footwork and balance are very important; more than most folk think. You have to be able to move with ease and fluidity and hit from on the move, going in any direction. Throwing this stuff at your opponent, you need to be able to change direction at anytime and fire off a few shots while executing this. The first thing to teach is without a doubt footwork. If they don't get that then they don't get anything else because that's the foundation that everything else is built on.
So, after explaining the position of the feet and how to shift your weight to gain the max from moving we started the basic steps; taking time to feel the body move and how we can shift to move then regain the posture. It did take a bit of time to get the guys to move and be fluid, that to be honest this is nothing new. Most seminars I go to teach, folk cannot move with any fluidity so I try to get some results and show them how to do it; then after I leave its up to them.
After that we laid the hands on top of the feet. The first punch was the lead, the most difficult of all the tools to teach or do because in that simple punch there are so many components that make it up into one clean shot. This takes years, I am still trying to be better myself. So, we have to be able to move in any direction and shoot the shot from any angle.
Once we did this I taught the guys how to deal with somebody blocking your shot, how you can disengage hitting with the same hand or switching the line to kicking. It's basically fencing with your hands and feet. I came up with a few drills where you feed all this with your hands rather than focus gloves because there's more scope for adding other things; i.e. your opponent can hit you with grabbing etc and its very difficult to do this with mitts. So, my plan was to do this on one day then the second day try and attempt to do this with protective gear.
The second day we got the gear on and progressively went through the stuff adding the different components to each part till we had the whole thing that we had done on the Saturday. The end result with this drill is to teach how to attack with the lead, how to trap your opponent in a distance where he cannot escape; how to lock him in a rhythm them break it. Also, if he moves out of the distance how to use your legs to catch him anywhere he tries to go, in front of you either to your right to your left, or just backs up. Even if he tries to block your attack and hit you back, how to deal with it even if your grabbed, tackled or anything like this. How you can deal with it in a realistic, efficient, economical way; something that's believable. Much different to this I see taught as JKD around the world nothings simple nor is anything direct.
At the end of the day I was satisfied with the results that were achieved considering the language problem and an attendance of close to 80 folk there; what I had set out for them to accomplish in two days - 10 hrs.
A few of my students from Spain came to assist me and I thank them for their attendance and help. To Joe, thanks for taking the shots and assistance; to Vincent for translating this stuff and to others who made me feel welcome and looked after me thanks.