Wednesday, September 19, 2012

JKD Matrix: Next Step Forward In The Arts?

Paul Vunak has been making waves with his claims of creating a complete art based on six parts and informed by the philosophy of Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto. Black Belt Magazine gave him several pages in their most recent issue and even with the article in front of me I'm conflicted. According to Vunak he takes parts from Wing Chun and Savate for their centerline control using trapping and specific kicks respectively, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai are in the mix for grappling and striking  in their cases and because MMA arguably shows them to be two of the more effective martial arts in the world. The last pieces of the puzzle are the Filipino art of Escrima for it's stick fighting and knife techniques and Kino Mutai for "escalating violence". Yeah, I disagree with that last one, and I disagree with it full force. Handling a violent situation isn't a matter of style but a matter of the student and how the teacher instructed them. I've seen Aikido practitioners deal with a threat brutally and Tai Chi Chuan experts that will put an attacker down in a heartbeat.

Those are my complaints, but I do agree with a lot of what Vunak is trying to do, I've studied Thai kickboxing, Escrima, and Savate myself for the reasons he describes and while I still prefer a lot of Karate strikes to Muay Thai ones because the motions are tighter I won't fault someone for disagreeing and I do make use of the thigh kick myself. I took up judo and wrestling for my own ground game and I've picked up trapping techniques along the way.

You would think with that sort of overlap I would be a huge fan of what Paul Vunak is doing and I both am and am not. What a lot of people don't realize is that Bruce Lee was not in favor of "styles" but of using what worked and growing your skills in an organic fashion, remaining receptive to new teachings and allowing them to blend with what you already had to make a whole greater than it's parts. Maybe it is just presentation in this case, but I think anyone who forgets that bit of wisdom and starts crowing about their new style too soon still has some things to learn.

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