Prior to studying Jeet Kune Do, it was my impression that the lead punching techniques came from Western Boxing. Having studied a little boxing, I had initally thought that JKD punching was the same as boxing. I now see it quite differently.

The punching stretegy I was taught in boxing consist of using the lead hand (usually the left) to distract the opponent while setting the stage for a powerful rear punch ( from the right). The lead hand, called a jab, is tossed out lightly from the shoulder, and the fight conserves energy by not putting their full weight into the strike. The full weight and power is used only on the rear punch

When you first come to class, it may seen like we are doing the same Western style – jab. I can assure you that is not the case. In JKD training, the lead hand strike is a power punch, accomplished through proper body mechanics. All the power and weight is behind it, one moves forward and twist the hips with the punch. It is a full body motion, more similar to Western fencing than to any other style of fighting. As in fencing, the lead hand moves forward slightly ahead of the feet, thus leading the strike just before the front foot hits the ground. This adds weight to the strike.

Consequently, JKD punching is not Western boxing, though, to the untrained eye – it can look similar. The same is true for JKD kicking, which some might confuse with kickboxing or Muay Thai, and of JKD grappling, which could be likended to Jujitsu. Although JKD evolved from all of these different martial arts, it is something quite different – different because JKD is not a modern sport, nor an ancient tradition, but rather, as the GrandMaster puts it “Scientific street fighting” in other words, it takes, from various martial sources, elements that are useful for self defense, and disregards the rest.

If you have studied other fighting arts, and then decide to take up JKD, the old adage of “emptying your cup” should guide you along the first steps on your new path. Unlearn and forget, for the moment, what you have been taught, and allow yourself to evolve into a different kind of fighter.

Tim Dymond
Brown Sash .