Saturday, November 30, 2013

IN MEMORY OF: Paul Walker (September 12, 1973 – November 30, 2013)

updated 11:29 PM EST 11.30.13'Fast & Furious' star Paul Walker dies

Santa Clarita, California (CNN) - Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise "Fast & Furious," died Saturday in a car crash in Southern California. He was 40.
Walker's publicist Ame van Iden confirmed his death, but said she could not elaborate beyond statements posted on Walker's official Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Walker was a passenger in a friend's car and both were attending a charity event for his organization, Reach Out Worldwide, in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood.

The website for the charity said the Saturday event was intended to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The crash took place about 3:30 p.m., about 300 yards from the office park where the event was held.
The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, citing a sheriff's deputy at the scene, said a red Porsche appeared to have lost control.

Deputies arrived at the scene to find a vehicle on fire, the sheriff's department said in a statement.

Once fire crews put the flames out, they found two occupants, both of whom were pronounced dead at the scene.

Saturday evening, all that remained was the burnt mangled metal of the car and a light pole that had been knocked down.

Along with Vin Diesel, the 40-year-old Walker has been one of the stalwarts of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, characterized by its racing scenes and attractive cast.
Walker's career began on the small screen, first with a commercial for Pampers when he was 2, and then with parts in shows such as "Highway to Heaven" and "Touched By An Angel."

His first few movie roles were as supporting characters in teen flicks, most notably in "Varsity Blues."

His career really took off when he was cast as undercover cop Brian O'Conner infiltrating a street-racing gang in 2001's "The Fast and the Furious."

The box-office success of the surprise summer hit yielded numerous sequels. And along with Vin Diesel, Walker was one of the franchise stalwarts.

At the time of his death, Walker was working on the seventh film of the franchise, due out next year.
On his verified Twitter account, Walker described himself as "outdoorsman, ocean addict, adrenaline junkie ... and I do some acting on the side."

Walker also is the star of "Hours," an independent film scheduled to be released December 13 about a father struggling to keep his newborn infant alive in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Twitter and other social media exploded with reactions to Walker's death.

"Completely numb and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Paul Walker," wrote one posted "Wow."
Hollywood condolences came from Will Smith, Jack Osbourne, DMX and others.
"No, @RealPaulWalker. No. No. No," tweeted actress Alyssa Milano. Walker guest-appeared with her in the 80s comedy, "Who's The Boss?" "Rest with the angels. You. Sweet boy. #beauty #love #RIP."

CNN's Greg Botelho, David Simpson, Joe Sutton and Jackie Castillo contributed to this story

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RIP Paul Walker

Shaolin and Wu Tang (1983) (Full movie)

In honor of Gordon Liu, the birthday boy, I'm posting one of his movies in which he stars (and directs) with co-stars Adam Cheng and Johnny Wang Lung Wei. The great Lau Kar Leung was the action choreographer. The full movie of Shaolin and Wu Tang dubbed in English is below. The hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan used audio samples from this movie.


For more information:

Happy 58th Birthday Gordon Liu!! (Profile)

Happy 58th Birthday Gordon Liu aka Master Killer aka San Te aka Bai Mei!!! 

Check out this profile on everyone's favorite old-school Shaolin Monk!

Gordon Liu Chia Hui
Good Monk, Bad Monk
by Dr. Craig Reid

Gordon Liu Chia Hui (Cantonese Lau Kar Fai) is one of the coolest kung fu stars you will ever meet. Though perhaps the most recognized and popular Shaolin-righteous-monk character from the Old School Shaw Brothers kung-fu films, he doesn't promote himself as such, or flaunt himself in "look at me" fashion design, or try to be the next "Hong Kong star" vying for Hollywood's attention. Instead, he's an unassuming man, simple in nature, sincere in spirit and open in heart.

I met up with Liu in the lobby of the Le Meridian Hotel in Beverly Hills, just a few hours after he had finished a few day's stint, dubbing his Monk Bai Mei character from KILL BILL: VOLUME 2. If you've seen his films, his eyes are intense, his body taut, his posture proud, because he's the hero that will save China (or at least part of it). But in real life, he's dressed in dark blue and gray, sporting a gray woolen hat shaped like his bald head, and he has a gentle smile and soft eyes - clearly a man at peace.

We drive to Monterey Park to meet up with a family member and partake in an afternoon of yum cha (dim sum). I politely mention that I'm not into chicken feet and pig ears. Moments later we're surrounded by every waitress and bus boy at the restaurant. None ask for autographs, but just stare and smile, not in awe, but with familiarity. I ask if he's uncomfortable and would he like to go somewhere else. Liu happily smiles, shakes his head, then laughingly orders chicken feet.

Liu doesn't come across eager to please - or full of himself - like so many other Hong Kong imports. And why? Because he's not opera, he's not flash, he's a real kung-fu man top to bottom, in mind, body and spirit. His life and background as a martial artist is not about entertainment or sport; it's a way of life, the way real martial artists should be: spirited calm, enlightened with humbleness...a dying art.

"I find it sad that most people and kids in Hong Kong nowadays are not interested in practicing martial arts like we used to," Liu laments. "And it's also one of the reasons why the Hong Kong film industry is dying, because nobody wishes to put themselves through the rigorous training like we used to do.

"Actors now rely on special effects, fancy wire techniques and doubles. Actors know they can be kung-fu stars without the hard training, learning and sacrificing, and understanding of philosophy that my generation went through. It seems that everyone has forgotten that practicing martial arts is not about money, or purely training to get into a film. Martial arts and film are two different things. You can be a martial artist and get into film, but in reality, you can't be an actor and get into martial arts. Of course there are always exceptions, but I think you understand my point."

It becomes readily apparent that he has old school opinions when it comes to martial arts and martial arts in cinema, though he presents them in a non-demeaning manner and is quick to note that he's merely sharing his thoughts and opinions (since, after all, I'm asking him to do so) and that his words are not intended to be disrespectful or disparaging to anybody.

"Actually after Jet Li's SHAOLIN TEMPLE, that changed the look of kung fu films, not to be confused with Jackie's films or the wu xia, flying and wire-work films, I mean the kung fu, kung fu films," he points out. "It seems many now think that traditional Shaolin kung fu is about wushu, which is really about sport and flair and not the real Shaolin martial arts. So now even people go to the Shaolin temple wanting to learn Shaolin martial arts. And although some do train very hard, they're not learning authentic Shaolin kung fu.

"You see, when you learn, say, opera, which is for entertainment, or wushu, they both usually lack the learning of the philosophy and spirit of kung fu. So no matter how good your physical abilities can be - and obviously a lot of wushu and opera people are very good technicians of kung-fu technique - they don't all understand the spirit of the martial art and what that stands for. It's opening up oneself, about love and peace. Also, doing kung fu should not be about money or competition. You should be competing with yourself to defeat what you were and become a kung fu man. It's not for entertainment, although obviously martial art film has been able to use it as such. And I am of course guilty of being a part of that."

Gordon is arguably the most well-known Chinese actor to play a Shaolin priest, a role he made famous in the 1978 Liu Chia Liang-directed Shaw Brother film, THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (released in America as THE MASTER KILLER), where he played the real-life Shaolin hero Monk San Te.

He was born in Canton, China in 1955 as Xian Qi Xi (Cantonese, Sin Gum Hay, which he Anglicizes as Louis Sin). He acquired the name Gordon during his days at English elementary and high schools in Hong Kong during the 1960s. When his family first moved to Hong Kong, they lived for several years near the martial arts school run by the noted Hong Jia stylist Liu Zhan, who traces his martial pedigree back to the kung fu legends Hong Xi Guan and Wong Fei Hung, and who is the father of Hong Kong's acclaimed martial arts film director Liu Chia Liang. At age seven, Gordon became so enamored with Liu Zhan's martial art skills that he often skipped school to train. It's often been written that Gordon is the half brother or adopted brother of Liu Chia Liang. So which is it and what's the truth?

Gordon explains, "When I was a kid, I was really naughty and would really try to avoid going to school. Then when I saw Liu Zhan, I knew kung fu was something I had to learn, and that kung fu would be an important part of my life. So now I had an excuse to skip train in martial arts. Now, my parents didn't want me to practice kung fu; they saw it as something violent. They wanted me to study arty things and they didn't know I was training.

"It was actually Liu shimu ('shimu' is what you call the wife of the 'shifu,' Cantonese 'sifu') that took a real liking to me, saying that I looked so cute with my long hair and backpack. So to clear it up, I'm not an adopted brother or a blood brother. I later on basically became Liu Zhan's godson. He became my godfather, so like with other martial artists and Beijing opera performers, I began using, or adopted, Lui's surname as my stage name. So I'm really the 'God brother' and 'kung-fu brother' of Liu Chia Liang."

When I ask if his parents were mad about that, he stoically replies, "Yes, they were. But I didn't get along with my parents. Yet I respected Liu Sifu so much, and my path was one of the martial arts, it was just a natural step in my path as a martial artist."

This is similar to Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and all of their opera brothers who, as members of the "Seven Little Fortunes," adopted their teacher's name of "Yuen" as a stage name - though later on Jackie and Sammo chose not to keep it.

Ironically, Liu hated the notion of shaving his head and getting into film. "After high school, my brother-in-law was a Chief Police Inspector and was trying to push me into doing the same thing, saying that he could help elevate up to becoming inspector too. So I thought about joining the police force. But what stopped me? There was no way I was going to cut my long flowing hair, no way I would ever be bald."

Between our outbursts of laughter, he explains what finally got him into film. For years he had been declining Liu Chia Liang's invitations to act in the kung-fu films he was working on. Finally Liu pulled senior kung-fu brother rank on him, essentially forcing him to act in movies.

"So I did a bunch of films for director Chang Cheh in Taiwan for a couple of years (SHAOLIN MARTIAL ARTS (1974), FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS (1974), MARCO POLO (1975). It was during that time that I learned to speak mandarin and then I went back to Hong Kong."

During Gordon's time in Taiwan, Liu Chia Liang made a successful directorial debut in Hong Kong with SPIRITUAL BOXER (1974). After that, Shaw Brothers all but gave him free reign to direct what he wanted. Chia Liang cast Gordon as Wong Fei Hong in CHALLENGE OF THE MASTERS (1976), then as a freedom fighter in EXECUTIONERS OF SHAOLIN (1977), which introduced us to Monk Bai Mei. Which now brings us to KILL BILL: VOLUME 2.

In real life Monk Bai Mei is considered to be a Shaolin traitor for defecting to the Wu Dang martial arts school of thought and helping the Ching government burn down the Jiu Lian Shan Shaolin Temple. Monk Bai Mei was popularized in such Hong Kong films as EXECUTIONERS, ABBOT OF SHAOLIN and CLAN OF THE WHITE LOTUS (1980), where he was played by Lo Lieh. In fact, Gordon was Bai Mei's protagonist in WHITE LOTUS. So Liu has gone from playing one of Chinese history's most stalwart Shaolin monks San Te to now playing one of the temple's darkest monks, Bai Mei. Or has he?

The original plan was to track down and ask Lo Lieh to play Bai Mei; unfortunately, he was extremely sick in the hospital and soon thereafter passed away. Then the film's fight director, Yuen Woo Ping, encouraged Tarantino himself to play the part. Tarantino said he'd do it if Gordon wouldn't.

Gordon recalls, "I understood why Quentin wanted me, even though I've always played righteous heroes. He was looking at me for my martial arts skills, and also I think because of my understanding of this very Chinese character. I know Bai Mei is usually a bad guy, but in this film he's merely a teacher to the Bride, but a strict one at that.

"I have to admit, though, before this film, I didn't know much about Quentin. But my friends in Hong Kong recommended I should watch RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION. I watched them, and was impressed. I also heard he knew a lot about Hong Kong and martial art movies."

And Gordon's thoughts on working with Uma and Yuen Woo Ping? "Yuen sifu's work in CROUCHING TIGER was very beautiful, but it was not real fighting. I knew that Quentin wanted something different, real fighting, and when we put these two approaches together, I knew it would be good. Yuen sifu and I have done lots of movies, so we worked happily together.

"If I fight with one of my brothers or another martial artist, they know what to expect, where to turn and stop. With a non-martial artist I have to make an extra effort or add an extra movement to make sure the routine ends up in the right place. I have to make the other person look their best. I also worry with non-martial artist that if I hit them the wrong way, they will get hurt. For Uma, who is tall, learning the kung fu is hard because her center of gravity is too high. Uma knew that this was not her expertise, but she never gave up. She kept trying. I was impressed by her spirit. Some people in her place would let a bad take go by, saying it's good enough, but she didn't. She would redo it again and again until it was up to her standard."

Gordon closes by happily admitting that he's been married now for over 20 years. At age 50 he still practices kung fu every day, stating, "Because once you start, it's not something you stop at some point in life. You keep at it. It's a life-time commitment. It just seems that many who do kung fu films, when they retire from acting - in other words, using martial arts for film only - then they stop doing martial arts. Is that the way of a real kung fu man? You probably know my answer."

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Please check out the full movie of "Shaolin and Wu Tang" I posted in honor of his birthday which starred and was directed by Gordon!

Also, check out another full movie of Gordon's I posted with my review:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Jerry Poteet's JKD Secrets - Book Excerpt

Today marks the 77th birthday of Poteet sifu. Earlier, I posted an article by him, found here:

Below is the 2nd posting in honor of what would've been his 77th birthday.

Happy 77th Birthday Poteet sifu!

Think you're studying original jeet kune do? You won't know for sure until you've read this excerpt from Jerry Poteet's controversial new book.


CORRECT NO PASSIVE MOVES - Jerry and opponent face off (1).

When he grabs behind Jerry's neck to clinch, Jerry shoots an uppercut inside (2).

Jerry peels him away with a strike to the chin (3).

It was with mixed feelings that I wrote a book about my teacher, Bruce Lee's, art and philosophy of jeet kune do. While Bruce's elegant and precise art survives in some quarters, in other camps it has degenerated into endless drills, countless techniques or whatever form of "mixed martial arts" (all geared for sport), people wish to throw together.

It appears today as though there are as many camps teaching their interpretations of jeet kune do as there are definitions of jeet kune do itself. One of my favorite "camps" declares that jeet kune do is not much more than a straight lead and a few kicks. To borrow one of my teacher's favorite expressions, I hope this book "bridges the gap" between these two extremes and sheds new light on this unique and beautiful martial art. How can we best accomplish this? By defining and illuminating the underlying principles (true in all situations, unlike concepts, which may or may not hold true), of JKD:

First and foremost, jeet kune do translates as "the Way of the intercepting fist." It does not mean "the way of the eclectic fist"! As a non-classical fighting art, jeet kune do is based on skill, not on how many techniques, arts or forms you know. As my good friend and fellow jeet kune do teacher Steve Golden says, "Jeet kune do is simple (not a lot of moves), but not easy!"

In fact, it takes a tremendous level of skill to shut down an opponent with as few moves as possible. This means that to attain this skill level, each and every attack you launch must be devastating to your adversary. Jeet kune do is not for the dabbler or the faint of heart. Is your lead punch a "probe" or does it posses the necessary stopping power to shut down your opponent on the first move?

Simple-as in as few moves as possible? Yes. Easy-as in requiring supreme timing, distance, and power? Not a chance.

So, using the underlying principle of simplicity, we can now define the art. The definition of jeet kune do is: To intercept your opponent's intentions as quickly and efficiently as possible with the least amount of moves. This is why the principles of economy and simplicity are so essential to understanding JKD. As of this writing, "so-called" JKD practitioners are using four, five and even more moves to stop a simple jab! If you aren't hitting until the sixth movement, how can this be called jeet kune do? Why use 10 or even five movements when one will get the job done?

Allow me to use an analogy to illustrate my point: If I want to leave my house, would I crawl out a window, shimmy down the drainpipe, jump down two stories and hope to land in a tree? Or, would I simply walk out the front door? Wouldn't that be a more efficient way to leave? Isn't the simplest, non-complicated and most direct way the best?

According to the underlying principles of jeet kune do, the answer is always a resounding "yes." So by now, I hope you are seeing that jeet kune do is not merely "what works for you." That is probably something all together different from the true expression of JKD. The principles of interception and simplicity require a minimum of wasted movements on the part of the jeet kune do practitioner. It is truly the most sophisticated method of fighting, because it does not allow for even one response from your opponent. And for this to occur, the JKD man or woman has to be in complete control of his tools. Using this method, the opponent's intention to attack leads inevitably to his own defeat.

By delving into the guiding principles of jeet kune do, this book will offer insights into the true nature of the art. We will be discussing and demonstrating right and wrong whenever the principles are violated. These guiding principles include: Simplicity (Uncomplicated); Economy of Motion; Longest Weapon to the Nearest Target; No Passive Moves; and Attack the Attack. Once you appreciate the meaning of these principles, you can judge for yourself if you are expressing the JKD Way of Combat. While the task may seem daunting, I will repeat what my instructor, Bruce Lee, said to me when I balked at doing splits between two chairs: "Something to shoot for, Jerry!"

The NPM Principle-No Passive Moves

One of the most important, but least understood, aspects of jeet kune do is the No Passive Moves (NPM) Principle. Some years ago, I coined this term to explain the difference between jeet kune do and more classical martial arts. This is really the final stage of hitting on every move. (Bruce decided to call all attacks a "hit," whether with the hands, legs, etc.). This underlying principle is used in every range of combat.

The most basic response to every threat is a straight blast or a barrage of nonstop linear punches that intercepts the opponent's first move. It smothers the opponent and neutralizes any hope of follow-ups.

NPM Bob and Weave

The bob and weave or duck is one of the most common defenses taught against a hook. Here's how Bruce Lee modified it to fit his NPM principle: Instead of bobbing and coming up and then punching with a hook, the jeet kune do artist strives to hit on the first move, and each one thereafter. If you are caught and have to resort to a duck, etc., you would never use two passive (non-hitting) movements in a row.

Simplicity First

What could be simpler than no passive moves? It is much more complicated to defend first and then counter. But does simple (uncomplicated) mean it's easy? Just the opposite. When you see a punch flying at your head, it's much more instinctive to cover up, duck, block and turn away. So hitting on every move has to be trained until it is another JKD second-nature reflex. A reflex well worth acquiring, it is the essential principle in jeet kune do combat.

Jerry prepares to attack (1).
When he fires a punch, Dimitri parries (2)
and parries again (3).
He then does a pak sao (4)
and finally hits (5).


On the opponent's first motion (1),
Jerry explodes with a simultaneous pak sao and hit (2).


Dimitri and Jerry face off (1).
Jerry fires a hook and Dimitri ducks (2).
He comes up and outside (3)
then counters with a hook punch (4).


Jerry and Dimitri square off (1).
The opponent throws a wide hook and Jerry bobs down with a low body shot (2).
He weaves up and outside (3)
comes up with a backfist (4)
and blasts his enemy with a hook (5). The difference in this response is that there is a hit between every move.


Dimitri and Jerry find themselves in a reference point (1).
Dimitri pak sao's Jerry's arm (2).
And then punches (3).


Jerry faces Dimitri (1).
When he launches a hook kick Dimitri blocks with his leg (2).


Jerry and Dimitri square off (1).
Jerry kicks Dimitri's standing leg when he throws a hook kick (2).


When Jerry grabs Dimitri's neck and pulls (1)
Dimitri shifts back to counter (2).

Jerry Poteet is an original Los Angeles Chinatown student of Bruce Lee and the world's foremost authority on the art of jeet kune do.

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Jeet Kune Do Secrets by Jerry Poteet

Today marks the 77th birthday of Jerry Poteet. I'm going to post the first of 2 articles today in his honor. 2nd article can be found here:

Happy 77th Birthday Poteet sifu!


First Generation Disciple Reveals Little-Known Bruce Lee Teachings on Self-Defense

   I first met Bruce Lee in 1964. At the time, I was one of Ed Parker's top kenpo black belts, and I had accompanied him to San Francisco to arrange the first International Karate Championship. While we were there, we decided to visit James Lee in nearby Oakland, California. His brother, Bruce, was staying with him.

The goal of jeet kune do is to stop an attack before it's launched. If that's not possible, it should be intercepted as early as possible during its execution.
   James had a wooden dummy, and while we all stood around socializing, Bruce walked over and suddenly started hitting it. He exploded like a machine gun, and the power of his blows shook the house to its foundations. After everyone else backed away, I approached the dummy. Even when I put all my weight into moving it, it didn't budge. I wondered, Who is this little guy who can generate so much power? I couldn't wait to train with him.

   Less than two years later, I became Lee's second student at his school in Los Angeles. He remained my teacher until he went to Hong Kong to make movies at the end of the 1960's. The fighting techniques and strategies I learned during that time were invaluable.

Throw the First Punch

   One day, after five of us had finished a session with Lee, he blurted out, "Jeet Kune Do is an offensive art rather than a defensive one."

   I was startled and confused by his declaration. "Do you mean," I asked, "that we should throw the first punch?"

Recreating Bruce

   Having trained with Bruce Lee
for nearly three years made
Jerry Poteet a logical choice to tutor Jason Scott Lee for his
role in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Much of their time
together on the set entailed going over Bruce Lee-style basic
moves and footwork, as well as hours during which Poteet's
wife Fran drilled the actor in the best methods for wielding
the nunchaku. That did not present much of a challenge,
Jerry Poteet says, because Jason was so naturally athletic
that he ended up performing all his own martial arts scenes
except those that involved front flips and back flips.

   The jeet kune do instructor also reminisced about the legend's martial arts philosophies to help the young star understand the essence of the man he was portraying. "I told him that Bruce's attitudes and the integrity of the individual, and that Bruce was as good as his word," Poteet recalls.

   For example, Lee believed that many people who do the martial arts just execute a kick or a punch without becoming one with the technique, Poteet says. "He called it the difference between doing-where if you're kicking, you're just kicking-and being-where you are that kick. Once I got that across to Jason, he fit right into the role."

   -Sara Fogan

Jerry Poteet (left) faces his opponent (1). As soon as the man draws his fist back for a punch, Poteet blasts him with a backfist to the face (2-3). He immediately follows with a cross to the chin (4).

A grappler (right) accosts Jerry Poteet (1). When the man lays his right hand on the keet kune do expert, he prepares his plan of attack (2). When the assailant opens himself up by reaching out with his left hand, Poteet unleashes a punch to the groin (3). He rises to a more upright stance to deliver a barrage of palm heels to terminate the aggression.

Audio Awareness

   In addition to visual- and tactile-awareness drills, Bruce Lee employed audio-awareness training methods to quicken his students' reflexes. He would stand behind one of us while holding a set of clickers or sticks. Then he would hit them together, and we would execute a predetermined string of techniques as long as we heard a sound. Then he would stop the noise-usually in the middle of a sequence. If we didn't immediately halt our actions, we knew we had a lot of work to do.


Jerry Poteet (left) focuses his visual awareness on his opponent and senses an impending attack (1). When the man extends his right arm, Poteet uses his tactile awarenss and responds with a punch to the chin (2). He follows up with a palm to the jaw (3) and a sweep to the floor (4).
   Lee shook his head. He explained that the JKD practitioner must strike while the opponent is preparing to attack or when he indicates his intention to attack.

   Noticing the perplexed look on my face, Lee motioned for me to come forward so he could demonstrate the principle. He had me chamber my fist to deliver a rear punch, and as I drew back, he hit me.

   He then instructed me not to telegraph my techniques. "Just assume the posture you would be in prior to throwing the punch," he said.

   I decided to try again. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other and clenched my fists. Once again, he hit me. "This time, I intercepted your attitude," he said.

   Lee explained that you should always strive to intercept your opponent's attack before he launches it-or at the very latest, while he's doing it. Intercepting is the jeet in jeet kune do, he said. Sadly, this principle and the training methods needed to master it are rare today. I sometimes see JKD practitioners wait for their opponent to attack before countering the technique. At at that point, it's often too late.

   To fully appreciate this concept, which I call ATA, or attack-the-attack, imagine allowing an assailant to shoot at you before starting to defend yourself. You may get lucky and avoid the bullet, then be able to incapacitate him. Then again, you may end up dead. Not only does this passive fighting strategy violate the cornerstone principle of jeet kune do, which is to always intercept the attack, it also puts you at least a full beat behind your opponent. Unless you're blessed with superhuman speed and are facing an unskilled opponent, this is an unwise course of action because you're forced to play catch-up. (Note, however, that it's acceptable to use a passive move to attack by drawing as you jockey around your opponent to find a position to score.)

   The goal of jeet kune do is to close the distance between yourself and your opponent and smother his attack with your own. It isn't complicated, but it requires a high level of visual and tactile awareness to master.

Open Your Eyes

   Visual awareness facilitiates medium- and long-range fighting. It requires you to be aware of every gesture or motion your opponent makes, such as shifting his weight from one foot to the other, bending his knees or drawing his hand back. According to Lee, any of those movements can be precursors to an assault. If you can see what he intends to do, you can head him off at the pass. Furthermore, you won't be distracted by an aggressor who feints or tries to nail you with a sucker punch.

   Unfortunately, many martial artists fail to train to improve their visual awareness. Even practitioners with extremely fast kicks and punches often get bested by a slower opponent because the lack visual speed, and they're too slow to react to him, let alone intercept his strikes.

   To help us develop visual awareness, Lee would stand in front of the class and make a variety of gestures. Every time he moved, we had to say, "Ooh." At first, his movements were obvious-such as a punch or a kick-but over time, they became more subtle-like a shift in balance or a twitch of a finger. We learned to become aware of even the slightest motion our opponent made, and that served as our cue to intercept the incoming technique. Since everybody telegraphs his attack, Lee told us, the ability to spot these motions can keep a martial artist at least a half-beat ahead of his opponent.

See With Your Hands

   Another important component of the ATA principle is tactile awareness, or touch. Utilized at close-contact range, it refers to the pressure that develops as the other person attacks you and to your ability to use it to find an opening in his defenses. The uncanny ability of Lee and other skilled JKD practitioners to employ this method to detect and stop an assault in its tracks can make them seem psychic.

   Lee advocated chi sao (sticky hands) drills to make tactile awareness more reflexive. Such training is done primarily by crossing hands with your opponent so you learn what happens if you exert too much or too little pressure.

   "In the softness, you want to give without yielding," Lee would say. "Hardness is like steel that is hidden in silk." If you're too strong, the other person will dissolve his movement and attack. If you're too soft, he'll run right over you.

   Many other fighting styles, including Greco-Roman wrestling, employ similar sensitivity drills. While this training method has great implications for neutralizing grappling attacks, you should never let skill in it convince you to play the grappler's game and voluntarily go to the ground. As he tries to close the distance and grab your legs to take you down or get you in a lock, you should stop his onslaught with a straight blast.

   Sensitivity drills are also a staple of old-time boxing, and they form the core of JKD's modified boxing techniques. You should practice blocking and parrying jabs and combinations to get used to them. As you become more advanced, however, you should try to intercept your partner's jab and cut through his block with your own-in true jeet kune do fashion.

Enjoy the Advantages

   As you can see, the ATA principle can be used against any type of offense. For example, if an assailant attempts a punch or kick, you can intercept his technique with your own attack. If he tries to take you down, you can hit him or kick him before he succeeds. Don't waste precious time blocking, parrying and slipping when you can beat him to the punch.

   When Bruce Lee named his art the "way of the intercepting fist," he meant it. And who are we to argue with the master?

About the author: Jerry Poteet is a free-lance writer and jeet kune do instructor based in Los Angeles. For more information, call (818) 981-1986 or visit

Published in Black Belt, July 2004.
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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps