Spain Seminar 2010
I have done possibly 4 seminars in Spain, I think this could be my 5th. My first in Malaga, or just outside it, if am right this seminar was for a student of mine, Juan Zamudio. I hope I have spelled that correctly, if not well I must apologize. This seminar was a one day seminar. Sometimes a one day seminar is more difficult than a two seminar because in somewhat 5 hrs you have to get some result not just for the attendees but for my own pleasure as a teacher and artist. I have to feel some kind of a result or achievement that I conveyed the material well enough that the participants absorbed what was taught.
Well, I started off by teaching the 360 degrees defence, against kicks and punches. So many folk out there who teach JKD only teach attack and defend on the front and it's always against a guy who is fighting right side up, it's so impractical. Why? Because, most folk fight left side up who are right handed or footed; you see, the idea here is to try and accomplish eveything with the least tools as you need so that nearly all attacks are delt with by a few things. So, first off the bat was defending against being punched or grabbed. You have remember if he's close enough to touch you he will get you before you get him, this is a fact. So, distance here is very important; I should add the correct distance and that's approx 2 feet away from your own lead leg, this way if he wishes to put his hand on you to punch or grab you then he has to get in range to do so; this gives you time to respond. The first option is to use your feet to the closest target; that being the opponants led leg, but I must warn you that some folk dont move there legs first some swing from a distance and then move there feet so the knee thing doesn't always work and the hands have to come into play. On the front the lead or the finger jab works best but the backfist is also very good and can even be faster because of the mech and arm position and the fact that it's more of a natural movement than the straight punch. On the side I would say the back hand movent is much better and suits attackers from the side or back. Again, you have numerous possibilities of different angles you can use to intercept your opponent. Now, sometimes he moves too fast and the intrerception is not on the preparation and sometimes not on the development, it's sometimes on the withdrawl of the tool or the compression of it where you expand into him. So, you layer it all on top of each other building it up layer by layer until you have the three rings of defence; the longest ring with feet, the middle ring with punches, long range and medium range kicks; then you have inner ring of close quarter kicks to the foot or ankle and close quarter punches like low backfist shovels, hooks, uppercuts and elbows. Now, on the part of elbow; yes, we do use them in JKD but not like in Wing Chun or Thai boxing. We, use them when the opponent is behind us and the elbow is pointing toward the opponent. For example, if he tries to grab us around the neck, before that happened we use the elbow to the sternum; but, on the same line it could have been the low back fist or elbow then a low back fist; this is the inner ring. This seminar I didn't get the chance to do a lot with the inner ring because of the time factor, but I demonstrated the concept so that the folk who attended could see how it goes together. You see, the outer rings are based on awareness sensitivity of the eyes then the inner ring is based also on sensitivity, but a different kind sensing of the body. This drill I call hold, push and pull; it's based on expansion and contraction, but I am not going to give much of this away because you have the usual folk who would be reading any of this and trying to grab some and pass it off as there own which it isn't. This little amount has taken me over 30 yrs of learning to get to this stage. It may seem not a lot but it is when you really examine it in depth. You see I spend more time thinking about my actions and how to reduce than I do doing. Then, that part is after the reflection of watching and studying the folk I teach. They're responsible for me improving on what I do myself, they're just a reflection of what I do. It's just ying yang, yang blending to yin and yin blending to yang were it just looks like putting water paint into water to see how the water and the paint blend.
Anyway, we're getting away from the seminar here; so, up to now we've got the defending of the outer ring with our feet then we have when the enemy breaks the ring and comes through to the next ring. This is where the hands take over. The folk took a bit of time to get to grips with this because there was a lot of folk there coming from concept JKD. They were so confused. For me to see folk doing big movement and things that go from one place to the other with out thought of efficiency makes me laugh and to think they have the cheek to call it JKD concepts. Well where are the concepts? I cannot see them. If they're following the concepts of Bruce's art or his philosophy then I can't see simplicity, or being direct, or efficient. Why elbow from punching range and leave yourself open? Why skip back to kick when you can just lift your leg and kick? Why take the opponent down using grappling when you can dispose of him with less energy and simplicity? Why use more than you need and why put yourself in danger of being attacked by others coming to his assistance? Ok Tommy shut up because you could go on and on about this. Ok Tommy you're right that's me just talking to myself. The expansion Tommy and the contraction Tommy; yin yang. Well, towards the end of the day things were beginning to come together. In fact all I set out to do I did; if I am right we had 20 minutes left of the time allotted to the place that we were training in. So, I decided to do some side kick training. The drill is one side tries to make contact with the other side. This is usually done with a decent amount of contact, the drill teaches you that sometimes you have to go with the energy and move back then like holding a bit of cane it bounces back with a fair amount of force.
I can tell you there is always one. Everywhere I go there's always one; can it be they like to be heard, could it be they think they know more than they really do or is it there just all dick heads. Different faces races but wired all the same way, I am sure that's the case. Well, this individual came up to me and tells me that when they guy kicks you should be going into him. I tell him with a bit of civility that sometimes this can happen but only of they opponent is very slow; if he moves very fast you cannot do this because he is upon you too quickly and you need to break ground then as soon as the chance is there you spring back into the attack. Again he expands, you contract, then use the contraction to expand into him. I tell him to go and let me see what he can do now after him coining up to me and giving me an ear full. When the guy sidekicks him he can't move into the attack, he has to move back. At times when folk come up to me and tell me this shit I just feel like telling them, "You know son I was doing this before you were born so turn around and just do as your told and maybe you will learn something rather than coming up to me and use some very valuable fresh air that we all could use to breath rather than wasting it on dribble". But, I think these folk like to be heard considering he was a teacher. I looked at him and thought if he's teaching folk I shudder to think about the standard or quality or even the understanding of what this individual is teaching. I pity the folk who pay him money for him to teach, then sad. Anyway, as I said there is always one. The rest of the folk were very good, very nice and respectful; that makes it an even better day or whatever time your there. But, this saying, "DID YOU COME HERE TO TEACH OR BE TAUGHT" comes to mind.
Sometimes, I think some of these folk think I have been doing this for a few years. Wrong, I have been doing this since 1974 I keep hearing myself saying this. I think I have said this on every article I have ever written; but, its true. I think the next article I write for the next seminar which is Greece, I will start it off by saying, "You know I have been doing this stuff since 1974". Then I would have said it again. Well that's it nice location, good people, nice food, hotel a bit on the small side; not as bad as the Genoa seminar where I could touch the walls with my arms outstretched, and concrete walls and floor. Again, mission accomplished, till next time. Tommy