Cross Training
by Sifu Dan Inosanto
(continued)

 

The best eight examples where Sifu Bruce drew techniques, strategies, principles, concepts, tactics, training progressions and training exercises are:

1. Western boxing
2. Western fencing
3. French savate
4. Japanese judo
5. Japanese jiu-jitsu
6. Western wrestling
7. Muay Thai elbow and knee
8. Head butt of Burmese bando

An uneducated person may not recognize these elements in Sifu Bruce's personal system because he blended it so well for his personal expression of his Jeet Kune Do. To me, he is like one of those Smoothie juice drinks in a health food store. All you can see is the Smoothie and not all the vitamins, amino acids, or protein powder that might have been mixed into it. A martial artist may not recognize the Judo and Jiu-Jitsu element in it because he enters differently using the Western Boxing and Wing Chun to flow into the throws of Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Chin Na, and then flowing into the submission jocks and chokes.

Sifu Bruce was constantly evolving. When I trained with him in 1964, he didn't possess the alive footwork that he later used. This came about through experimentation and constant practice. I remember when he coined the terms for his foot work, such as step and slide advance, step and slide retreat, etc.

Sifu Bruce Lee practiced what he preached, living by his own creed:

  1. "Jeet Kune Do utilizes all ways and is bound by none."
  2. "Jeet Kune Do is finding the cause of your own ignorance."
  3. "Using No Way as Way" and 'Having no limitation as limitation."
  4. '"Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is specifically your own."

It is important that a student in Jeet Kune Do have a good foundation in the Jun Fan method of Gung Fu before he expands, explores and "absorbs what is useful" for his own personal system of Jeet Kune Do.

After a student has a good understanding of the Jun Fan method, I feel it is important for the student not to adhere strictly to the techniques, principles, concepts and strategies of Sifu Bruce Lee.

 

Each student must depart on his own journey to find what is workable for him in philosophy, technique, tactics, strategies and principles in the Jun Fan method and then explore other methods that interest him.

Sifu Dan Inosanto performing trappingYou have often heard people quote Sifu Bruce Lee saying, "Jeet Kune Do is not the accumulation of knowledge, but hacking away at the unessential." But do they truly understand what they preach? For the accumulation of knowledge and hacking away at the unessential is not a product, but a process. It is a continual process that lasts our entire lives. We are constantly accumulating and eliminating, then again accumulating and eliminating. I practice arts other than Jun Fan and Jeet Kune Do -- such as Silat, Kali, Muay Thai, Savate, Shoot Wrestling, Bando and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu -- so I am criticized by people because they say this is accumulating, and that Jeet Kune Do is an eliminating process. You practice the entire system because it is part of the curriculum and it interests you, but you never embrace the entire system; you embrace what works for you in that system that you are practicing.

 

In the words of my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor, Rigan Machado, "You don't fit into the Jiu-Jitsu; you make the Jiu-Jitsu fit you." In other words, the entire Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might not fit you so you must take the parts of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to fit you.

Remember that Bruce Lee was "a finger pointing to the moon," As he said, "Don't gaze on the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory." I like to think that Sifu Bruce was a really good finger pointing to the moon.

I'd like to close with my poem:

We are all climbing different paths through the mountain of life and
We have all experienced much hardship and strife.
There are many paths through the mountain of life
And some climbs can be felt like a point of a knife
Some paths are short and others are long
Who can say what path is wrong
The beauty of truth is that each path has its own song
and if you listen closely you will find where you belong.
So climb your own path true and strong
But respect all other truths for your way for them could be wrong.

 


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