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June 22-23, 2013, the JKD Philippine Chapter (Ted Wong Lineage) invited Sifu Rodney Hitchcock to conduct our annual seminar on JKD and non-classical grappling. This is sort of an “audit” for us from our top Sifus abroad to check and fine-tune our JKD skills making sure it is in fact, the same art Ted Wong learned from Bruce Lee.

I won’t go on differentiating our lineage with other so-called “JKD” arts, that is reserved in another article I will be posting here soon.

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Sifu Rodney, is a certified instructor of Ted Wong JKD and trained personally with Ted Wong himself along with the likes of Teri Tom, the author of the book “The Straight Lead” , Spain’s Joaquin Marcelo and Sweden’s Stefan Nikander (just search the names in Google and YouTube). Sifu Rodney is also an MMA Coach of Team Ronin MMA where they utilize JKD as a prime art aside from “non-classical grappling”, a form of grappling using the principle of simplicity of JKD. I am privileged enough to have a one-on-one interview with Sifu Rodney over lunch, and I will posting our interview transcript here soon.

The two day seminar covered mostly refinements of the basic JKD arsenal and some quick pointers for ground fighting.

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Day 1, we covered the basic JKD arsenal: straight lead, hook punch, rear straight, corkscrew punch, shovel punch, hook kick and side kick. We also practiced some effective combos for various situations using pads. Footwork, of course, being the most important aspect of JKD, was also reviewed.

Day 2, we did some footwork and combo drills, plus we were given some basic pointers and moves for takedowns, takedown defense and submissions.

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We definitely learned a lot, not only skill-wise, and how to do a technique properly, but we are lucky enough to have Sifu Rodney relate to us his personal relationship with Ted Wong, as well as Ted Wong’s personal relationship to Bruce Lee himself.

I particularly liked how he explains the Science behind the move, as Science is a key part in all the JKD moves. Sifu Rodney was even  humble enough to say that really smart coaches, and really smart fighters, with a deep understanding of combat, will, in time, figure it out themselves how to do these techniques and not know that what they are doing is a JKD principle. That humility is something rarely seen in other martial arts, where all can claim that their art is the “ultimate” art, not so with Sifu Rodney’s understanding of JKD, as taught to him by Ted Wong.

As Bruce Lee once said, “as long as we have two hands and two feet, we all fight the same”. It’s the deep understanding of human kinetics, economy of motion, angles an the mental aspect of combat that makes JKD unique, but technique wise, no one can really claim a move as their own. A punch is essentially just a punch in the end.

Overall, the seminar was a success, and we all look forward to have Sifu Rodney join us again next year.

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