Tag Archives: danny inosanto

Did Bruce Lee Really Know Gung Fu?

Bruce Lee Gung Fu Lives

Bruce Lee was the martial arts icon of the last century. Ask people what the first thing that pops into their mind when you say gung fu, and they will say Bruce Lee. An interesting question about the Little Dragon is how much gung fu did he really know?

bruce lee wing chun

I know gung fu better than you, my friend!

Well, he knew some Tai Chi Chuan, his grandfather taught him when he was a child, that is on record.

And, he was accomplished at Wing Chun Gung Fu, under Yip Man, though probably not a master. He knew the first half of the system, the hard half, but had not delved into the soft half.

And there you go, that’s all the gung fu Bruce knew.

Whoa! You say. That’s all? But…but…but…

So here’s the thing, he grew up in China, and he was immersed in the culture, so he knew ABOUT lots of gung fu.

And, as time went on and he researched, he was familiar with some 26 styles of martial arts. Which is not to say he knew them extensively and in depth, but he was familiar.

But, what people don’t get is the depth of his drive. He was obsessed. He didn’t do ten kicks and think his kicks were good, he did thousands of kicks, and likely thought they were bad!

Thus, he dug deep, and in the depths was where his real gung fu was born.

So it’s not how wide your knowledge is that is important, but how deep.

Now, that said, here’s something else to think about. Bruce was not always using eastern martial arts.

If you look at his movies it looks like eastern stuff, but the fact of the matter is that he was much interested in such things as western boxing and fencing. And, he was a very accomplished cha cha dancer. And he put these things into his moves, and he used eastern discipline to make them shine.

Watch him. When he dances around an opponent, is he using a cha cha step? Think about it.

And when you read his books, like The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, isn’t he extrapolating fencing principles into the classical martial arts moves of the east?

An extremely interesting fighting system is Pan Gai Noon.

There’s a good website called FreeBruceLee.com.

Four Techniques to Make the Funnel Work in Wing Chun Kung Fu

While these four techniques work for Wing Chun Kung Fu, Jeet Kune Do, or any close distance martial arts system, they will actually work for any martial arts system. The techniques are grown from the Wing Chun book by James Yimm Lee. This book is rumored to have been written by Bruce Lee.

To set up the techniques, as one would in most Jeet Kune Do schools, one should put the hands up at shoulder width apart, palms towards the attacker. This is a universal peace sign, ‘I don’t want to fight,’ and it is a good thing to try to ‘fight without fighting’ by using this type of motion. The person might not fight, but if he does, he will find himself ‘in the funnel’ and being handled quite easily.

There are three possible paths a punch might follow in this set up. The first path is through the hands, straight for the face, and the defense here is obvious, simply turn the hips, slap the hands over the wrist and elbow, and you have a great trap or throw or lock or whatever. This is the technique you might be taught by a great teacher like Danny Inosanto.

If the fellow decides to punch around the hands, you simply shift to the side and bring up a simultaneous high block and punch. This technique comes off the leg, turns the hips, and can crush a chest quite easily. If you don’t feel like crushing a chest…open the fingers and spear the throat, this technique is found in Wing Chun Chum Kiu

If the attacker tries to back fist around the open palms, he is falling into classical jeet kune do techniques. Simply shift to the other side, pop up an elbow block, and launch a series of quick strikes to the closed body. You might not find this technique on the wooden dummy, but it is excellent for shoving an opponent into a corner while you strike him.

If the attacker tries to kick, simply shift the legs away, lower the hands, and realize that he is going to follow up with a hand strike. When you shift the legs back you automatically set yourself up to spring. Knowing that there is a high probability of a hand attack encourages you to raise your hands as you go in, maybe even letting your jeet kune do training out with a few oblique kicks to the knees.

Now, the point of all this is that when you raise your hands you set up a path for the fellow to attack. He is either going to go through the hands, around the hands, or under the hands. And thus he becomes totally and utterly predictable, and if you know what somebody is going to do, then that somebody is ten times easier to handle.

If you want to make him even more predictable, separate your hands and he will go into the funnel, put your hands closer together and he will go around the funnel, and so on. In other words, you actually tell a person what to do by your positioning of the hands. Be it wing chun schools, jeet kune do training, or whatever, this type of set up is the ultimate for winning any kind of fight.

You can learn more about fighting strategies that work at Monster Martial Arts.