Weekly Newsletter – November 21st 2015
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- Reminder! We will be closed this Thursday and Friday (11/26 and 11/27) for Thanksgiving! We will be back in action bright and early on Saturday morning.
- Save the Date! Our next free event will be on Friday, December 11th. We will be holding a toy drive for the West Valley Food Pantry! The following day Saturday, December 12th, we will be having special guests from Chinatown Jeet Kune Do holding a seminar here at Breakthrough Strength & Fitness.
– Why Jeet Kune Do?
At Breakthrough Strength & Fitness, we not only celebrate and hone our strength by lifting kettlebells, barbells and performing feats of bodyweight strength and tests of cardiovascular endurance; we celebrate strength expressed through the physical and spiritual practices of yoga and martial arts. The keystone of our Breakthrough Boxing program, which includes elements of many diverse martial arts styles, is really Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do.
Although we practice techniques from disciplines as contrasting as Muay Thai and Hap Ki Do, the set of principles that guides our training comes from the Los Angeles, Chinatown era of Jeet Kune Do. JKD evolved from Bruce Lee’s “Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute” curriculum (Jun Fan was Bruce’s Cantonese name) and is interpreted literally as “the way of the intercepting fist.” This translated name is certainly among the coolest sounding martial arts style names, and makes an awesome Kung Fu movie title, but it really only gives us a fleeting glimpse of what the art is all about. Much like a great book title (Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” being one of my favorite examples), it is almost a riddle; fooling the uninitiated into thinking the material is all about one thing, when really it’s about so much else. (i.e., The hero of “The Three Musketeers” is not actually one of the eponymous three musketeers.) The “intercepting fist” is just one of the art’s many tools, but the concept of “interception” is a foundational principle for the style; training the ability to launch counterattacks that land before the opponent’s initial attack does.
When we practice Jeet Kune Do, of course we practice techniques taught by Bruce and his instructors, but we are not limited to a curriculum set back in the 60’s. Instead we practice an ever-evolving set of skills, absorbing as many new and useful elements as we can, from wherever we find them, that fit the guiding principles of the training philosophy. The real appeal of JKD is that it is like a powerful computer operating system that can run lots of different software programs to suit almost any circumstance, when it comes to personal combat and self-defense. Our mantra is “Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation,” and it is written in the Chinese characters on the JKD logo we keep up on the wall at our little school of strength. To me personally, JKD is also one of the most fun ways of expressing and testing our athletic skill development. It’s practice fits perfectly with the rest of the training we do at Breakthrough Strength & Fitness not just because Bruce Lee himself prioritized strength and conditioning in his own training, but because it is like the song you can play with the notes learned in our other disciplines. Strength, mobility, coordination, speed, timing, mental and physical toughness, discipline; these are skills that we train every day in our Group Classes and Semi-Private training sessions. In our Breakthrough Boxing classes we put all these skills together through our expression of Jeet Kune Do.
In our StrongFirst methodology of training strength, we use a series of fun “Aha!” drills that help develop skill; enabling trainees to say “Aha! That’s how it’s supposed to go.” Similarly, Chinatown era JKD uses regressive and progressive drills to improve skill and accelerate the learning process. Here’s an example for you straight from Tim Tackett’s Chinatown Jeet Kune Do Volume 2. If you have a training partner who knows how to hold a focus mitt, they can give you immediate feedback as to its effectiveness, but you can also try it by yourself on a heavy bag. From your fighting stance, throw a few straight lead punches or jabs at the target to get a sense of how hard you can hit.
Now, pick up your rear foot so that you are standing in a fighting stance on just your lead leg. Hop forward on your lead leg as you punch the target again; trying to land your punch in time with the landing of your lead foot. Practice this several times until you are coordinating the hop and the punch with satisfying timing (its pretty obvious when it’s right).
After the drill, go back to your normal fighting stance with both feet on the ground and throw some more punches. This time, step forward with your lead leg as you hit and duplicate the timing of your lead leg landing with your punch just like you did when you were hopping forward on one foot. Many of you will recognize this technique as a means of improving your hip drive and the Jack Dempsey “drop step.” If you have a partner holding a focus mitt for you, they’ll tell you how much harder you are punching! Not only is this an effective drill to improve punching power, it’s a great balance and strength building exercise, and it’s actually quite fun!
If you’d like to learn more about the art of Jeet Kune Do, or would just like to learn another way to express your hard earned athletic skills, please join us for Breakthrough Boxing on Tuesdays and Saturdays!