NEWS & EVENTS

Legacy History - Guru Bob Breen - Language of JKD - Kali & 4D Combat

Ever wanted to get fluent in another language? Maybe you’ve got a couple under your belt already. One of life’s great skills. It opens doors and creates new friends and opportunities. What about learning the language of combat. Not just a few phrases which can buy you a coke or in this case a punch on the nose but learn the language. This is really what JKD was all about. If you look at the two arts Bruce Lee developed they’re similar but very different. The first Jun Fan is really well designed particularly if you were around in 1966 or thereabouts. Way ahead of its time. I was around then and Bruce was light years ahead of anyone. He had done some integration and had added a kickboxing part to it too to make up for the focus on wing chun based techniques and to enable him to handle big americans. It’s a great system and worthy of study. His JKD is more like a language. It uses many of the techniques of Jun Fan but it’s more alive. Bruce was all about aliveness. How to think, how to strategise.


If you look at Jun Fan it’s an excellent phrase book. In this situation do this, if this happens do this. If you train it really hard you may be able to mix or improvise but in essence it’s a great mix of set pieces. What you need is a language. What Dan Inosanto did when he introduced Kali into the martial arts scene was introduce an art that was more in line with JKD than Jun Fan. There’s a big part (or used to be ) of free play or playing within a framework. Sure there’s lots of drills and patterns and the modern world has loved watching these done faster and faster with more flash if possible. However, the original guys were fighters and games were about fighting. Sombrada or counter for counter shouldn’t be fixed, that’s just the place to start and there’s lots to do staying just there. However, staying there won’t learn you the language. You’re just learning phrases. It’s a comfort blanket.

So you can see that the genius of Bruce Lee was he saw the deficiencies of a phrase book approach to combat and sought to create a much looser framework. Something with internal rigour and a huge emphasis on tool development and conditioning but that was about improvising. Bruce it can be seen wasn’t against drilling but saw that it had to be both in equal measure. As the saying goes ‘Using way as way-using no way as way’. You’ve got to do a mix of the both. Don’t get caught in thinking that a drill is reality or anywhere near. So Kali and JKD share the same combative model. Form then no form.

Many people say Oh I need to get it correct first and stay with the form but this is like designing a product for years and developing it only to find there’s no market. Read Eric Reis’s book the ‘ Lean Start up or read a synopsis on the web’ this problem is everywhere. Also realise that drills are tools to get you to a place from which you can improvise. One Filipino Master said to me ’Oh I’ve made up a drill for you to get that skill. Once you’ve got it we’ll never use it again.’ It was about getting me into the game.