When I trained with Sifu Jerry, he and I often discussed the philosophical questions of how Jeet Kune Do applies to the martial artist, as a combatant, and as a person. While I was training with Sifu Jerry, I was also running security teams in Hollywood. The question of when to use my skills and to what degree was very much at the forefront of my thoughts.
One morning I got a question from a student in the United States. Steven G and I have had several conversations, where he has asked some thought-provoking questions. This particular morning was no exception.
Writing back and forth, here’s how it went.
Steven G: I know there’s a different mentality one must have between fighting and training. To what degree would you say it needs to be?
Me: We don’t train to fight. We train to protect.
Then all things are motivated and fueled by love.
Those who want to “fight” tend to hate. Look at what MMA guys often do. They demonize their opponent in order to be able to hurt them. It turns inward though and becomes negative inside you.
With protection fueled by love, then we can stay positive. You can grow to protect yourself, then your loved ones, and even the person who is attacking you.
It’s a good question and one you should ask yourself often.
I’ve seen martial artists who have taken the positive path, and they are to be admired and followed. I’ve also seen the martial artists who have taken the negative path, and they are to be pitied.
Steven G: Thanks Sifu. What you shared with me is a healthier way of looking at martial arts.
My question stemmed from something Jesse Glover said he learned from Bruce, which was, close fast and finish it.
That captured my attention. But I do think it could lead to inner anger. I want to stay far far away from that path.
Me: JKD is cultivating a person to be able to destroy an opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible.
That is AFTER the decision to act has been made.
It’s also about destroying one's own ego, which will allow you to have a different perspective on a confrontation. It becomes problem-solving. Often, the necessity to fight stems from our own ego. Once that is removed, then so is the “need” to fight.
However, if the need is still present, then you fight with everything to win utterly.
If the fight is no longer about your ego, then it is simply a solution to a problem. The simpler and quicker the solution the better.
Hence, close fast and finish it.