Fencing in JKD????

One of the arts that influenced Bruce in the design of Jeet Kune Do was fencing. What does that mean? Jeet Kune Do doesn't involve a foil or a sword. So how could Bruce use fencing in Jeet Kune Do?

Some people think it's "STRONG SIDE FORWARD" and that's it. I tell my students that it's only a little piece of the truth. People who don't have a clue about Jeet Kune Do or what Bruce developed usually give this simplified response to what they don't understand.

Fencing uses the most dominate hand to hold the sword. It's the most coordinated, hence they place the sword in that hand. So in Jeet Kune Do... if you are right handed you want to fight in that lead. If you are left handed you want to fight in that lead. IS THIS ALWAYS going to happen no. So we train both leads. So why do we say "STRONG SIDE FORWARD". Like I mentioned in a different post. We train both leads. But it makes sense when learning something new to train the lead that will grasp the skill the fastest. Hence your dominate side. Once you have a grasp of that skill and what you are trying to achieve then you switch and train it on the other lead also.

So... We established it's not that you HAVE to fight out of only one lead. In fact I constantly switch leads while sparring. I am not even aware of my changes. It's probably due to the circumstances that are happening when I am sparring.

Lets take the phrase "STRONG SIDE FORWARD" with the fact of Jeet Kune Do is a street based self defense art. We are bare handed. Unlike a boxing match where you use your jab to set up the rear hand, Jeet Kune Do uses the weapon that is to the nearest target. We work on the mentality to make that weapon deliver the most damage as possible. We don't use the lead hand to set up the rear hand. It may happen that way. But our goal is to hit as possibly hard as possible with the lead hand and try to finish the fight. The rear hand may follow up if needed. NOTICE... I changed my terminology. Lead hand, rear hand. Because "STRONG SIDE FORWARD" does not mean that we have to fight from out dominate hand forward. It more goes along the mindset of using the lead hand/foot to finish the fight. It's more of a mental thought process. If your attacker comes from your non-dominate side then hit with your non-dominate hand. Try to end the fight with that hand. And remember.... I am saying hand but in reality it can be foot. Most likely it will be your feet if you have the distance.

Notice the picture I used in this post. It's purposely of people with swords and a smaller sword. This was what is incorporated in Jeet Kune Do. The lead hand hits.. the rear hand parries. TYPICALLY... not always. Just like in fencing. The short sword was used to parry.

Next point. The lunging footwork that comes from Fencing. The foot does not travel before the weapon. This helps in not telegraphing your attack. It's a lot harder than it sounds to train your body to do so. But this is a big key in Jeet Kune Do.

Another and probably the last point I will make here. Is that like in one of the 5 ways of attack. The lead hand always progresses forward. The lead hand in Jeet Kune do is used almost like a fencing tool. It cuts into the line and shifts off the attack while delivering it's own attack.

Soooo... I will leave people with the rest to ponder. If you simply were the person you heard Jeet Kune do says "STRONG SIDE FORWARD"... and thought it simply meant you have to fight out of your dominate side.... THINK AGAIN my friend. There is many aspects and concepts that Bruce took out of fencing. He applied these to JKD. So don't be quick to dismiss what value fencing brings to the Art of the Intercepting Fist.


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