BRUCE LEE - A Legend's Biography: by Robert Ciapparelli
According to the Chinese calendar, 1940 was the Year of the Dragon. A Cantonese film actor named Lee Hoi Chun was performing in San Francisco accompanied by his pregnant wife Grace. By November, Grace had gone into labour and was taken to hospital, but her husband continued on to New York to perform there. On the 27th of November, 1940, at the Jackson Street hospital, Grace gave birth to a baby boy. He was named Lee Jun Fan, which meant "To Return Again". The child would return to his place of birth someday. The doctor attending the arrival gave the child the English name Bruce... And the legend was born !!
At the age of 6, Bruce started to appear in numerous Chinese films. His first film was called "A beginning of a boy." As he made more films it was decided that he should star in a film with his father. The film was called "My Son Ah Cheun". Bruce had a bigger role than his father. In each film he played a problem child, always stealing and fighting. He made at least 20 of these Cantonese films including "Black Boy Jungle" and "Boys on the Street".
When Bruce was 14, he got beaten up in a street fight. So, after discussing the matter with his mother he decided to learn martial arts and develop his physique and self defense abilities.
Most people think that Bruce was born muscular. It was actually totally the opposite; he was always rather frail as a child and never ate well even when he returned to the U.S in 1958. Only through constant training and proper eating did he build himself up into the super-human physical specimen that he was to become. Bruce was never to lose a single fight ever again!!
Although his father had him wielding a sword at 6, his first REAL teacher was the Wing Chun master, Sifu Yip Man. Bruce became obsessed with the whole concept of Wing Chun and soon became very good. One of the Wing Chun training methods was the wooden dummy - A training device which builds both speed and focus. Another one of his teachers was Siu Hon Sung, a kung fu expert. Bruce had been learning Cha Cha dancing and offered to trade his knowledge of it for some of his kung fu lessons. It would normally take 3 weeks to learn 30 kung fu moves, but Bruce mastered them in only 3 nights. Siu Hon Sung never did learn any Cha Cha!
In 1958 Bruce became the Hong Kong Cha Cha champion. He then made 2 more Cantonese films, "The Orphan" and "Thunderstorm". Thunderstorm is the only film where he didn't have a single fight, although there are certain confrontations.
Bruce, fighting Dan Inosanto in "Game of Death".
As time passed, Bruce would fight in the streets trying to see just how good he was. Eventually the police warned his mother Grace, that if it didn`t stop, Bruce would be Arrested. So in April 1958, his father gave him $100 US and sent him to San Francisco (his place of birth) with the hope that Bruce would change and become more responsible.
He boarded a boat and left. He made a little more money on the way there giving Cha Cha lessons to his fellow passengers.
In San Francisco Bruce lived with his fathers friend, Ruby Chow, who owned a restaurant. Bruce worked in the restaurant while living in the attic.
After he finished High School, he was still constantly training and developing his skill in the martial arts. For Bruce it wasn't enough to be just a good martial artist, he had to be the BEST.
Bruce grew tired of the restaurant and headed for Seattle to study Philosophy at the University of Washington.
In 1959, he met a fellow Asian called Taki Kimura. He was twice Bruce's age and had suffered many years of racial abuse. Bruce persuaded him to take pride in his Asian identity and taught him martial arts. Another student was Roy Hollingsworth. Eventually they suggested that he open a school to make money.
In Hong Kong, kung fu was a secret Chinese weapon and was never taught to any non-Chinese person, but Bruce welcomed ANYONE who was interested in learning what he had to teach. In his opinion the Chinese people were not the only worthy persons to learn this great art, and so he broke the racial barriers that had been forged over time!!
In 1961 while teaching some fellow university students Bruce met a young girl called Linda Emery. They soon fell in love and got married... Later, their son Brandon was born, followed a couple of years later by Shannon.
In 1963, Bruce wrote a book called "Chinese Kung Fu". It was incredibly detailed with precise drawings.
In 1964, at a Karate tournament hosted by Ed Parker, Bruce demonstrated his abilities to a large audience... At Long Beach, with Taki Kimura as his assistant, he showed off his 2 finger press ups and his legendary one inch punch.
A noted television producer who was really impressed by Bruce's intensity and focus approached him and a screen test was arranged. This lead to his playing the role of Kato in the Green Hornet series which was filmed in 1965.
While filming this series, Bruce left Taki Kimura in charge of his kung fu school. Although the Green Hornet never really took off, it lasted for 30 half hour episodes. Bruce, surprisingly, as Kato became more popular than the main star, especially in Hong Kong.
In the documentary "Bruce Lee: The Martial Arts Master" Van Williams who was the main star of the Green Hornet recalls how Bruce used to run around the set practicing his kicks. "He would jump up and tap you on the ear with his foot, but this stopped when one of the extras turned around and got his jaw dislocated". During filming Bruce liked to work in close to improve the fight scenes, but he also injured quite a few stuntmen by doing this. The producers found it pretty hard to find stuntmen in the end. Bruce had to slow his movements down because on film, he was practically a blur and you couldn't see what he was doing properly!!
After the Green Hornet, Bruce opened up another kung fu school called "Lee Jun Fan, Gung fu institute". This is where he learned to use the nunchaku`s from fellow student Danny Inosanto. Here he taught actors like James Coburn, Steve McQueen and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He had now become so popular that he could charge up to $300 US an hour for instruction.
This was also the place where he created his own technique of Jeet Kune Do, which means (The Way of the Intercepting Fist). He thought it would be better to intercept and attack, rather than blocking and then attacking.
Bruce believed intercepting an attack would be a lot faster than blocking and then attacking as the latter was comprised of two separate movements.
In 1967, Bruce starred in "A Man Called Ironside", as a martial arts instructor, Bruce always did his own stunts as well. He then filmed 12 episodes of "Longstreet", a short series where he teaches a guy his new Jeet Kune Do technique. This was a great idea that would let Bruce show the world his new technique.
He became more and more interested in making a Hollywood movie and wanted to make more money than Steve McQueen per film... This Bruce eventually did achieve!!
In 1970, Bruce realized after the advice of one of his students (James Coburn), that his immediate film career was to be in Hong Kong.
When appearing on a TV show, he broke 4 out of 5 one inch thick boards, and one dangling piece as well (Breaking a dangling one inch piece of wood is an amazing feat).
This was seen by TV producer Raymond Chow who had just opened up Golden Harvest studios. He offered Bruce a two picture deal and they flew off to Thailand to film "The Big Boss". During filming, one of the Thais thought that the fight co-ordinator was faster than Bruce, 5 minutes later... he changed his mind!!!
Another thing that surprised the cast was Bruce opening a bottle of drink with one thumb (The kind that normally needs a can opener). The movie became a smash hit, breaking all known box office records. He then flew to Shanghai and filmed "Fist of Fury". Raymond Chow told Bruce that he would play a bigger part in producing it than in his last film. This once again broke all the box office records, including the ones from "The Big Boss".
By now Bruce had become a national hero and started up his own company called "Concord Productions" and decided that he would write, direct and star in his next film. He went to Europe location hunting, finally deciding on Rome. He brought in 3 top martial artists, Bob Wall, Whong In Sik and Chuck Norris, who he would fight at the end of the film. The result was another sellout; police had to arrive to halt the traffic jams and big crowds.
All 3 of these films had Bruce arriving in a strange town, not knowing his potential enemies. In "The Big Boss", he was in Thailand working at an ice factory with his cousins. In "Fist of Fury", he had come to Shanghai to attend his teacher's funeral, finding his school abused and insulted by the local Japanese school. In "Way of the Dragon" he comes to Rome to help out at a friend's restaurant, which is being hassled by a protection racket. Also the enemies were never Chinese, always foreigners like the Thais, Japanese, Europeans and Americans. Even when there was the odd bad Chinese guy, it's clearly pointed out that they're just misguided pawns of a foreign boss.
Bruce would often be challenged by the extras, but he was never actually defeated, apart from the time when he was 14. Bruce didn't drink, so the characters he played didn't drink either. He always showed himself like he was in real life. "The Way of the Dragon" is the best example of Bruce in real life. In the only bedroom scene he ever filmed in "The Big Boss", a prostitute gets him drunk and takes him back to her place, only to watch him then fall asleep. He would also show off his ability to play all kinds of different characters. In "Fist of Fury" he dresses up as an old newspaper guy as well as a telephone repair man.
Bruce, James Coburn and Stirling Silliphant had been trying to put together a project to be called "Silent Flute". 20th Century Fox agreed to do it, but on a tiny budget and providing that it could be shot in India. They spent weeks location hunting there and finally decided it was a waste of time. In Nepal Bruce saw a Bigota (Tall Tower). This gave him the idea for "Game of Death". Bruce only filmed 1/3 of this film before being interrupted to film the eventual Hollywood smash hit "Enter the Dragon".
"Game of Death" was completed in 1978 after Bruce`s death. The story line is changed and Bruce only appears for 10 minutes at the end. This is footage from the Tower version, which he had intended. The first 95% of the film is NOT the missing scenes!!
"Enter the Dragon" was the 1st time a U.S and Hong Kong film company had come together to make a film. This was the film that brought Bruce world wide fame and made him the world`s first Asian superstar. The big fight scene at the end took 7 days to film, it was during this that an extra challenged Bruce in real life. He wanted to experience Bruce’s Jeet Kune Do. Bruce drew a circle on the floor and told him that he had 3 punches to knock him out of it. The extra couldn’t do it, so Bruce told him, "OK my turn". He pointed to his shoulder blade and said "I’m going to hit you right here, are you ready?" The guy said "What do you mean, am I ready?" Before he could say anything, his teeth started falling out of his mouth. Bruce was just SO fast. Another extra challenged him. They sparred for a bit, then the guy got kicked in the head...and that was enough.
The mirror scene took hours to set up, getting the mirrors in the perfect place, so they didn't reflect any cameras. People would argue over whose job it was to do stuff; this is where Bruce came in... The Chinese would die for him. Eventually the film was completed.
During the time of filming "Game of Death", Bruce had been working with some new character ideas. They would have wielded weapons, like swords and long knives. On the documentary "The Legend" you can see photos of at least 4 of these characters. One of them is a blind swordsman, his version of a character called Zatawichi. (A popular Japanese film at that time). Unforunately we`ll never see Bruce in these roles, but it is interesting to think about the kind of sword films Bruce could have produced.
On the 10th May 1973, the trouble for Bruce Lee had begun. While dubbing the sound effects for "Enter the Dragon", he passed out for a whole half an hour. He went to the hospital, and was prescribed the drug Manatol. It was used to reduce an apparent brain swelling.
On July 20th 1973, Bruce had arranged to meet Raymond Chow along with actress Betty Ting Pei who would star in "Game of Death". He stopped off at Betty’s house and told her that he had a headache. She gave him an Aquagesic (a painkiller that she regularly used ). Bruce laid down in her bed and went to sleep. During his sleep, the brain swelling returned and triggered an allergy to the painkiller called a cerebral edema.
Later Betty tried to wake him but couldn't. Panicking, she called Raymond Chow, who came over and called the doctor. Bruce was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth hospital, barely alive. The ambulance crew was fighting to resuscitate him, but Bruce was pronounced "dead on arrival".
As the news spread across the world, people talked about nothing else, refusing to believe it. Bruce had two funerals, one in Hong Kong and one in the U.S. Over 27,000 people attended his funeral, few could hide their grief. People were just breaking down and crying when they saw him in the open coffin. A banner was placed amongst the many tributes reading "A star sinks in a Sea of Art".
When the press found out that Bruce had died at Betty’s house, they were quick to speculate that Bruce had died while they were having sex. To this day vicious rumours are still spread across the world. At the airport, Linda broke her silence and told Hong Kong to drop it and that she blamed nobody, and that Bruce had died of natural causes.
His funeral in Seattle was attended by all his friends, family and former students. James Coburn and Steve McQueen acted as pallbearers. Should you wish to watch the funeral, you can find it on the documentary (Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend). Finally on July 31st, 1973, Bruce was laid to rest in Seattle at the Lake View Cemetary.
His and Brandon's graves are regularly visited by people from all over the world. There are ALWAYS fresh flowers on their graves each day. Some day, I too will place mine there and pay my respect to my favourite person in the whole world.
Soon after the funeral, as the wild rumours continued, the autopsy results were that Bruce had died of a cerebral adema in reaction to the painkiller that he had taken... The result was death by misadventure.
For years Betty Ting Pei had kept quiet, ignoring the insults thrown at her until in 1983 when she first broke her silence on a TV show and told the world that she would never have done anything to hurt Bruce as he was a very good friend. But the rumours are STILL going on. Some I've heard are that a Chinese mafia gang arranged his death, who supposedly had control over all of the Chinese actors. Another says that he'd been killed by Shaolin monks for teaching the secrets to the outsiders.
Another rumour is the curse. Bruce supposedly was haunted by personal demons. He had premonitions that he would die at half his father's age of 64 (which he did at 32). Also a protector of evil blew off his roof to warn away evil spirits. The same thing happened to the previous occupants of his house and disaster had befallen them. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's basketball number was 33, Bruce would have been 33 that year in November... The rumours just go on. Personally I believe in the cerebral edema; the swelling was brought on by great stress over work, Bruce practically wore himself out to a disappointingly early grave.
In 1978, the producers of "Enter the Dragon" decided to finish "Game of Death" as a tribute to him. In my opinion, they'd have been better off to show us the entire 30 minutes of the REAL version. The first 95% is not the MISSING scenes but a crappy changed storyline.
To this day many Bruce Lee Imitators have tried to be just like him, but have all just faded. Maybe a star like Jackie Chan can rise to the limits, but even Jackie Chan doesn’t claim to be the new Bruce Lee. There will never be a NEW Bruce Lee.
This is Bruce Lee...... The Legend !!!
About the author: Robert Ciapparelli is a JKD Unlimited practitioner and studies under Sifu Morne Swanepoel in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is dedicated to the pursuit of complete martial freedom, as well as to enhancing his unlimited potential within the realms of combat and beyond. He can be contacted via his website http://wulijkd.50megs.com/
© 2003 WWW.FIGHTINGMASTER.COM All rights reserved.
Jeet Kune Do is training and discipline towards the ultimate reality in combat.
Jeet Kune-Do is the only non-classical style of Chinese Kung Fu in existence today. It is simple in its execution, although not so simple to explain. Jeet means 'to stop, to stem, to intercept,' while Kune means 'fist' or 'style,' and Do means 'the way' or 'the ultimate reality.' In other words--'The Way of the Intercepting Fist.'
On JKD not being a style
I have not invented a "new style," composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from "this" method or "that" method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see "ourselves". . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of. Either you understand or you don't, and that is that.
There is no mystery about my style. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune-Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune-Do is simply the direct expression of one's feelings with the minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is.
Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it. He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive.
Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back.
On martial arts styles
To reach the masses, some sort of big organization (whether) domestic and foreign branch affiliation, is not necessary. To reach the growing number of students, some sort of pre-conformed set must be established as standards for the branch to follow. As a result all members will be conditioned according to the prescribed system. Many will probably end up as a prisoner of a systematized drill.
Styles tend to not only separate men - because they have their own doctrines and then the doctrine became the gospel truth that you cannot change. But if you do not have a style, if you just say: Well, here I am as a human being, how can I express myself totally and completely? Now, that way you won't create a style, because style is a crystallization. That way, it's a process of continuing growth.
To me totality is very important in sparring. Many styles claim this totality. They say that they can cope with all types of attacks; that their structures cover all the possible lines and angles, and are capable of retaliation from all angles and lines. If this is true, then how did all the different styles come about? If they are in totality, why do some use only the straight lines, others the round lines, some only kicks, and why do still others who want to be different just flap and flick their hands? To me a system that clings to one small aspect of combat is actually in bondage.
This statement expresses my feelings perfectly: 'In memory of a once fluid man, crammed and distorted by the classical mess.'
On adapting to each student
I believe in having a few pupils at one time as it requires a constant alert observation of each individual in order to establish a direct relationship. A good teacher can never be fixed in a routine... each moment requires a sensitive mind that is constantly changing and constantly adapting.
A teacher must never impose this student to fit his favourite pattern; a good teacher functions as a pointer, exposing his student's vulnerability (and) causing him to explore both internally and finally integrating himself with his being. Martial art should not be passed out indiscriminately.
On creating your personal way of fighting
Learn the principle, abide by the principle, and dissolve the principle. In short, enter a mold without being caged in it. Obey the principle without being bound by it. LEARN, MASTER AND ACHIEVE!!!
Knowledge in martial arts actually means self-knowledge. A martial artist has to take responsibility for himself and accept the consequences of his own doing. The understanding of JKD is through personal feeling from movement to movement in the mirror of the relationship and not through a process of isolation. To be is to be related. To isolate is death. To me, ultimately, martial arts means honestly expressing yourself. Now, it is very difficult to do. It has always been very easy for me to put on a show and be cocky, and be flooded with a cocky feeling and feel pretty cool and all that. I can make all kinds of phoney things. Blinded by it. Or I can show some really fancy movement. But to experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that is very hard to do.
On the mental attitudes of combat
Question: What are your thoughts when facing an opponent?
Bruce: There is no opponent.
Question: Why is that?
Bruce: Because the word ''l'' does not exist.
A good fight should be like a small play...but played seriously. When the opponent expands, l contract. When he contracts, l expand. And when there is an opportunity... l do not hit...it hits all by itself (shows his fist).
Any technique, however worthy and desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.
On the power of the fluid
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.
On reacting to the opponent
The highest technique is to have no technique. My technique is a result of your technique; my movement is a result of your movement.
A good JKD man does not oppose force or give way completely. He is pliable as a spring; he is the complement and not the opposition to his opponent’s strength. He has no technique; he makes his opponent's technique his technique. He has no design; he makes opportunity his design.
One should not respond to circumstance with artificial and "wooden" prearrangement. Your action should be like the immediacy of a shadow adapting to its moving object. Your task is simply to complete the other half of the oneness spontaneously.
In combat, spontaneity rules; rote performance of technique perishes.
Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being "wholly" and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.
The danger of training with the heavy bag is that it doesn't react to one’s attack and sometimes there is a tendency to thoughtlessness. One will punch the bag carelessly, and would be vulnerable in a real situation if this became a habit.
In JKD, one does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.
Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I've understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. The height of cultivation is really nothing special. It is merely simplicity; the ability to express the utmost with the minimum. It is the halfway cultivation that leads to ornamentation. Jeet Kune-Do is basically a sophisticated fighting style stripped to its essentials.
Art is the expression of the self. The more complicated and restricted the method, the less the opportunity for expression of one's original sense of freedom. Though they play an important role in the early stage, the techniques should not be too mechanical, complex or restrictive. If we cling blindly to them, we shall eventually become bound by their limitations. Remember, you are expressing the techniques and not doing the techniques. If somebody attacks you, your response is not Technique No.1, Stance No. 2, Section 4, Paragraph 5. Instead you simply move in like sound and echo, without any deliberation. It is as though when I call you, you answer me, or when I throw you something, you catch it. It's as simple as that - no fuss, no mess. In other words, when someone grabs you, punch him. To me a lot of this fancy stuff is not functional.
A martial artist who drills exclusively to a set pattern of combat is losing his freedom. He is actually becoming a slave to a choice pattern and feels that the pattern is the real thing. It leads to stagnation because the way of combat is never based on personal choice and fancies, but constantly changes from moment to moment, and the disappointed combatant will soon find out that his 'choice routine' lacks pliability. There must be a 'being' instead of a 'doing' in training. One must be free. Instead of complexity of form, there should be simplicity of expression.
To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.
In building a statue, a sculptor doesn't keep adding clay to his subject. Actually, he keeps chiselling away at the inessentials until the truth of its creation is revealed without obstructions. Thus, contrary to other styles, being wise in Jeet Kune-Do doesn't mean adding more; it means to minimize, in other words to hack away the unessential.
It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessential.
On form, no - form
Too much horsing around with unrealistic stances and classic forms and rituals is just too artificial and mechanical, and doesn't really prepare the student for actual combat. A guy could get clobbered while getting into this classical mess. Classical methods like these, which I consider a form of paralysis, only solidify and constrain what was once fluid. Their practitioners are merely blindly rehearsing routines and stunts that will lead nowhere.
I believe that the only way to teach anyone proper self-defence is to approach each individual personally. Each one of us is different and each one of us should be taught the correct form. By correct form I mean the most useful techniques the person is inclined toward. Find his ability and then develop these techniques. I don't think it is important whether a side kick is performed with the heel higher than the toes, as long as the fundamental principle is not violated. Most classical martial arts training is a mere imitative repetition - a product - and individuality is lost.
When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style.
On efficiency and flexibility
In primary freedom, one utilizes all ways and is bound by none, and likewise uses any techniques or means which serves one's end. Efficiency is anything that scores.
Efficiency in sparring and fighting is not a matter of correct classical, traditional form. Efficiency is anything that scores. Creating fancy forms and classical sets to replace sparring is like trying to wrap and tie a pound of water into a manageable shape of paper sack. For something that is static, fixed, dead, there can be a way or a definite path; but not for anything that is moving and living. In sparring there's no exact path or method, but instead a perceptive, pliable, choice-less awareness. It lives from moment to moment.
When in actual combat, you're not fighting a corpse. Your opponent is a living, moving object who is not in a fixed position, but fluid and alive. Deal with him realistically, not as though you're fighting a robot. Traditionally, classical form and efficiency are both equally important. I'm not saying form is not important - economy of form that is - but to me, efficiency is anything that scores. Don't indulge in any unnecessary, sophisticated moves. You'll get clobbered if you do, and in a street fight you'll have your shirt zipped off you.
On the tools of the trade
I refer to my hands, feet and body as the tools of the trade. The hands and feet must be sharpened and improved daily to be efficient.
It is true that the mental aspect of kung-fu is the desired end; however, to achieve this end, technical skill must come first.
The techniques, though they play an important role in the early stage, should not be too restrictive, complex or mechanical. If we cling to them, we will become bound by their limitation. Remember, you are expressing the technique, and not doing Technique number two, Stance three, Section four?
Practice all movements slow and fast, soft and hard; the effectiveness of Jeet Kune-Do depends on split-second timing and reflexive action, which can be achieved only through repetitious practice.
When performing the movements, always use your imagination. Picture your adversary attacking, and use Jeet Kune-Do techniques in response to this imagined attack. As these techniques become more innate, new meaning will begin to emerge and better techniques can be formulated.
In Jeet Kune-Do, physical conditioning is a must for all martial artists. If you are not physically fit, you have no business doing any hard sparring. To me, the best exercise for this is running. Running is so important that you should keep it up during your lifetime. What time of the day you run is not important as long as you run. In the beginning you should jog easily and then gradually increase the distance and tempo, and finally include sprints to develop your 'wind.'
Let me give you a bit of warning: just because you get very good at your training it should not go to your head that you are an expert. Remember, actual sparring is the ultimate, and the training is, only a means toward this. Besides running, one should also do exercises for the stomach - sit-ups, leg raises, etc. Too often one of those big-belly masters will tell you that his internal power has sunk to his stomach; he's not kidding, it is sunk and gone! To put it bluntly, he is nothing but fat and ugly.
A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.
Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life. Do not be concerned with escaping safely - lay your life before him.
The main characteristic JKD is the absence of the usual classical passive blocking. Blocking is the least efficient. Jeet Kune-Do is offensive; it's alive and it's free.
The combatant should be alive in sparring, throwing punches and kicks from all angles, and should not be a co-operative robot. Like water, sparring should be formless. Pour water into a cup, it becomes part of the cup. Pour it into a bottle; it becomes part of the bottle. Try to kick or punch it, it is resilient; clutch it and it will yield without hesitation. In fact, it will escape as pressure is being applied to it. How true it is that nothingness cannot be confined. The softest thing cannot be snapped.
There is nothing better than free-style sparring in the practice of any combative art. In sparring you should wear suitable protective equipment and go all out. Then you can truly learn the correct timing and distance for the delivery of the kicks, punches, etc. It is a good idea to spar with all types of individuals--tall, short, fast, clumsy. Yes, at times a clumsy fellow will mess up a better man because his awkwardness serves as a sort of broken rhythm. The best sparring partner, though, is a quick, strong man who does not know anything; a madman who goes all out, scratching, grabbing, grappling, punching, kicking, and so on.
The first rule is to keep yourself well covered at all times and never leave yourself open while sparring around the bag. By all means use your footwork--side stepping, feinting, varying your kicks and blows to the bag. Do not shove or flick at it. Explode through it and remember that the power of the kick and punch comes from the correct contact at the right spot and at the right moment with the body in perfect position; not, as many people think, from the vigor with which the kicks or blows are delivered.
The old-fashioned punching speed bag teaches you to hit straight and square; if you don't hit it straight the bag will not return directly to you. Besides learning footwork, you can hit the bag upward too. Another important function is that after the delivery of the punch, the bag will return instantaneously and this will teach you to be alert and to recover quickly. The bag should not be hit in a rhythmic motion but instead in a broken rhythm. Actually fight the bag as if it is your opponent.
To develop proper distance and penetration against a moving target, use a partner equipped either with a body protector or an air bag. He can either stand still and take the brunt of the kick, or he can back away from the attack. The former teaches proper application of the kick, especially valuable in teaching beginners. The latter training is to teach penetration. As soon as your partner thinks you will attack, he tries to back away as fast as possible. This practice is valuable to both men; one learns to penetrate and the other to back away quickly. The body protector is sometimes used for sharpening the attack. The partner will not attack but will maintain a correct distance in a ready fighting pose. As you begin to attack, he will try to counter, block, or move away. You will have almost the actual feeling of hitting your opponent in a real situation.
Key Profiles, Bios & Links Blog