Jeet Kune Do Private Lesson Example, Part One

Below is an example of a handful of lessons I taught to beginner-level Jeet Kune Do students…

TECHNIQUE-BASED LESSONS: The Eye Jab

Level One Instruction (7 parts)

1. Harris JKD mindsets #1, #2 and #3.

2. Assume nonchalant stance #1.

3. Fire off the first part of the eye jab.

4. Fire off the first part of your step & slide footwork.

5. Finish the footwork. 

6. Finish the eye jab.

7. After the assailant’s initial reaction, terminate the encounter.

In the beginning, I want to lay a foundation with proper mindsets, stance training, and footwork. And, instead of just focusing on learning these things, I place a heavy emphasis on practicing/training them to the point of reflex!

Once the foundation is laid, we can begin to focus on the specific tool – in this case, an eye jab for defending against the boxing and weaponry formats as well as an eye gouge for defending against the grappling/Jiu-Jitsu format!

NOTE: Because Jeet Kune Do doesn’t have a sportive element to it, many practitioners spend the majority of their time focusing on A) the “art”, B) the “beginning levels of self-defense”, and/or C) the “fighting” elements. Because of my original intent for my involvement in martial arts training, I’ve spent the majority of my time focusing on the self-defense and fighting aspects of training!

 Level Two Instruction (15 parts)

1. We will probe deeper into our three foundational mindsets: Awareness, Calmness Under Pressure, and Grit. First, we will begin with a definition before moving on to how they can be identified, measured, and developed over time.

2. Manage the four roots of all fighting methods. These are presented and reviewed throughout the lessons. 

3. We will begin to look at the original Five Methods of Attack (SDA, ABC, ABD, PIA, HIA/FIA). These will be taught, demonstrated, practiced, trained, and reviewed periodically.

4. We will dissect and unpack our nonchalant stance #1. Later on down the road, this will become increasingly important because it will not become a “TELL” – unlike so many other martial artists who learn “self-defense” or “fighting” are only taught how to use ONE bladed stance!

5. We will begin to examine the topic of non-telegraphic motion. This will become a pivotal topic. Why? While so many other stylists pursue power and strength, we’ll be pursuing a topic that will give us a marked advantage in the years and decades to come!

6. Let’s begin to scrutinize the mechanics of the eye jab. Part one begins with a fully or partially loaded stance. Next, we’ll look at the first part of the jab that gets launched.

7. Make sure in your stance that there’s a straight line from the elbow of your lead arm through your forearm and directly into the assailant’s eyes. NOTE: You do not want to use the boxing format with your arms/hands because your lead forearm will point toward the sky. Doing this not only slows down your finger jab but also makes it more telegraphic!

8. The lead forearm is fired – without taking a step and without twisting the hips.

9. One-third of the way through the finger jab, the rear foot will begin to drive the body weight forward.

10. The lead heel (or knee) is lifted slightly to make room for the advancing footwork.

11. Your weight transfers slightly and the step part of the footwork begins.

12. Contact with the eyes is made by the fingernails and pads of your middle and ring fingers. 

13. The slide part of the footwork ends with proper weight distribution.

14. A second footwork – the pivot step – is executed to gain a distance and angle advantage – because some assailants, after they have been finger jabbed, will not only close their eyes but will rush towards the last position where they saw you to “rassle” and maybe tackle you.

15. A quick evaluation is made – to determine how best to terminate the encounter (i.e. maybe you run away because you see what looks like friends or associates approaching, maybe you knee the outside of their thigh or side kick their knee and disable their mobility, etc…)

For real-life encounters, levels one and two instruction represent A GOOD START into the training – as they represent 60% of what’s needed to confidently survive a violent encounter. Much more will be needed than simple techniques (e.g. a parry, a block, an eye jab, a knee, a groin kick, an elbow or shoulder lock, a weapon defense, etc.).

STORY: Several years ago, a gentleman came to my academy during the daytime hours to check things out. When he walked in, I was answering emails. When we made eye contact, I asked if I could help him and this is what he said:

“Does that JKD stuff really work? I’ve always been curious about it!”

I replied, “Yes, it does.”

He replied, “But the techniques don’t look real.”

I replied, “Would you like to experience it firsthand?”

He said, “Yes.”

So, I had him sign a waiver and gave him a set of 16-ounce boxing gloves. I set the timer for 2 minutes and then said, “Let’s go.”

He commented, “But you’re not wearing any gloves.”

I said, “Yes. That’s because I’m not going to punch you!”

To make a long story short, I tapped his forehead with the pads of my fingers (which represented a finger jab to the eyes) no less than twenty times in our two-minute match. I also kicked the inside of his left thigh with the toes of my left foot using a shuffle hook kick (which represented a kick to the groin) no less than twenty times. And, I kicked the outside of his left leg with my right foot using a rear leg round kick, and the palm of my left hand on the outside of his right shoulder.

In the end, this gentleman was unable to land any solid kicks or punches 😲

His final comments were, “I’m not impressed. Nothing you did hurt!”

I replied, “Every time my fingers tapped your forehead, it represented a finger jab to your eyes. Every time my left toe touched the inside of your left thigh, it represented a kick to your groin. And every time my left hand slapped your right shoulder, it was to force the weight of your body onto your left foot so you couldn’t defend the kick with my right leg. I intentionally used my right instep to touch the outside of your left thigh, representing a high shin kick (near my knee) to the common peroneal nerve on your leg. So, if you’d like, we can spar a second time. But this time, I’ll actually hit your eyeballs with my fingers, kick you in the groin with my foot, and kick the nerve on the outside of your leg.”

He replied quickly, “No, that’s OK!”

I finished by saying this:

“In Jeet Kune Do, our primary goals are to intercept and prevent the fight from escalating. But, if we’re forced to fight, we will START the fight with an eye poke or a groin kick. Now, I’m emphasizing the word “start” because eye pokes and groin shots don’t always stop fights. So, we use them to shut down a person’s vision and mobility! And, once the assailant reacts to the pain we’ve inflicted, we’ll end the fight by the use of any number of techniques (e.g. a knee to the teeth, a side kick to the side of the knee, a finger lock, or dislocation, a neck crank, the use of a bargaining position, a long talk, etc.).”

We had a long talk after our short sparring session. He left my academy without injury and without signing up for classes!

BIG NOTE: I share this story with you NOT to impress you with how good I am. Rather, I share it to talk about things I’ve experienced that I rarely talk about! Oh….the stories I could tell about people coming to my first and second academies to test my abilities!

I hope this article has been helpful and enlightening. If you’re intrigued by this outline and are interested in deepening your understanding through hands-on training, contact me at roy@royharris.com for more info on private lessons tailored to inpidual needs.

Thank you for your time,

Roy Harris

P.S. Do you have questions or comments about this post? Let me know in the comments below, by sending me an email, or by clicking on the social media icon above and writing to me there!

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