Jeet Kune Do approaches effective self -defense in a uniquely different manner that sets it apart from most other Martial Arts. Some distinctive principles are noted with a brief description.
Drawing the arm back before striking, stepping before kicking or showing any obvious "build up" movement tells the opponent what you're about to do. This gives them the opportunity to counter attack you. We learn to punch and kick efficiently without telegraphing our intentions.
We stress the use of our strongest and most coordinated weapons (Hand and Foot) out front, where they can do the most damage. If you are right handed, you will be in a right lead fighting stance. If you are left handed, it's a left lead fighting stance. This in turn makes the weaker weapons stronger, giving you two strong sides to use for attack.
When attacking from a distance to the nearest target, JKD uses the lead hand for punching and the lead leg for kicking. The rear tools are further away, take longer to get to the target and can be countered more easily.
We do not employ a belt system nor the use of set or fixed training katas, forms or patterns. They don't accurately represent realistic fight situations. We employ drills that teach you how to adapt to the changing dynamic and keep the relationship between you and the opponent alive, fluid and mobile.
Used while attacking or counter attacking, it allows you to catch your opponent while they are motion set, thus making it harder for them to defend or counter your attack. In attacking, there are a few ways to break the rhythm within a series of movements after a rhythm has already been established. For example, speed up suddenly, slow down suddenly, and/or insert a brief pause or delay in the series of movements. In counter attacking, you can hit on the half-beat to break an opponent's rhythm and interrupt their attack. If you hit the opponent before he completes the first strike, you've hit on the half-beat. If you parry the first strike, and hit between the first and second strikes, you have broken the rhythm on the one and a half-beat. Control the rhythm, you can control the fight.
Fights are abstract and are constantly changing. One must be able to adapt to these changing situations. You cannot be bound by fixed techniques, a single system or method. You must be free to use whatever works and to express yourself without limitations.
Feints are actions that make an opponent think an attack is being launched against them. The object is to divert their attention from your final or intended point of attack. False attacks are intentionally made to fall short of a target and to draw a defensive reaction from the opponent. This will help you discover how they will react to your movements and is a set up for other types of attacks, such as Attack by Combination and Progressive Indirect Attack.
The words Jeet Kune Do translate to "Way of The Intercepting Fist." It is least efficient to block first, then hit. It's more efficient to simultaneously parry and hit, or even better, intercept the attack. This is best accomplished by controlling the distance so your opponent has to move towards you to get to you. The mind-set of defend and hit must be changed to "think hit."
Looping or grand movements are very telegraphic and easy to defend or intercept. Strikes going down the centerline are difficult to see and defend against. There are some major targets located along the centerline such as the eyes, nose, chin, throat, solar plexus, liver and groin. In controlling the centerline, you also can control the balance, position and leverage of an opponent and their ability to attack you..
Good mobility is essential. It can put you in a position to hit, or it can take you out of position from being hit. Distance, rhythm and timing are controlled with footwork, which should always be alive, fluid and mobile.
Kicking high to head in street fights can be dangerous. High kicks are slower, easier to defend, more telegraphic and you need to be very limber to execute them. Low line kicks to the groin, knee and shin are quite effective and much safer to execute. They are also faster, harder to defend, less telegraphic and your balance is not as compromised.
Even though there are many Martial Arts systems, styles and methods, there are basically only five ways for you to attack or be attacked. In JKD we classify them as:
SDA is a single motion (Punch or Kick) which moves with no effort to conceal it, directly to the target on the most economical route. It can also be indirect, beginning on one line and ending on another. Such as a punch that starts to the stomach (mid line) and ends on the chin (high line). SAA is an attack that is launched from an unanticipated angle that is achieved by moving in such a way as to create an open line into which to strike.
Taken originally from Wing Chun and later modified, "trapping" is an effective tool against systems that block first, then hit. This is an attack that will momentarily immobilize or "trap" one or both of the opponent's arms or a foot allowing you to strike into an open line. You can also purposely draw a reaction from them to be countered with a trap.
Taken from Western Fencing originally, the idea of "second intention" is employed here where you use an initial false attack or feint to draw some type of defensive reaction from your opponent. After you get the attempted block or parry you deceive that defensive motion by quickly shifting lines and hitting to an open target. Progressive means you will cover at least half the distance between you and your opponent by moving forward on the initial false attack or feint. Indirect means to gain time by putting your opponent a half beat behind your motions. You don't wait for their block to land, you shift lines just as it's moving to defend your initial strike. This timing is used to take advantage of the best "window of opportunity" to deceive the opponent.
The goal when using attack by draw is to "draw" the opponent into a committed attack by baiting them into what looks like an open target, then intercepting their motion. Or, you can execute a motion that invites a counter, then counter attack them as they take your bait.
An offensive attack made up of two or more movements in a natural progression that lands on single or multiple targets. Attack combinations can be comprised of hand to hand, hand to foot, foot to hand and foot to foot strikes.