I've been throwing knives for a month due to the stay at home quarantine and have become quite obsessed with this developing skill.
This is my unboxing and brief review of a few knives I ordered from DXB SPORT knives in Russia.
Details are in the show notes.
When I was training with Jerry Poteet we had private sessions that were often up to three times or more per week. It got to a point that he mentioned I learned and excelled in the core principles and attributes of Jeet Kune Do. All except for sticky hands which comes with practice and something I really wasn't interested in learning so he asked me if I wanted to go beyond JKD and learn other aspects of what he knew. I was honored that he would say that and I was exploring stick fighting on my own at the time. This sparked a new passion in me to make training weapons.
I had a desktop editing studio which everyone has nowadays and just purchased a Digital Video camera with my site on making short films and instructional videos. YouTube wasn't a thing yet.
It took a lot of time and effort to persuade Jerry it was time for a new video series but once the spark happened he became very interested.
During our brainstorming sessions I asked if we would include weapons training as it pertained to each subject of the video because this is something no one has honestly done as Bruce taught it. This illuminated in him when Bruce Lee taught staff fighting techniques during the Los Angeles private backyard era classes. However he confided in me that he was very reluctant to teach this to every student.
Why did he want to withhold this wealth of knowledge?
All I can think of is that Jerry was a very private person and it took a lot of convincing at times to get him in the public eye more often. This was mostly due to his health issues at the time, which he also told me. I feel very fortunate for the advanced information he taught me and I will be writing more on this in future blogs. Far as I know I have never seen this from any of his students.
Jerry and I discussed a five part video series that would cross reference each other. It was all standard JKD core principles that he didn't present in his first series and how they interacted with each other. For now I will just say things did not go as planned and only two videos were produced. The third video on ADVANCED TRAPPING was filmed but never edited and completed. That sucked for me because it's the one I am featured in. More information for another blog entry.
The production of those two videos took it's toll on on me and one of the many reasons I quit private lessons with him but that's also another story.
While moving last August I found a Digital Video tape with the label "JKD DIARY 2002" that I had forgotten about. My DV camera was no longer working so I took it to CVS to get it transferred to DVD. The information on it brought back a lot of memories. It's an hours worth of advanced Jeet Kune Do information that I have not seen available or talked about online. I will be posting all segments on YouTube.
In this video you will hear me speaking out loud all that was taught to me in that lesson. I repeat things often and make sound effects. Nothing is edited out much to my embarrassment. This was never meant to be seen by anyone but me because it was much easier than taking notes.
My opinions on quarter staff fighting have changed over the years mostly due to training with Ray Floro Fighting Systems.
Looking back on this lesson I see that all of this was used in ENTER THE DRAGON and RETURN OF THE DRAGON and it must have been something to see something on screen that Bruce Lee developed with his students. They were his action team at the time. Today the amount of coordination and choreography is done with months of preparation, training, and filming with teams of people but Bruce did this by himself. Another aspect for him to be revered over.
I’ve been grinding away at these tree trunks for a few weeks. I only get to work on them for a few hours a day due to neighbors complaining about the noise and the clean up is horrendous. Six garbage bags filled with shavings so far! It’s an arduous task but fun and rewarding when the Mook Jong starts taking shape.
As refining begins the natural grain begins to reveal itself and I’m very happy with what I am seeing. It’s going to be difficult deciding which one to give up to sale.
I’ve been working on the camphor trunk the most because it was the thickest. You can see from the cardboard template how much has been removed.
This 9 inch diameter template is one of the most important tools in Wooden Dummy planning and construction.
First I used a draw blade to remove the bark and some wood then an angle grinder with wood working attachments. It’s like using a mini chainsaw.
I also started shaping the acacia trunk this week. Although there isn’t much to remove it has been more difficult because it is much more dense and heavier to move around.
Next up with be some sanding which might take a while since I do not have a hand held belt sander just yet and I’m going to need a booth to work in because the dust will be very fine. This will give me time to decide how I am going to mount these and begin working on the frame or to purchase a floor spring stand.
I also made a new throwing knife target using pressure treated 4 X 4 since I destroyed my palm tree round within a month. I practice one hour a day five days a week. The new target holds up very well and will last a long time. If it gets too destroyed I just need to move the end pieces around.
The palm round is a great target because it is lightweight and knives sink in easy but the clean up is a pain and airborne fibers can’t be good. I won’t be buying one of these again.
During the early 2000's I was hellbent on writing articles, outlining notes for training videos, and promoting the core of Jeet Kune Do. My training eventually evolved into other aspects of Martial Arts and I abandoned all articles and video ideas which I recently discovered going through hundreds of DVD's during this quarantine.
Below are notes I put together for an article on the Bai Jong stance of Jeet Kune Do. During this time I was HEAVILY into attributes training in JKD and details meant everything. This article was great to discover because much of what I wrote I currently use for my SKANF style knife throwing.
Sorry there aren't any photos to accompany this but I might do a video on it someday since this seems to be lacking in the current JKD scene. It's been very troubling to see some Wing Chun people that have little to no experience with real JKD pawning themselves off as members of the Bruce Lee lineage. It amazes me these seminar certificate collector clout chasers get away with this shit.
In other news: I am still carving away at my Wooden Dummies making a mess and pissing off my neighbors and I'm in the process of filming new videos for my YouTube channel. Bruce Lee's staff fighting secrets will be up soon!
The article was never finished and there are a few random notes and ideas.
Please let me know your thoughts and comments:
Compare this stance to the position a baseball player takes before he hits the ball. The hips are turned and he is poised ready to strike the ball. Depending on his situation, he may bunt (like a feint) or slam the ball using his entire body. Either way his hips are aligned in such a way that whatever his move is going to be will remain a secret until he swings. This can be compared to being non telegraphic before using one of your tools.
His stance allows him to make quick adjustments in hitting the ball or for sprinting to first base after the hit (notice how some hit left handed, stronger side facing the pitcher, allowing proper footwork to run to first base). They have conditioned themselves so they are not thinking about all the factors involved with hitting the ball. The pitcher acts as the opponent in this brief encounter. The batter wants to hit and the pitcher must manipulate the ball so he doesn’t make contact.
Just as Carl Weathers’ character Chubs said to Adam Sandler in the movie HAPPY GILMORE “it’s all in the hips…”
3 inches below your navel is your center of gravity. Think of the alignment of your head and this point as your gyroscope. If they are not in sync the gyroscope loses balance and falls over.
Once you are aware and can control these sweet spots it will be like getting rid of a dull rusty saw blade for a high powered radial arm saw.
The first step is the correct stance. On balls of feet to maintain control of the rotations and force, bent legs to prevent jarring of joints.
At first this stance feels unnatural. However over time with PLENTY of practice, the movements will become second nature. Think back on how frustrated you were when you were learning to ride a bicycle. For most of you, you never quit until you were able to do it. Once you learned, you just know how to do it. Some will just ride the bike while others will learn everything there is to know. Either one is correct. However if you know the parts and mechanics of your bike, you can make fine adjustments to suit your needs.
Treat this article as not getting from A to B but the space between A and B. As musicians will tell you sometimes it’s the space between the notes.
Developing the use of my waist first came from training in TANG SOO DO. Typical karate kicks are chambered then thrust out to achieve a snapping sound in the uniform. Like throwing with an iron bar with great control. The problems are a lack of quick recovery or follow up and eventual damage to knee joints. JKD uses the natural bend, relaxation, then whipping everything into place.
Pick up a garden hose with a metal nozzle at the end and whip it. Notice the harder you whip it the faster and more powerful the energy travels and raises the nozzle. Pick up a staff the same length of the hose and try achieving the same amount of power.
In using a whip it’s not just thrown out, timing of snapping the wrist as you break the sound barrier, and tremendous damage that can be caused.
The waist contains your center of gravity. Awareness of this allows gymnasts to perform on the high beams, ice skaters to spin, and dancers to glide through the air.
If you are not aware of your center, it’s like being hollow. You can only be as strong as your outer shell.
Once you become able to control your center of gravity, you will be able to generate enormous power regardless of what art you practice.
Feet and legs are the spark plugs to the waist engine.
To understand how power is generated one must first know what is meant by a “kung fu punch is like an iron ball attached to an iron chain…”
It cannot be stiff like a karate punch.
Supple yet with strength, the snap of the arm causes the tip to break the sound barrier thus the loud snap such are the tools of JKD and the impetus is the waist.
Pliable and strong like bamboo. You can’t chop it without fraying the reed. Go at angle and slice away.
A lot of power can be generated with rear kicks but they are extremely telegraphic. Sometimes twisting of the knees occurs, the body is out of alignment, or too much pressure is placed in the wrong direction.
If you notice in some NHB matches, more and more fighters are beginning to understand the principle of closet weapon to closest target. Harness the power of the hips for truly powerful tools.
Winding up and missing, offering your back to your opponent.
May think twisting of the hips can be telegraphic not necessarily true. All tools are projected from here it is up to the person delivering the tool to steer the energy generated to the tool. Hand before foot principle applies well here.
Can be used for PIA and ABD (show example)
Bai jong stance prevents telegraphic or set up moves since everything is thrown from the same position. It is harder to detect which tool will be used.
Practice throwing punches and kicks with waist awareness and you will develop a “sixth sense” of how to move your body for the most effective power, economy, speed, timing, distance, deceptiveness. These elements combined with broken rhythm and sensitivity drills are the goal of JKD.
Stance is designed to protect the centerline.
For the last two weeks my Stay At Home hobby has been a Russian instinctive style of knife throwing developed by Yuri Fedin. I've had one private training session in knife throwing a few years ago and never had the chance to practice since but this is a whole new game that I want to document.
The second half of the video I'm practicing the "wave technique" which is similar to energizing a bull whip. I'll do a comparison soon. Look up YURI FEDIN and notice how he generates a whipping motion like he is breakdancing. His throwing skills are still unmatched from what I have researched.
I've also made some progress on my Wooden Dummy trunks and will get that updated soon!
This jagoff was another instructor I had in college. It would be bold of me to call him a professor because I don’t believe he had the educational qualifications and it showed.
During my last semester of college I was anxious to finish my degree and get on with my career. This was directly after my internship with OPTIC NERVE STUDIOS on the George A Romero film THE DARK HALF. I worked up until a day before classes started and foregone my Winter break because I loved it and I was making GREAT money! However my class workload was going to be crazy because I needed 18 credits to graduate.
As I mentioned previously I was very close with the College of Arts Dean’s office. They knew me well, my work ethic, my accomplishments with the film industry internship that I got on my own, as well as my martial arts experience and performances. They hired someone from the SOCIETY OF AMERICAN FIGHT DIRECTORS to teach a course in stage combat and wanted my honest opinion of the instructor because they were thinking of repeating the course in the future.
At first I was very excited to take the course because this was right up my alley and I was not aware of this organization. I was aware of the British Society of Fight Directors because Tom Savini and Taso Stavrakis were members. We talked and practiced stage combat and fencing quite a bit. I even auditioned with Taso on Broadway for the George Lucas Live Adventure Stage Show under B.H. Barry (that will be another blog).
As with the other instructor I “hate” I won’t mention this guy’s name because he is still active in that organization and this happened in 1991.
First impressions are always important and you would think a first time instructor at a new college would want to leave a lasting impression especially in the Theater Departments’s beautiful newly renovated Waller Hall that we were all very proud of. He was arrogant and dressed like someone in Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I immediately had a weird feeling about this guy however we had an interest in the fighting arts so I wanted to get to know more about him which proved fruitless because he was only interested in hooking up with the females in the theater department.
The class was simple hand to hand combat, quarter staff, and fencing work. The final test was going before one of the Fight Society’s directors in order to get “certified” in the organization.
Trust is the first thing you learn when getting into an acting school. Knowing instinctively that your fellow actors have your back and concern for your safety as well as their own. I was always good at the choreography but often had trouble remembering lines back then due to concentrating so hard on the fight performance. This is where I learned the importance of trust on the stage. We all looked out for one another. There was something “off” about this instructor that I couldn’t trust and he NEVER instilled that in any of us.
At first it was a group class where we paired up randomly to practice. Everyone knew of my background and would ask me questions when he wasn’t available. He didn’t like that. We were then paired with permanent partners according to his plans. I was paired with someone that was having a lot of difficulty and became frustrated very easy. There were times she left or walked out of class crying. Things like this happen and it happened a few times with students I had when I was teaching at a makeup school. A class environment can be overwhelming when it’s something you’re not familiar with let alone when you're holding a real sword for the first time. I got this way whenever I picked up a basketball. It’s the instructor’s responsibility to step up, not a classmate, which I did EVERY time because she didn't trust talking to him.
This class was nothing new to me. I wasn’t learning anything and I wasn’t getting any better because I had to teach instead of practice.
During the course many rumors started flying around about him hitting on classmates, going to bars with them in town regularly, as well as his arrogance towards students and other professors wanting to make it in the theater industry. Openly in class he would mock my love of movies and make fun of fight choreography scenes that were decades old. He often bragged about living in New York and doing it “for real” and went as far to disparage one of my favorite instructors (Ed Simpson) for teaching stage combat in his Movement classes. Mr. Simpson is one of those teachers where EVERY class stuck with me because I enjoyed them so much. I anticipated his classes and never missed one. I LEARNED things I never knew (I still cant juggle properly even though I still try occasionally). He INSPIRED me to take more theater classes after having him for his INTRODUCTION TO THEATER. I was lucky enough to take his ACTING and STAGE MOVEMENT classes which have helped me incredibly throughout my career.
People grew to dislike this Ren Faire reject very quickly and they began complaining to department heads. I was asked if these complaints had merit. “Oh indeed they did”, I responded.
A week before the testing he spoke with everyone privately regarding their performance during the class. He thanked me for helping with the student and said, “look we both know you will pass this.” He spoke more of my training partner and problems with her. Calling her a “delicate flower” at one point. I will never forget that because she was outside the window hiding behind bushes listening which I wasn’t aware of. She told me this right after because she was going to complain about him with other students. The delicate flower remark made her laugh. So I know she heard everything and wasn’t lying.
The evening of testing came as some hot shot from the organization was flown in at the school’s expense to judge the students. A few students were sent to pick him up and some of my classmates were irate about this because it shouldn’t be a student’s responsibility.
We tested with our class training partner and then paired with someone from another class. Everyone else was randomly picked, except for me, the instructor pulled the worst student from other the class and paired me with her. He whispered, “help her out” which I tried my best.
The next day the results were posted on the theater department’s bulletin board. I haven’t seen it yet but students were REALLY pissed (the drama showed through big time), especially all the females because not one of their names were there.
I also couldn’t find my name.
The instructor was in his office and he was noticeably irate over something but this didn’t stop me. I asked, “why is my name not on that list?” He immediately got hot headed and began yelling, “I know you think you’re some martial artist but it’s people like you that prevent me from getting jobs.” I was shocked to hear this. “I did your job for you and helped you out. You even told me I would pass.” I responded.
“I have no authority of who he passed and that’s that.” He fired back.
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this.” I said as he put his face in his palm sulking and looking at his desk. I just walked away and went directly to the dean’s office to tell the assistant dean my story. She mentioned I’m not the only one to say this, that he will not be invited back, it demonstrates his attitude and poor teaching ability all the while they would be writing the Society of their bad experience with him. I didn’t have to tell her anything more.
After this incident I avoided him and he became the bane of the theater department. It was then that he was finally open with the relationship he was having with one of the students. He tried buttering up to me during my makeup class final but I wasn’t having it. He did give me an “A” in the class though.
That was nearly 30 years ago. It feels annoying to write about those two because I haven’t thought of them for years but their insolence drove me further to be successful with my career choices. Within a few months of graduating I was getting stunt work in Pittsburgh, earned my Screen Actor’s Guild card, trained with Joe Odom who was a World class fencer and Martial Artist, was studying Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, and became a part of the local stunt crew.
It goes to show assholes can have a positive influence on your life.
Of course I did a search on him only to see he is still involved with that society and became the chairman at one point. Unfortunately he teaches in San Diego and I couldn’t find anything beyond that. So much for being a New York hot shot fight choreographer. Whatever. I don’t care because I don’t trust some one that still looks like an Irish vagabond with goofy ass hair.
The most rewarding thing out of this class was developing my teaching abilities while seeing my partner develop confidence. She was very thankful but that’s not what I was paying for.
Here is the my final fight of this event.
Details are in the show notes.
I've been itching to make another Wooden Dummy for years and the opportunity finally has come. This time I will be making a few. One for me to keep and two others to sale.
My first Mook Jong was based on plans that Jerry Poteet made for Bruce Lee. The Dummy Jerry made ended up at Daniel Lee's house. Unfortunately when I saw this at Dan's house when I trained with him it wasn't really taken care of.
I'm not sure what base I plan on using at this time but I do want to make it more portable because I move residences quite a bit. My original wooden dummy mounted to the wall so this will be freestanding of some kind.
My main focus is for it to have a springing energy that is not passive. The Wing Chun dummy is incredible for developing explosive energy in addition to honing techniques. I'll be filming demos of this for sure.
The first step was creating the traditional arms which my Dad created with laminated hickory.
These will take a beating for sure. Jerry Poteet often described that baseball bats shaved down are some of the best wood for dummy arms. He showed me a set he made with steel cable inserted that offered a great spring and resistance.
My first dummy was made out of laminating and screwing boards together because I want to go the traditional route I needed to find a tree trunk. It took a few days of emailing and phone calls so I was lucky enough to get in touch with a tree removal company in Ontario, CA and they were extremely helpful.
The type of wood available depends on what they have recently cut. I was introduced to Acacia which is similar to Walnut and will make a beautiful dummy. Camphor was available which is also going to be very nice and the one I plan on selling. Then there is Redwood which is a soft wood but has amazing cracks in it that I plan on doing some experimentation on. If it goes well this will also be for sale.
I found the straightest pieces I could but there will be lots of fun sanding nonetheless.
If you are interested in the Camphor piece let me know and I can make it according to your specifications. I'm willing to sale the trunk only if you have your own stand, arms, and legs.
I'll be posting progress shots and document as much as I can. If you have any questions please comment below or send an email on my contact page.
My second win of the day.
Details are in the show notes.
One more fight to post then on to some rare Jeet Kune Do footage from 18 years ago!
Read the show notes for details!
More RARE Martial Arts information coming soon!