Lamar M. Davis II is a second-generation jeet kune do practitioner who trained under Steve Golden and Jerry Poteet from the Los Angeles Chinatown period, Leo Fong from the Oakland period and Patrick Strong and Joseph Cowles from the Seattle period. In this video depiction of techniques discussed in the June 2010 issue of Black Belt, Davis demonstrates the "defensive trap."
Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge
When The Fast and the Furious (2001) sped into the psyche's of illegal street racing enthusiasts, with a penchant for danger and the psychotic insanity of arrant automotive adventure, the brusque bearish, quasi-hero rebel, Dominic "Dom" Toretto was caustic yet salvationally portrayed with the power of a train using a Vin Diesel engine.
Justin Lin's climb up the Fast & Furious ladder matches the film titles, fast and furious. He's the only director to shoot five sequels (3, 4, 5, 6, 9) with F10 on the way. The resulting action composition in F9: The Last Saga (F9) has been brewing since his intro to Bruce Lee and Lin's early subliminal and now obvious influences from Jackie Chan.
When I first discussed Bruce Lee with the Taiwanese-born, Los Angeles-raised Lin in 1997, he shared, "Whether Asian Americans like it or not, they all have a relationship with Bruce. When I was 10, I was deeply disturbed watching Bruce's Game of Death (1979). There was a guy who vaguely looked like Lee interspersed with shots of the real Lee, right down to a photo of Lee pasted onto a mirror to make us believe the guy in front of the mirror was Bruce. Yet when I first saw Bruce Lee on screen, I felt his power, he gave me the strength to strive for something. After learning about the film's freaky news, I thought, how in the hell did the double get that job?"
Lin addressed this question in his first martial arts film, Finishing the Game (2007). Co-starring Sung Kang, Lin also hired fight choreographer Don Thai, who at the time was a close associate and one of Jackie Chan's protégés.
Years earlier, Jackie Chan's Opera brother Corey Yuen directed Jason Statham's breakout martial arts film Transporter(2002). Around the same time, Jackie Chan's stunt double/fight choreographer, Andy Cheng, was priming Dwayne Johnson in Chan's style of action too as the fight coordinator on Johnson's first martial arts film Rundown (2003).
The Fast & Furious films began as street drag-racing movies, perhaps influenced by the demented driving antics of Steve McQueen in real life and in his movie Getaway (1972). Yet with the addition of Dwayne Johnson as CIA agent Luke Hobbs in Fast Five (2011), whose job was to track down and capture Dom, the franchise morphed into a car-llection of visceral flicks filled with over-the-top, outrageous, literal high-octane car stunts.
Then just as you think there's no more juice in the engines, apart from flashing red buttons connected to newfangled fuel-injection systems, which are attached to nitrous oxide canisters capable of giving short bursts of Star Wars light speed, Furious 7 (2015) arrived. F7 upped the martial arts ante by casting legitimate martial artist Jason Statham as the rogue assassin Deckard Shaw who ran pugilistic mayhem around Dom and Hobbs.
Yet with F9, Lin translated Lee's power into his action sequences and saw how Chan's fights used the tangible qualities of space and how Chan continually transforms it from the confines of small rooms, alleys or a high-rise's narrow ledge to the vastness of a castle, mountaintop, or rooftops of big towering buildings. Like Chan, Lin achieves these transformations via extended chase sequences where each unpredictable redefinition of space adds to the scene's momentum by creating a giddy farce. As his characters move through new environments, they confront new circumstances and possibilities.
With F9, Lin goes beyond these confines. Dom learns that his long-lost renegade brother Jacob (John Cena) has become a deadly assassin who's in cahoots with Dom's mortal enemy Cipher from The Fate and the Furious (2017) and her new psychotic partner Otto. Their aim is to find two halves of a top-secret gadget that can control the world's security network. It's time for Dom and his speedster band of brothers/sisters to unite to save the world from this terminally ruthless trio while dealing with family secrets.
In 1999, Diesel told about his bouncer and boxing background in New York, and his love for the 1970's Shaw Brother kung fu films adding with a bellowing calm voice, "It would've been cool to be in one of those movies, the weapons, the wires, the fights."
By a strange twist of fate, Diesel is doing a kung fu film that's as close to being a 1970s, Shaw Brothers wuxia movie than he could ever have imagined. His weapon of choice isn't fists, knives or kung fu, but a 1968 Dodge Charger with car fufight choreography.
Dom can maneuver his cars to block, deflect and parry oncoming forces of sideswiping and head on attacks from other autos, armored vehicles, giant transporter trucks and even a flying wing. His car fu has skills that can catch and intercept flying members of his team out of mid-air death plummets that are more radical than a square route.
The wire-fu car fu is as outrageous as it sounds. In one moment Dom can be speeding along then he pulls of this dodgy move that's akin to maniacal spider falling from a ceiling toward your unsuspecting head on the end of a single strand of silk thread.
Stunt coordinator J.J. Perry who was into Hong Kong stylized action since his beginnings, choreographed a handful of unique fights that are well worth the watch and there are two particular fights that take into account the yin and yang balance of combat.
One is Dom's rough and tumble, smash and crash brawl as he becomes a human muscle car in a wide-open underground warehouse where he takes on droves of heavily armed punch and crunch security forces. The opposing energy is a powerful light focusing on the F9's fighting women, Letty, Mia and newcomer Elle taking on a team of marauding mercenaries within the tight confines of a small Tokyo apartment. It's a close quarters, tag-team action fray using medium shots, where each lady does 2-6 techniques per take.
In Chinese numerology, nine represents longevity and so it's no wonder that F9 will continue the franchise's staying power where breaking the speed limit is a way of life.
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The best mental health solutions are overlooked when it comes to prevention. Instead, society is conditioned to take a pill to feel better. However, the cure lies within yourself. And the remedy needs to be turned on like a switch. There are many therapies that balance, improve, and enhance mental health. Surprisingly, many of them use movement. Exercise is one of them, but martial arts take the first-place trophy as a perfect natural remedy that works better than any medication.
First of all, mental health comprises your emotional, physical, mental, and social wellbeing. These aspects fuse together to affect how you feel, think, and act. It determines how you live each day, your behaviors, and the choices you make. To feel good and make good choices, you need to have the right frame of mind. Martial arts improve mental health by creating discipline, respect, assertiveness, purpose, confidence, and self-esteem, which all comprise mental health.
By reading the beginning of Jeet Kung Do, you know martial arts is not just about physical health. It is a wholehearted encompassing approach that involves the mind and soul. Bruce Lee's teachings show how martial arts develops, integrates, and fuses the mind, body, and soul. And that perfect technique is not a reflection of physical mastery but also that of the "tri-fusion".
From Jeet Kung Do:
Jeet Kune Do is not a matter of technology but spiritual insight and training.
Jeet Kune Do is not to hurt, but is one of the avenues through which life opens its secrets to us. We can see through others only when we can see through ourselves, and Jeet Kune Do is a step toward knowing oneself.
Self-expression is total, immediate, without conception of time, and you can only express that if you are free, physically and mentally, from fragmentation.
Training is the psychological and physiological conditioning of an individual preparing for intense neural and muscular reaction. It implies discipline of the mind and power and endurance of the body. It means skill. It is all these things working together in harmony.
Training deals not with an object, but with the human spirit and human emotions.
Martial Arts- The Perfect Remedy for Mental Health
Martial arts surround you with people who are respectful, disciplined, confident, and willing to help you master techniques. The repetitious practice of technique and routine transforms the mind with focus, structure, and discipline. Training with other students teaches respect, purpose, and humility. Learning defense and offensive moves creates assertiveness and self-esteem. And as the practice continues, you discover your hidden and unconscious potential by taking a journey into your soul.
Imbalance in the mind, body, or spirit will trickle through and impact life. You have to be careful because the slightest negative issue can create the most significant impact and move fast like a tsunami disrupting every mental health and life aspect. But it also works vice-versa. Sometimes a little bit of confidence creates discipline, and a little bit of discipline can develop confidence. You only need a spark to start a fire.
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life." Lao Tzu. This quote also implies that martial arts helps you feel better for a day but teaches you to control and feel better in your life.
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Motivation lies at the heart of success, whether you are a student or a teacher. Excellence comes from our habits, yet we must be motivated enough to take that first step towards progress and to stay disciplined in our pursuit of perfection thereafter.
The problem is, motivation can be such a finicky thing!
Many will say that you don't need motivation, you simply need discipline and habitual action. "Keep a steadfast mind and you will be good to go for your entire martial arts career", or so we're told.
That...is actually kinda right.
But it's not the whole truth either.
It's true that discipline is extremely important and is a necessary component to our training, especially at the fundamental level (*cough* did somebody say "kihon"?). It's also true, however, that motivation allows a level of performance which can't be replicated if you are simply doing it because it is your habitual action.
Motivation allows your body to better accept what it must do, involving more of your being into a deeper level of your actions.
Motivation allows your mind to hold strong for a half-second longer, lasting when an apathetic mind would give up.
Motivation allows you to break your limitations like dry wooden boards and reach new levels with your daily training, accomplishing that which we set out to do as martial artists studying in pursuit of excellence.
See why this is important?
But believe it or not, all sources of motivation are not equal.
Whereas some sources of motivation lead to a healthy training career, others will suck the life from you and drain you mentally over time.
Read on to see what the problem sources are and how to conquer them, then get out there and start training hard!
Problem #1: Awards/Outcomes
Did your parents ever bribe you to behave well? On the other end of the spectrum, did they punish you harshly if you behaved badly?
While that can encourage a certain type of preferred behaviour temporarily, there are caveats to it. Awards can become repetitious and punishments can be avoided by sneaking around (at least, nine-year-old me could hope).
In other words, extrinsic motivation—motivation that stems from acclaim, awards, or promised outcomes—only lasts so long.
There is a difference between doing it for applause and doing it for a cause however.
Athletes who train because of their love for the game carry a vastly different type of motivation than those who simply clamor for the next certificate or award. Motivation which is sourced from a love for the process is coined as intrinsic.
Imagine somebody who goes to work only for the paycheck and somebody who believes the work he is doing is part of his life mission; who do you believe is more likely to press the snooze button each morning?
If you said it is Average Joe who is slumming his 9-5 for a few dollars each day, you're probably right. Passionate Paul might have the same job, however his perspective on the work he does helps reduce the mental fatigue and lack of motivation that his counterpart is prone to suffer.
Mind you, there is a whole spectrum of motivation classifications, ranging from the externally sourced to the internally originating ones.
Recognize what type of motivation you are fueling for yourself and/or your students.
If you have students under you who are being groomed to act like a black belt solely for the sake of wearing one someday, they will eventually reach an impasse where they must decide whether to look for another award (perhaps another rank advancement) or quit now that they have met their end goal. Then they will reach that impasse again, and again, and again. Ad infinitum.
Bear in mind, even the biggest trophy can fall apart and break. Reputations eventually fade into the annals of time.
Instead, remind them why they love what they are doing. If you can't remember the reason, a deeper problem might be at hand and a band-aid solution to cover it up isn't going to help at all. Everybody has various reasons for starting an activity and it isn't unusual for that to change over time. What mustn't get lost, however, is the reasons why you have kept doing it thus far.
Strive for intrinsic motivation and indulge in the experience you are taking part in. Enjoy the actions you take, not just the acclaim you earn.
Problem #2: Ambiguity
It's hard to accomplish what you don't even understand. Beyond that, it is hard to take the first step on a path you can't even find. A lack of clarity kills motivation before it can even begin.
Take a moment and fully understand the results you are looking for. Once you can properly envision and verbalize what a faster or more technically proficient version of you would look like, you can better reverse engineer the route to get there. Bear in mind that the path you walk is paved incrementally.
In other words: seek progress, not immediate perfection.
If you believe the ultimate result you desire is one which you can accomplish in only a couple hours worth of work, you either set a low-hanging fruit as your goal or are delusional. We often overestimate what we can do in a short amount of time and underestimate that which can be done over a long period.
This is especially true for martial art teachers guiding students.
The clearer a picture you can paint what you desire from your students, the easier it is for them to work towards it and stay motivated in progressing forward.
Clarity clears a path for you to walk on, now get to steppin'!
Problem #3: Loathing
In everything that we do, we are crafting a narrative in our head.
Mind you, I'm not saying that we are slowly developing a separate personality in our brain (unless, maybe, you are starting to hear the ghost of Bruce Lee in your head).
When you get up and train on the days you feel like horse crap, you are unconsciously telling yourself you are disciplined. You do the hard things even when it hasn't been an easy day.
On the flipside, when you negotiate with yourself and craft excuses, you are unconsciously whispering to yourself that it is OK to cheat yourself and disregard your own health at times.
I don't know about you, but I would rather live as the type of person I would love; somebody honest even to themselves and disciplined regardless of consequences.
Here's the extension to that: even if you stay on track with your training, you may be crafting a narrative that is filled with self-doubt, loathe, and every other negative attribute that'll give you indigestion just thinking about it.
Meditate on why you want to work harder. There is a dramatic difference between going to the gym because you love your body and want to preserve good health versus going to workout because you despise how you are physically and wish to be somebody different, bigger, and stronger, and faster.
Base your motivation on self-love rather than self-loathe. Trust me, you'll feel better.
If you steer clear of these three problems and instead source healthy motivation in your life, you're going to feel unstoppable during training.
Because you are unstoppable. Now get out there and prove it!
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