Message from Paul Vunak



I thought it may be of intrest to many who post here. I asked Paul about copying to this forum as I believe that many who read and post here are very evolved martial artists. So with his permmission I am forwarding this message. First Paul is my friend and Instructor. I am deeply committed to Paul and PFS. Within PFS there has been many egos fighting for recognition. Not unlike many of the OJKD vs JKDC people. Many of these same people miss what JKD is all about. Whos is better and who could do what is not important. I hope you find this useful. They are powerful words from a GREAT martial artist. Because of Length I will do this in 3 parts.
Jim Miller
IFA & PFS of Minnesota

Welcome to what Paul calls his State of the Union interview

PFS: Some have said that this interview is long overdue. Many of us are wondering why we havent seen you on the forums very much.
To be perfectly honest with you, I just dont have time!
PFS: Paul, please tell us your opinion on the title of this interview what is the state of the union as far as martial arts right now?
Well, Ill put it to you like thistwenty years ago, there were but a few JKD people lets say one or two percent who were competing for 98 percent of the pie. Now there are gobs of JKD people the 98 percent, competing for just two percent of the pie.

PFS: If this is the case, how does this affect the way people advertise themselves?
You see, back in my day, it was relatively easy; if one was very passionate about what they did, they could be a pioneer. For example, I feel very fortunate to have introduced Savate to the United States; actually, I should say that it was my partner Daniel Duby that introduced Savate to the U.S. - I was his walking heavy bag! Back in the late seventies, early eighties, Dan (the true pioneer) would travel all over the states trying to educate people. The first process of this edification was the introduction of weapons to the United States. It is my honor to have been on the receiving end; watching peoples faces light up when we would show sumbrada, numerada, knife fighting, sparring, etc. was very exciting. As Dan would travel from school to school, the next thing he would introduce was Western boxing hands to the curriculum of Karate America. It was a wonderful feeling back then, to be showing people how boxing is so incredibly effective. Watching karate people from all walks of life turning their art functional for perhaps the very first time. We made a lot of friends, and I am very honored to have been a part of that.
Now we come to the eighties, and the next step in Dans quest was to introduce Thai boxing to all. We received a lot of grief from students who were extremely reticent about kicking below the waist. Again, a very humbling and rewarding experience to watch people become more and more functional as they added these absolutely necessary elements into their personal matrix.
The next major revelation that most of America had, as a result of Dans teachings, was how lethal trapping/clinch range could be. It was absolute comedy to watch peoples jaws drop to the ground as Dan would go through a litany of eye jabs, arm wrenches, elbows, knees, head butts, etc. The only unfortunate part of that was that I was on the receiving end! Introducing Kino Mutai to the world has been interesting, to say the least. I think out of everything, Kino Mutai was the most difficult to establish. Its simply too brutal for most people to stomach.
I also feel very privileged to have been able to help introduce Jiu-jitsu to the United States. Although I received a lot of flak at first from many schools that laughed at the idea of lying on the ground and putting a man between your legs, when I look now and see everyone doing it, I have to admit I feel all warm and fuzzy!
This is why I say that pioneering back then was doable; I have to tell you I feel sorry for the kids nowadays who want to make a name for themselves and be different in some way. Im not trying to say that everything there is to do has been done but it is getting extremely difficult to be different and stand out. And some people just try so hard!

PFS: Could you give us an example of what youre talking about?
Well, the simple fact is that before Bruce died, some of his last words were Jeet Kune Do is only a name; please dont fuss over it. Since then, I count roughly 15 factions of JKD; and in the last 24 years that Ive been with Dan, I know of over 30 people that claim to have created a new and improved Jeet Kune Do. This, My JKD is better than your JKD shows a total lack of understanding of Bruces paradigm. Even within my own organization, I had a student that was a full instructor; in a self-advertising post he was trying to get people to view his new drills, using the phraseology non-PFS material. Again, reminding everyone that the purpose of my creating Progressive Fighting Systems was to have thousands of different minds, inventing new and different things. This begs the question: How can one be in PFS, be a full instructor under me, make up a new drill, and call it non-PFS? This again just shows how desperate people are to try to be different.

PFS: Were going to name some names, and would like your frank opinion of these people.
Jerry Peterson, Jerry Beasley, Matt Thornton, Ron Prather, Lamar Davis, Erik Paulson, Chris Clugston, Burton Richardson.
First of all, I cannot answer that question because I object to the way its stated. I do not believe it is appropriate or respectful to clump Burt Richardson, Matt Thornton, and Erik Paulson in with the rest of those guys. Burt and I go back a long way, I believe him to be my friend, hes always shown nothing but respect and admiration for Dan, and is a very good martial artist with lots to offer. I feel the same way about Matt Thornton. Matt is what I would call a distant cousin of ours much like the Machados and the Gracies are cousins. Matt learned his JKD from Tom Cruse, who you all know is a student of mine. I respect Matt very much hes an excellent fighter, an excellent teacher, and I always recommend his tapes to everyone. And Erik Paulson Hell, what can I say about Erik? Hes probably one of the coolest guys Ive ever met in my life.

PFS: Does this mean that you agree with everything that Matt, Erik, and Burt have to say?
Of course not! I dont believe everyone in any field can agree on everything. As Ive said before, two doctors dont always agree on the way each patient should be treated; two lawyers dont always agree on how every detail of a case should be argued; etc. This does not affect respect or friendship.

PFS: What do you think about the infamous question that has been flying around for the last few years: Does trapping work?
First of all, the main problem with such an ambiguous, open-ended question as this is simply a question of semantics, and peoples respective different levels in the martial arts. Im going to do a drill with you guys: Shut your eyes, say the word trapping three times in a row, and then say the first technique that comes to mind. Please do not read on, because I do not want to give the answer yet. Now, heres the answer: If your technique was pak-sao, you have a very limited, antiquated understanding of trapping. Trapping is, first and foremost, a range, not a technique.
I can only explain that which was taught to me by Paul. Guru Dan Inosanto was taught this art long ago and had described it as an old art form. In it's essence it was somewhat incomplete. He taught it to Paul and one other and Paul ran with it. Adding elements from BJJ as taught by Rickson Gracie. Rickson would teach that he never punched on the ground unless he could do so uninteruptedly. This became the concept of the bite and pinch and gouging. With roughly 148 effective bite points on the body, (points that can allow for severe damage with little receptive damage to you) there became a need to do so while controlling your opponent to get the desired result.
Hope this helps
"before you can call it an art,you must first understand the roots of combat".
I dont get caught in the hype,JKD is what works for you as an individual wether skinny, fat,strong or fast as hell.. its the art of adapting anything that WORKS for YOU..!! JKD is commonsense fighting..
when people ask me what JKD is... thats exactly what i tell them.. JKD is commonsense fighting...

screw the hype..I just wanna win..battles i get in dont have a referee
I have all the respect in the world to paul ...YOU tell Paul HE IS THE MAN.. and Thanks for all what he has contributed to modern day martial arts, and savin my *** a thousand times with knowledge that came from him.
With all due respect this may win the prize for the oldest resurrected post yet! 8 years! (well it's 2009 now lol)
This kino mutai,

it's all based around biting and eye gouging in the clinch? sounds like a filipino art. wonder how worth while that would be to learn.
There's a lot of argument over whether it's originally Filipino, or made up in the States.
HAHA and now it's 2011! Paul Vunak is great! Did anyone see the article in Black Belt Magazine? (July 2011 and August 2011 issues)? The article is called "How Jeet Kune Do Became the Ultimate Fighting Art" It's a great read

With all due respect this may win the prize for the oldest resurrected post yet! 8 years! (well it's 2009 now lol)
Paul Vunak is amazing,and he has lots and lots of stuff to offer that's of genuine worth.He's a truly incredible martial artist,and is very passionate and knowledgeable and "real". I didn't know that Matt Thornton learned his JKD from Cruse,though...and I'm closer to Burton Richardson's expression of JKDU with a dash of Kino Mutai than any other "JKD" expression that I'm aware of.
Savate was taught to US troops during and prior to WWII, if not earlier. Not sure how it would then be 'introduced' to the US in the 1970's. Just sayin'.