One Size Fits All Jeet Kune Do Sucks
I’m sitting here watching a critique of a friend’s work in animation. It sounds like she actually got blasted a little bit, because this particular school of thought is made for working for great animation companies like Pixar (which I know she wants to work for). Her style is whimsical and exaggerated and it’s definitely her own. Here’s the troubling part, people are critiquing it because it’s different and not the photo realistic style of Pixar. To me that’s wrong.
So what’s this have to do with Jeet Kune Do? When I teach Jeet Kune Do, I notice something (and this is from teaching many many people). Most people are really good at Savate or Muay Thai, and with a stick, they are either good at Krabi Kabrong or Kali. I never know until I start training someone what the base art is going to be. But, within moments, I can tell what the base art is going to be. And you know what? I never force them to deviate from their own style, I teach them both sides, but I give them the style that is going to be most beneficial for them when they walk out the door. I give them the fastest path to success.
When I met, MMA fighter Kit Cope, he told me and a friend of mine that he had a chance to train with Floyd Mayweather’s uncle. He told me that the training was great, but that he kept trying to turn Kit Cope into Floyd Mayweather and that’s why he stopped training with him. The attributes were wrong for him and it wasn’t his style.
Here’s the kicker though, most people cannot teach you both Krabi Kabrong and Kali, or Savate and Muay Thai. Here’s the short list of some who can on the back half of that equation – Kru Mark Delgrotte, and Eric Paulsen (sound familiar, they should).
As far as Krabi Kabrong and Kali, that list is even shorter with the one of the sole practitioner of it being Guro Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny.
My point here is that if you’re going to train, then you should find someone who isn’t going to mold you into something you’re not (at least not in the beginning). They should take your attributes as they stand then teach you how to maximize that in your own game, and then start teaching you how to leave the box behind.
Why? Because no skill is useful if it can’t be used when you walk out the door in the next moment, if you get into a fight right after you walk out of Sensi’s or Sifu’s door, is that technique (in the moment that it’s right to use it) going to save you? If it’s not already in your base style, then no, you’re going to be worried about where your left toe is, and while you’re doing that, you’re going to get hammered. So when you are looking for a good instructor, look for someone who can pull you out of your box a little bit, but who can teach you a style that feels natural for you. In the beginning, the more natural the better.
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