chi sao

For more than 30 years, Lamar Davis has studied and trained in Bruce Lee's art of jeet kune do. He has been certified as a full/senior instructor by five of Bruce Lee's original students: Joseph Cowles, Patrick Strong, Leo Fong, Jerry Poteet and Steve Golden. Lamar Davis is the founder of and head instructor at Hardcore Jeet Kune Do. He also serves as the Hardcore Jeet Kune Do Chinese Gung Fu Association's executive director/senior instructor in addition to being the co-founder of the International Wing Chun/Jeet Kune Do Alliance and the Efficient Warrior Alliance.

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In the martial arts, one school of thought holds that you should change your game to match your opponent's. Example: If you're a stand-up fighter and you're facing a grappler, you should immediately switch into grappling mode. Problem is, that requires you to train to such an extent that each subset of your skills is superior to the skills of a person who focuses on only that range of combat. Your grappling must be better than a grappler's, your kicking must be better than a kicker's and your punching must be better than a puncher's. It's a tough task, to be sure. Another school of thought holds that you should never fight force with the same kind of force. In other words, don't try to beat your opponent at what he does best. Instead, use a set of concepts and techniques that will enable you to nullify his attacks and nail him when he's not expecting it. The best set of concepts I've found is called the science of wing chun, as taught by Black Belt Hall of Fame member William Cheung. It offers a strategic approach to combat that's guaranteed to help any stand-up fighter prevail on the street. [ti_billboard name="Neutral Stance"]

Maintain a Balanced Stance

When you're in a balanced wing chun stance, your opponent won't be able to read your intentions because you're not telegraphing the way you'll fight. He can't discern your commitment to any move or to any direction. The stance requires a 50-50 weight distribution at all times. That enables you to move either foot in any direction at anytime. Having maximum mobility, at a moment's notice, is essential for dealing with armed or multiple attackers. Being balanced also conserves energy, which allows you to channel it to other uses while under attack. Once your opponent moves, wing chun teaches that you should immediately shift into a side-neutral stance based on the side of your body he attacks. If he comes from your right, you deal with him by using your right arm and right foot, and vice versa. Your stance is now similar to that of a boxer, except that you're oriented at a 45-degree angle so you're less open to his blows. [ti_billboard name="Balance Disruption"]

Attack Your Opponent's Balance

In any kind of fighting, balance is everything. Strive to maintain yours while attacking your opponent's. Often, that entails getting him to lean too far into his technique, overcommit to his movement or overextend his body. Without proper balance, he won't be able to move, block or strike effectively. In general, grapplers employ a strategy that involves an overzealous commitment to a move. They'll lean, lunge or throw themselves forward in an effort to take you to the ground, which is their preferred environment. At that point, they'll attempt to mount you and punch, or they'll choke you unconscious. That's all well and good as long as you don't take advantage of their momentary lack of balance

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The call came while I was out. When I got home, my wife said someone had phoned from China. They wanted me to teach a martial arts seminar. At first, I didn't believe her. Then an e-mail came from Xiaoxiang Vocational School, which was trying to establish a jeet kune do curriculum. Access to Bruce Lee's art in China was limited, but he remains popular there, with statues being erected and a nightly TV show called The Legend of Bruce Lee. I didn't reply right away; instead, I forwarded the message to my sifu,Ted Wong. Another call came — it was Julie, a translator for the school. She asked if I'd travel to Hunan province at their expense to train and possibly certify a group of hand-picked martial artists. Questions flooded my mind. How long would it take? What would the culture be like? Could I even use chopsticks? More e-mails and calls … they wanted me for three months. My opening bid was one month, and we settled on two. I decided that because people were calling me from the other side of the planet, I'd surrender my day job and focus on my passion, the martial arts. I packed one carry-on, forgot about buying a Minnesota fishing license, kissed the wife goodbye and hopped on a plane.

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In this martial arts DVD from Black Belt Magazine Video, Grandmaster William Cheung, longtime friend and training partner of Bruce Lee, reveals the intricate aspects of the traditional wing chun system. This five-part martial arts DVD series includes three empty-hand forms, reflex training, chi sao, wooden dummy, butterfly-sword and dragon-pole forms, the B.O.E.C. fighting strategy and more. In Wing Chun Kung Fu Vol. 2, William Cheung covers the bil jee form and applications, one-arm/two-arm chi sao and chi sao applications.

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