Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: Advanced Techniques, Vol. 4 by Bruce Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book presents a collection of Jeet Kune Do [JKD] techniques, JKD being the martial art developed by Bruce Lee to rectify what he believed were fundamental problems in martial arts, such as: elaborate techniques that have little chance of working in actual combative situations and ignorance of large swaths of the combative domain (e.g. grapplers ignoring striking, and strikers ignoring grappling.) Interestingly, Lee has come to be viewed as a herald of the mixed martial arts (MMA) movement. That said, this book exclusively focuses upon a small collection of hand-strikes and kicks.
There are a few principles that recur throughout the book that are key to JKD and are where the value of the book lies. First, there is a focus on feints to trigger a reaction, the technique being applied as the opponent is reacting to a false attack. Second, the avoidance of complex and compound attacks whenever possible in favor of simple and direct tactics (if they will work.) Third, the use of direct, linear movements to stop attacks in progress.
The downside of this book is the author’s penchant for long, over-extended kicks. Lee emphasized the importance of speed, and speed would be essential for many of these techniques to have practical value. The reason one doesn’t see such techniques (as a fighter’s “go-to” tactic) much anymore is that the kicker’s foot has to travel a couple / few meters while the receiver only has to move centimeters to be offline and in position to catch the kick and dump the kicker. Ergo, one tends to only see widespread use of such techniques in Tae Kwon Do, where the rules and culture support huge kicks.
I learned a lot from reading this book, and I particularly value its emphasis on simplicity and avoidance of convoluted methods. That said, I think the reader needs to see the book as representing one stage in an evolution of martial arts.
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