December 2013

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LamarDavis01_150x150by Raymond Horwitz
Photo by TJ Daly

Lamar Davis — the founder of and head instructor at Hardcore Jeet Kune Do as well as the executive director/senior instructor for the Hardcore Jeet Kune Do Chinese Gung Fu Association and the co-founder of the International Wing Chun/Jeet Kune Do Alliance and the Efficient Warrior Alliance — has studied and trained in Bruce Lee’s art of jeet kune do for more than 30 years. He has been certified as a full/senior instructor by several of Bruce Lee’s original students.

In this exclusive jeet kune do video, pulled from his DVD collection Jeet Kune Do for the Advanced Practitioner, the second-generation Bruce Lee student explains and demonstrates evasive tactics in JKD moves that Bruce Lee based on boxing techniques.

Lamar Davis Demonstrates Jeet Kune Do Techniques That Bruce Lee Developed From Boxing Techniques

Jeet Kune Do Techniques Based on Boxing Techniques

“Most of these movements Bruce Lee took from boxing,” Lamar Davis explains in this exclusive video.

If the opponent fires lead-hand punches toward his head, Lamar Davis explains, you have the option of executing one of the basic boxing techniques adapted for JKD moves known as a “slip” (or “outside slip”). The move is simple: Move to the outside of the hand’s forward trajectory — or slip to the side, out of its path.

In boxing techniques, there is such a thing as an “inside slip,” but the jeet kune do expert warns against it. “I prefer to slip to the outside of the arm simply because you’re a little bit safer if you slip to the outside,” Lamar Davis explains.
If a punch is coming straight at your face, you have the option of snapping straight back. Among boxing techniques adapted for JKD moves, this selection is called a “backward snap” or a “snap back.”

Boxing Techniques Used by Jeet Kune Do Techniques Practitioners for Avoiding the Hook

“[An opponent might] fire a hook at my head,” Lamar Davis says, “in which case, I duck. When I duck, I bend my knees, I drop straight down, I bring my hands up to guard my head and I look at him the whole time.”

The “wrong way” to duck, Lamar Davis says, is to bend your torso forward and look downward during the movement. “When I do that, I can’t see anything,” he explains. “I don’t know what’s going on up [above] for a split second — not a good thing. That’s a good time to catch an elbow or a hammerfist to the back of the head or the upper spine.”

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Ralph_Bustamante_JKD_ranges_276wby Robert W. Young
Photo by Robert W. Young – June 20, 2013

Fighting Ranges of Jeet Kune Do, Part 2
Successfully using the jeet kune do ranges mentioned in Part 1 of this article doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fight and defeat your opponent using a range with which you’re uncomfortable. Instead, it means you use a specific range to create hesitation, then switch to any range you like to finish the job, Ralph Bustamante said.

“Whether you hit him or he hits you, there’s hesitation,” Ralph Bustamante continued. “And that means there’s an opening for your follow-up. A lot of people think they can hit once and that’ll be enough. For example, many beginner boxers will hit their opponent and stand back because they’re proud of it. And on the street, you see people take a lot of pride in themselves when they hit someone.”

Of course, you shouldn’t allow yourself to get hit just to create a moment of hesitation, Ralph Bustamante said. But if it does happen, don’t go into shock. “One hit is generally not going to knock you out,” he said. “So take advantage of it. It opens the door so you can change the ranges and do whatever you’re trained to do.”

High Range

“The high range is basically from the shoulders up,” Ralph Bustamante said. “Street fighters have a tendency to hit the neck, chin and nose areas. Sometimes they try to rupture an eardrum if they know what they’re doing.”

When you’re confronted with a high-range attack, immediately switch to another range. “If you’re in a boxing mode, go to the midsection,” he said. “If you’re into kicking, go to the legs or shins, or use your knee to the midsection.”

If the guy attacks high, does it matter whether you go to his middle or low range? “In a street fight, go to whatever target you can get to first,” Ralph Bustamante recommended. As Bruce Lee said, use your closest weapon to strike his closest target.

Remember that it’s best to move to a jeet kune do range your attacker isn’t comfortable with. Because a lot of street fighters and boxers have experience dealing with blows to the gut, you might want to avoid that. “If he’s comfortable with it, you should not be there,” Ralph Bustamante said. “Instead, you can hit the shin, stomp on the foot or hit the groin.”

Middle Range

The middle range includes the sternum, ribs and stomach. “Getting hit in those areas hurts, and it can take you out of commission,” Ralph Bustamante said.

“If a person tries to punch you in the middle range, he has to lower his hands,” he continued. “Then you can go low or high. I feel more comfortable going high — countering with a strike to the nose or eyes. Remember that you don’t want to just slug the guy in the head and risk breaking your own hand.”

A lot of fighters, especially those who have been influenced by muay Thai, love to kick to the legs, but they will strike higher if the opportunity presents itself, Ralph Bustamante said. Because such a fighter is probably protecting his head while blasting your middle range, you may want to aim for his low range.

“You can try to take out his supporting leg, but it may be hard to hit because you have to clear his kicking leg to get to it,” he said. “Or you could block the kick with a knee destruction or sidestep and kick low.”

Low Range

The low range includes all targets below the waist. Obviously, they are most easily attacked with the legs.

“There are times when an attacker will kick low, and you can get him in the middle range with a cross to the sternum,” Ralph Bustamante said. “It’ll catch him off-guard.”

In a common street-attack scenario, your opponent will duck his head and try to tackle you like a football player, Ralph Bustamante said. “Most people don’t realize that all they have to do is bring up the knee and attack a different range — the face and chest are usually exposed. It can be a rude awakening.”

Backing up and shoving the attacker’s head down also works well, but people usually don’t think of it, Ralph Bustamante said. “That means it will take a little more training. The easiest thing is just to bring up the knee and use your survival instinct to protect yourself.”

Be forewarned that with a very low tackle, you’re probably going to go down, Ralph Bustamante said. “If the person comes in low enough, that means he’s already prepared himself. Therefore, you have to know how to fall properly and follow up. The takedown can be severe, and it can tweak your knees. And if he comes in below the knees, you can’t knee him because your knees move up. When you go down, be prepared to use bicycle-type kicks to his high range to get out.”

And as grapplers keep reminding the martial arts world, you need be comfortable on the ground, Ralph Bustamante said. “It should be a priority with all martial artists.”

Advanced Skills

When you get skilled at changing ranges as described above, should you consider changing more than once in the same fight? For example, if the attacker punches at your face, should you punch to his middle range, then kick to his low range and possibly move back to his middle range?

“Confusion is always your ally,” Ralph Bustamante said. “But if something is working well, it’s hard to say to go to something else. It’s up to you and how you feel at the time. The reaction you get from the assailant dictates what you do next. If you’re not getting the answer you want, you have to change things again.”

That’s where women have an advantage over men, Ralph Bustamante said. “They don’t try to compete because they know they can’t outmuscle a man. They start to look for those other things that are available. That’s the way men should look at it, also.”

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by Robert W. Young
Photo by Robert W. Young – Yesterday

Ralph Bustamante demonstrates JKD techniques in Black Belt magazine.Nearly everyone has heard of the four ranges of combat: kicking, punching, trapping and grappling. They are perhaps most often associated with training in jeet kune do, in which students seek to acquire different skills from different arts to prepare themselves to fight in any situation.

Yet there’s another set of ranges — only three this time — in JKD training. They are the high, middle and low ranges. If you train to strategically use them, you can transform yourself into a smarter fighter and your opponent into a blithering fool who gets taken out of commission more quickly, more easily and more efficiently.

Fight Smart

Physically, Bruce Lee was not a big man. At about 130 pounds, he had to make sure his techniques and strategies were the most efficient and realistic ones known. JKD-concepts instructor Ralph Bustamante is in the same boat.

“I’m at 150 pounds right now, and this is probably the heaviest I’ve ever weighed,” said Ralph Bustamante, who’s certified under Burton Richardson and has trained with Dan Inosanto, Richard Bustillo and the Machados. “For me to pull something off, I have to really get the technique down, but technique alone is not going to get me where I want to go.”
That’s where the three ranges come into play. The guiding strategy goes something like this: When your opponent attacks you in one range, that means he’s focusing all his attention on that range. Therefore, the logical choice for you is to counterattack him in a different range.

“When a person is doing something in one range, he’s forgetting about the others,” said Ralph Bustamante, who teaches JKD in Santa Clarita, California. “If you’re in trouble in a fight, you should address those ranges that he’s not thinking about.”


In a confrontation, your opponent — even if he’s untrained — can easily attack you in any of the three ranges. Using the high range, he might throw a punch at your face. Using the middle range, he might throw a hook to your breadbasket or a knee to your sternum. Using the low range, he might launch a kick at your thigh or knee.

The key to using JKD’s three ranges lies in protecting the body part your opponent attacks by evading, intercepting or blocking, then counterattacking to a different range. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

“It takes a little training to be able to use the ranges,” said Ralph Bustamante, who has trained in the martial arts for more than 30 years. “First, somebody has to tell you they exist. People with no experience don’t know they can attack a different range. It’s like they have a rule book that says what they can and cannot do in a fight. But constantly being exposed to the fact that you do have an alternative and training so you understand what that alternative is all about gives you an edge.”

Why don’t more martial artists know about — and use — the ranges? “A lot of people have been exposed to them, but they seem to push them to the side,” Ralph Bustamante said. “I think it’s because they want to crash heads — they want to compete with each other at the same level. That’s not the most advantageous way to do it unless you’re doing tournament fighting. On the street, you have to be ready to mix and confuse your opponent, and you can do that by addressing the different ranges.”


The average martial artist hopes — and trains — to defeat his opponent with whichever skills he knows best, Ralph Bustamante said. That can work well if your opponent is good at one range (say he’s a boxer) while you’re good at another (a skilled muay Thai thigh kicker, for example).

But what if you and your opponent happen to be good punchers? You could end up slugging it out in a no-rules boxing match. Unfortunately, this is often the product of conventional training, in which students spar with practitioners of the same style: Boxers box with boxers, taekwondo practitioners kick other taekwondo practitioners, etc.

Presenting an attacker with something he’s not used to and, therefore, not good at defending against, makes more sense. “I’ve dealt with some kickboxers who were good at what they do,” Ralph Bustamante said. “But when they try to deal with the different ranges, they’re thrown off. It takes them by surprise because it’s not in the range they’re familiar with.”
When the three ranges are used successfully, shocked martial artists are often filled with disbelief. “A lot of times, there is denial,” Ralph Bustamante said. “They can’t quite understand it. They want to try again, and generally they lose again because they’re not even competing on the same level.”

With a typical tournament match or mixed-martial arts fight, it’s relatively easy to determine your opponent’s style before you tangle with him. But on the street, how can you know? “You don’t ever really know what the person is going to do,” Ralph Bustamante said. “If he’s a street fighter, he could pick something up from the ground, and that throws everything out the door as far as wanting to go over and do some boxing with him. However, most will rush you and take you to the ground.” Others will try to punch your head. The best thing to do, Ralph Bustamante said, is stay away from your opponent and try to get an idea of how he fights.

As soon as you determine his style — that he’s a headhunter, for example — that’s your cue to go for his middle or low range. “The first thing you should think is, ‘What is he doing?’ because whatever he’s doing, you don’t want to do,” he said.Ralph_Bustamante_JKD_ranges_276w

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Ninjutsu_tips_476wby Chuck Cory

Centuries ago, ninjutsu training was born into a world enveloped in war. That one fact makes it vastly different from styles like aikido and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which were founded during peacetime. Because of its violent childhood, ninjutsu techniques focused on fighting methods that worked on the battlefield, behind enemy lines and against multiple attackers. The art grew to encompass principles for psychological self-defense that enabled its adherents to live out their lives on their own terms, free from fear.

Those same principles are now used by military personnel around the world — even though they probably don’t know where the teachings came from. Because we all face adversity — granted, it may not be as severe as that experienced by a black-clad warrior 500 years ago or an Army Ranger today — ninja history is just as valuable in the 21st century as it ever was.
Ninjutsu Training Tip No. 1: You cannot control your environment, but you can control yourself.

At the foundation of ninjutsu lies the basic understanding that you have little to no control over your attackers. Whether they’re physical, psychological or emotional sources of stress, to waste time fretting, panicking or denying the truth of the circumstances is to invite frustration. Or failure.

The inhabitants of the ninja villages in Japan’s Iga province were attacked almost daily. Instead of wallowing in their misery, they prepped themselves to function in fearful or stressful environments. Accounts abound of training sessions in which students ran through dark forests while their partners waited for an opportunity to launch a surprise attack. By mastering their breathing, their senses and their awareness, they were able to function. What’s more, they learned how to remain relaxed under stress.
These days, sources of stress take on many forms. Daily challenges may not become real psychological or emotional threats until they start to snowball. “It’s not an expensive car repair,” you might say. “It’s just that I need the car to pick up my cousin at the airport tomorrow. It wouldn’t be a big deal, but with my reduced hours at work …”

Just like the ninja of old, we can’t control our environment, but we can control ourselves. Remember to keep breathing, smile and never lose your 360 degrees of awareness. You’ve no doubt read countless articles that explain the concept of “tunnel vision.” Frustration, fear and anger can narrow your awareness to the origin of those emotions (your attacker). As a result, you’re exposed to the possibility of multiple assailants.

This principle applies psychologically, too. Spend your time frustrated or angry over your circumstances, and you’re liable to miss out on opportunities that are dangling just outside your peripheral vision. Opportunity is present in every stressful situation. Recall how persecution and warfare helped transform the ninja not only into survivors but also into legends.

Ninjutsu Training Tip No.2: There’s something to be learned from everything.

The ninja referred to this principle as shikin harimitsu daikomyo, which roughly translates as “every moment holds the potential for enlightenment.” The ninja’s enemies enjoyed superiority in numbers, weapons and supplies. The ninja, however, realized there was one thing their enemies could not take away: their ability to learn something new from each encounter. This principle was embraced and eventually woven into the fabric of ninjutsu training.

The beauty of historical ninjutsu is that training and living were the same. The only thing that separated failure from lesson learned was the mind-set of the person involved. They strived to take something new from each encounter and apply it during their next one. They never allowed their egos to get in the way of revisiting that vital first stage of learning.

Thomas Edison outlined this principle well: “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.”

Ninjutsu Training Tip No.3: Conditioning yourself will help you succeed in stressful environments.

The third principle is one that separates martial artists from sports competitors, and it lies at the heart of ninjutsu training. Bruce Lee reminded us that the best training for the event is the event. Separating excellent training from mediocre training can be challenging because we normally can’t participate in the event we’re training for. As explained above, however, the ninja were able to combine the actual event with their training, and they worked out a system for learning from each attack.

A complete martial art trains you to remain comfortable in stressful or dangerous environments. To do this, it must push the boundaries of your comfort zone periodically to condition you to succeed under pressure. Modern practitioners of the art accomplish this in many ways: training with the lights off, defending themselves while wearing blindfolds or handcuffs, fending off multiple attackers, overcoming environmental obstacles and defusing verbal attacks.

Remember that the goal isn’t to eliminate fear. It’s to remain comfortable in the face of fear and not be paralyzed by it.

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