Bruce Lee, Jun Fan Gung Fu/Wing Chun

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upstanding_dragon

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Hello all,

What do you think of Bruce's creation of Jun Fan Gung Fu? He never studied the full Wing Chun system after all, maybe he should have studied it in full before improving it.

I'm always put off going to a JKD school because of th Jun Fan portion, because I would personally prefer to study classical wing chun, so I could see for myself.

I've been to a couple of Ron Balicki seminars, and I really enjoyed them, quite liked the JKD parts, but I feel like I'd be studying a watered down version of modified wing chun.

Bruce Lee didn't like forms, and he taught Chi Sau,
but I believe that Bruce's chi sau was so good, because of his hours and hours of form practice in the past.
I don't think Bruce understood the true meaning and value of forms and kata.

I'm an open minded martial artist, and I hope I don't appear ignorant, I love cross training, and I love the JKD concept, and the flowing of ranges.
I just feel uncomfortable with the jun fan gung fu.

What are your views?

Thank you, best wishes!

Stefan

http://www.networkofmartialarts.co.uk
 

achilles

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I can see that if what you want is wing chun then you should probably do wing chun. I think this is analogous to criticizing American Football for not being rugby. They are simply different. Jun Fan and Wing Chun are similar in some respects, but if they are not meant to be the same. I constantly see the argument that if Bruce Lee had learned the whole wing chun program that we never would have left. While I can't refute this, indeed nobody can, it doesn't seem likely. Most of what Bruce Lee did with Jun Fan and later with JKD was add long and middle range skills along with some grappling for close quarters. In other words, the wing chun was modified, added to and in some instances stripped away. As far as whether or not siu lim tao is essential to JKD, or chi sao for that matter, I would say no. Being able to properly do tan sao, fook sao and boang sao with the correct pressure doesn't necessarily entail learning the particular sequence of the siu lim tao form. In other words, I don't need to learn the alphabet in that particular sequence in order to spell or to learn proper syntax.

You may want to understand why forms were de-emphasized in JKD. In form/kata training, you are rehearsing a pattern from memory rather than interacting with another body. JKD is all about the dynamic relationship between bodies; thus, adaptability rather than memorization is key. I would also like to point out that Jun Fan and JKD are not devoid of forms. At various times Siu Lim Tao, the mook jang sets, kicking forms as well as the ng moon amoung others were taught as well as a variety of more or less standadized drills. The techniques are presented to the student and passed down differently than in a more archain art, but are so none the less.
 
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upstanding_dragon

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Hi there, thanks for the reply!

I think my problem with it, is in the forms.

Anyone can learn the wing chun/jun fan hand techniques, tan sau, bong sau, fook sau etc. you could teach someone them in a day, and then drill them, but if you practise, lets say sil lum tao for about a year (which is standard in wing chun schools) then their technique will be fantastic, because the whole idea of sil lim tao "small idea" is about concentrating on the subtle movements, and like a meditation or movement.

Bruce himself at times practised sil lum tao and other forms, 100+ times per day.

The order in the form is irrelevant, but what you have in the form is your 'revision text' the full syllabus so to speak.

Same with Karate, when people say its unrealistic, because its a pre-arranged fighting, against simulated attacker/s. I disagree, the kata is the textbook, it holds all the techniques, and more (bunkai).

I agree though, that the techniques should be drilled with an interactive body, of course, but also with form practise.

I don't want my post to sound like a wing chun vs JKD, wing chun has a great deal of problems, that Bruce addressed, like the lack of effectiveness at other ranges.

But I do feel strongly that what made Bruce so good at his trapping, chi sau, and gung fu, was his history of traditional wing chun, and I believe this is something that is lost in jun fan gung fu.

Maybe one should learn wing chun, to see the roots, as well, as train the other ranges coverd in jun fan gung fu, such as the kick boxing, and grappling etc.

Thanks,

Stefan

http://www.networkofmartialarts.co.uk
 

achilles

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Your post inspired me to try Siu Lim Tao yesterday :) . It's enjoyable, but I still stand by my original post. I don't see any reason why you can't perfect, say, tan sao simply by doing tan sao a whole lot with correct attention to detail. I think that a technique can be practiced well and learned well outside of the context of the series of a form. In basketball, sometimes people get into a ritual before making their free-throw (e.g. two dribbles before a shot). I think that you could cut out the dribbles and simply shoot to improve your free throw. The extra dribbles may not hurt, unless you are so stuck in that groove that your body can't perform the proper action outside of the context of the ritual, but everything else besides the shot is inessential. While I am sure that proficiency in Wing Chun might help one's JKD, I don't think it is necessary.
 

eyebeams

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upstanding_dragon said:
Hello all,

What do you think of Bruce's creation of Jun Fan Gung Fu? He never studied the full Wing Chun system after all, maybe he should have studied it in full before improving it.
Lee did in fact know the three unarmed forms and the wooden dummy form. We know this because Wong Jack Man and Dan Inosanto confirm that he knew Bil Jee and film and photographic evidence shows he was conversant in the use of the wooden dummy. There's no indication he ever studied the weapons, though.

This doesn't mean anything regarding Jun Fan's merits, though.
 

achilles

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It was my understanding that Bruce Lee only learned the first eight wooden dummy forms. I have no idea if he learned chum kiu and bil gee (the wing chun forms that is-JKD has different meanings for those terms). I think that it is fair to say that Bruce Lee's formal wing chun training was incomplete. What he knew he seemed to be very good at, in fact that was the foundation of his future work, but I think their were areas that he didn't know. While some assert that this was the impetus to his creation of JKD, I think that is to simplistic. Much of what Lee added is NOT found in wing chun (the Boxing, Fencing, Wrestling and Kickboxing elements for example). I think that even with more wing chun, the needs that JKD addressed would still be there.
 

Dancing Dragon

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To me, foundation in forms/kata is extremely important. The forms such as Siu Lim Tao are the building blocks of the art itself. What some people fail to understand about Bruce Lee is that he DID have a foundation in Wing Chun forms and he didn't just poof Jun Fan Gung Fu or JKD out of thin air. The only way to get better at a technique is to practice it and prearranged forms provide that practice. But it is up to the practicioner to dissect the forms and find where each movement and technique is useful; which is what Bruce did.

I practice Siu Lim Tao daily and during practice I imagine my opponent and where each Fook Sao and Tan Sao would come in handy during a fight. There isn't anything wrong with the forms it's simply application of form that is important. Any art can be good if you make it good.

When it comes to Wing Chun at long range, who cares? You wait for your opponent to enter your range then trap his hands and straight punch the devil out of him. You must use whatever weapons are available to you. If Wing Chun is all that's available then use it intelligently. It's that simple, even though the art doesn't train in different ranges, common sense tells you these things.
 

achilles

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By insisting on waiting for the opponent to close so you can trap his hands and straight punch the devil out of him regardless of what is going on in the fight, you are letting the opponent call the shots and set the rhythm of the fight. That isn't JKD. I may let my opponent's technique decide my technique, but I DON'T wait form him to throw the first punch and allow him set the tone.
 

TaiChiTJ

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This seems to be a nice civil discussion about Wing Chun/ Jun Fan/ JKD, i am mostly a tai chi guy, however over the years i have trained a bit in Wing Chun.

I just wanted to say if anyone has seen Sifu Bennie Meng's tapes or cd's that teach the Yip Man Wing Chun system, a very eye-opening series of still photographs appear towards the beginning of the tape. The tape starts out with showing the the three teachers Sifu Meng studied with since 1982, and then there is a point where these still photographs are shown, one after the other.

These still photographs show Sifu Meng doing a half a dozen or so fighting applications. What is interesting is that they are almost all of a stand-up grappling nature where the opponents attacking arm has become somehow trapped, or in an arm-bar. Please understand I am not talking about the Wing Chun trapping moves we have all seen in Inside Kung-Fu over the years. These are advanced grappling applications.

I think what is going on here, is that he is giving us a hint at what is hidden in Siu Nim Tau and the other two forms.

:ultracool
 

Dancing Dragon

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achilles said:
By insisting on waiting for the opponent to close so you can trap his hands and straight punch the devil out of him regardless of what is going on in the fight, you are letting the opponent call the shots and set the rhythm of the fight. That isn't JKD. I may let my opponent's technique decide my technique, but I DON'T wait form him to throw the first punch and allow him set the tone.
I agree completely with you Achilles, we both know more than Wing Chun so we aren't limited to those ranges and techniques, I was just putting it in perspective for a guy that knew only Wing Chun.
 

James Kovacich

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Bruce Lee's Jun Fan Gung Fu / Jeet Kune Do did one thing excessively that Wing Chun has done less of. JFGF/JKD has "spawned and endless supply" of ever evolving new fighting systems. And to get an idea of just "how many" we are talking about. Multiply the "endless supply" by "infiniti."

Heres an example of a "stand alone system" downline ffrom Bruce and Jimmy Lee that I am still a student of.
http://www.taoofgungfu.com/
 

Jelik

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Thanks - this was a very interesting thread!

Every single art has it's issues, as well as it's benefits. I think that even though Bruce's Wing Chun training wasn't complete, he knew very well the overall concept. Wing Chun's main benefit (to me) is chi sao, and the forms are absolutely mandatory in order to have effective chi sao. Since Bruce had done that, he had a great foundation - however I believe that he did not pass on the importance of forward energy etc that the forms demonstrate, which reduces JKD's chi sao ability somewhat.

I've done both modified and traditional wing chun, and certainly know which one I prefer. However, when sparring, I also bring out muay thai-like defenses / kicks - as I personally find them effective...

Opps, gone off subject..
 

arnisador

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achilles said:
It was my understanding that Bruce Lee only learned the first eight wooden dummy forms. I have no idea if he learned chum kiu and bil gee

I thought he learned only the first two empty hand forms, and the only wooden dummy form. How many wooden dummy forms are there?
 

achilles

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The wing chun dummy form is usually broken up into ten or so parts. I was told that Bruce Lee knew the first eight (I think) parts and had knowledge to some degree of the remaining two. I have read that Bruce had knowledge of chum kiu and bil gee, maybe not knowing them formally due to the training protocol of his sifu, but I don't know to what extent. It also seems that he moved away from those areas of martial art training and favored a simpler, more spontaneous approach. In JKD, we usually break martial arts down into tools and tactics and then reconstruct them into something useful to us rather than always taking them as they are packaged.
 

Dancing Dragon

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achilles said:
The wing chun dummy form is usually broken up into ten or so parts. I was told that Bruce Lee knew the first eight (I think) parts and had knowledge to some degree of the remaining two. I have read that Bruce had knowledge of chum kiu and bil gee, maybe not knowing them formally due to the training protocol of his sifu, but I don't know to what extent. It also seems that he moved away from those areas of martial art training and favored a simpler, more spontaneous approach. In JKD, we usually break martial arts down into tools and tactics and then reconstruct them into something useful to us rather than always taking them as they are packaged.
Well this proves that complete mastery of a style of martial arts isn't necessary before one can expand and broaden their horizon with other arts. Seeing as Bruce Lee never completely learned Wing Chun, yet he grapsed the ideas and concepts enough to make what he knew effective makes me question exactly how far one should train in the martial arts before expanding. I mean, is it better to know a portion of a lot of styles than it is to know everything about just one? Over and out.
 

achilles

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Complete mastery over a system is more about the classroom than the fighting arena. Really, it is performance that we should base our judgements on rather than hype. A lot of innovators may aren't the top of the political hierarchy. However, most people whose enthusiasm overreaches their skill and knowledge are hardly innovators. Just because Bruce Lee changed the face of martial arts without a lot of formal knowledge doesn't mean that every idiot is the next Bruce Lee. Years of dedication, hard work and training with many talented martial artists makes a big difference.
 

Dancing Dragon

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achilles said:
Complete mastery over a system is more about the classroom than the fighting arena. Really, it is performance that we should base our judgements on rather than hype. A lot of innovators may aren't the top of the political hierarchy. However, most people whose enthusiasm overreaches their skill and knowledge are hardly innovators. Just because Bruce Lee changed the face of martial arts without a lot of formal knowledge doesn't mean that every idiot is the next Bruce Lee. Years of dedication, hard work and training with many talented martial artists makes a big difference.
Ah, indeed, not everyone can be Bruce Lee, and heaven knows that "innovators" come a dime a dozen. But my question is, should one expand into other martial arts before mastery of a particular style? And if so, what sort of effect do you think it would have on the artist themselves?
 

arnisador

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It could go either way...it might mean an incomplete background, or it might mean freedom from a constricting traditional view. Who is to say?
 
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