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#135663 - 11/07/04 09:11 PM Fencing influence on JKD
Anonymous
Unregistered


The influence of Western fencing upon JKD is self-evident. For one thing, Lee clearly favored fencing terminology, in regards to describing combative actions. Even the very name Jeet Kune Do ("Way of the Intercepting Fist") is a reference to fencing's "stop-hit" (aka the Colpo d'arresto or Coup d'arret). And, in his fighting notes (The Tao...), Lee even quotes from Francesco Antonio Marcelli's Regole della scherma of 1686, which was the last major book concerning Italian rapier technique.

Dan Inosanto has mentioned in a couple of interviews that, when it came to FMA, Lee favored the larga mano material, because it was the closest to what he already knew from fencing. Lee's brother was apparently a competitive fencer in college.

What were the specifics of Lee's fencing background? His quote of Marcelli indicates that he was familiar with historical manuals, but what about his own training and experience? What about his brother? Was he taught the French (escrime) or Italian (scherma) style?

Does anyone have any info regarding anything above?

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#135664 - 11/07/04 09:22 PM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
I believe he studied the Escrime style.

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#135665 - 11/07/04 10:27 PM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chen Zen:
I believe he studied the Escrime style.[/QUOTE]

That would make sense, if only because the French school has always been more popular here.

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#135666 - 11/08/04 11:29 AM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chen Zen:
I believe he studied the Escrime style.[/QUOTE]

Hi CZ

As Escrime is merely the french word for fencing it doesn't denote a style at all. If you mean that he studied the french style of fencing, then that would be possible, however if BL was against formalized styles, why would he accept a formalized fencing style but not a Martial Arts one?

He quotes extensively from Roger Crosniers fencing book, which is fundamentally based on the french system as was the British system through till about the mid-1970's.

If BL continued study had included fencing (instead of dying at such an inconvienient moment) it would have been interesting to see how the influence of the Easterm bloc styles affected him (as they came out from behind the iron curtain) and his thinking and also the evolving Italian style that moved away from the more traditional Italian style of the time.

I can only believe that JKD, if interpreted that it is no style, would most closely resemble the West German style coming out of Tauberbishofsheim during the 70's - 80's. In my opinion it is this style, or lack of, with no aesthetic value other than its effectiveness that would have been of most interest.

JohnL

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#135667 - 11/08/04 08:15 PM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by JohnL:
Hi CZ

As Escrime is merely the french word for fencing it doesn't denote a style at all. If you mean that he studied the french style of fencing, then that would be possible, however if BL was against formalized styles, why would he accept a formalized fencing style but not a Martial Arts one?[/QUOTE]


John, I believe that CZ simply meant that Bruce studied in the French tradition. I apologize if my original post was unclear or otherwise ambiguous, in regards to the way I termed the respective French and Italian schools. I probably should simply have said "French school" and "Italian school", without getting into linguistics.

[QUOTE]He quotes extensively from Roger Crosniers fencing book, which is fundamentally based on the french system as was the British system through till about the mid-1970's.

If BL continued study had included fencing (instead of dying at such an inconvienient moment) it would have been interesting to see how the influence of the Easterm bloc styles affected him (as they came out from behind the iron curtain) and his thinking and also the evolving Italian style that moved away from the more traditional Italian style of the time.

I can only believe that JKD, if interpreted that it is no style, would most closely resemble the West German style coming out of Tauberbishofsheim during the 70's - 80's. In my opinion it is this style, or lack of, with no aesthetic value other than its effectiveness that would have been of most interest.

JohnL
[/QUOTE]

Very interesting.

However, what are your thoughts regarding Bruce's apparent interest in historical styles? Aside from the quotes from Marcelli, he also (according to Larry Harstell and John Little) had an extensive collection of other old fencing and boxing treatises.

Peace,

A_M_P

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#135668 - 11/09/04 03:33 PM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Hi AMP

BL may have had an interest in historical fencing data but to be honest what is available is not best preserved in written form, so I'm not sure how much use it would have been.

Fencing, certainly due to it's olympic presence, has developed over the last century due to the development of technology and the developing athleticism and profficiency of the participants.

As such it's current paticipants abilities far exceed their predecessors and are far more effecient in their technique.

As BL was primarily concerned with developing an art rather than merely copying an existing one, I believe he would have found the development of modern fencing of more interest than it's historical background.

JohnL

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#135669 - 11/10/04 06:56 AM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by JohnL:
Hi AMP

BL may have had an interest in historical fencing data but to be honest what is available is not best preserved in written form, so I'm not sure how much use it would have been.

Fencing, certainly due to it's olympic presence, has developed over the last century due to the development of technology and the developing athleticism and profficiency of the participants.

As such it's current paticipants abilities far exceed their predecessors and are far more effecient in their technique.[/QUOTE]


"Abilities" in what?

Modern-day fencers train in a combat sport that, while still useful, is nevertheless highly diluted, as both you and I know. Comparing the actual swordfighting potential of a modern Olympic fencer (who has no other background or training) and, say, an English backsword player from the 18th century--and choosing the former over the latter "ability"-wise--strikes me as highly unrealistic.

Modern fencers (especially at the top level of modern competition) don't train to defeat an opponent with a sword--they train to defeat an opponent by setting off the buzzer and lights of the scoring box.

[QUOTE]As BL was primarily concerned with developing an art rather than merely copying an existing one, I believe he would have found the development of modern fencing of more interest than it's historical background.[/QUOTE]

I must heartily disagree.

Since he was concerned with efficiency in combat, I suspect that he would have found the historical methods of greater concern than you suggest.

As a parallel, look at the approach that BL took to grappling. He didn't limit himself to the throws and takedowns of current freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling--on the contrary, he sought out a man (Gene LeBell) who, amongst other things, had been trained by some of the few remaining latter-day professional CACC "shooters". By Lee's time, CACC was predominantly dead, aside from the few "shooters" who were left (many of whom settled in Japan, like Karl Isatz "Gotch"). The subs in The Tao... come from judo and CACC. The CACC subs that Lee learned from LeBell are not something that Lee could have learned from even the highest level freestyle wrestlers, unless those wrestlers had trained at some obscure CACC gym, like the Billy Riley Snake Pit in Wigan, England (a comparatively unlikely possibility).

So, it is therefore logical to postulate that Lee may have ultimately sought out a representative of the Scuola Magistrale, whose curriculum to this very day is based on duelling practice. Italian saber fencers are still taught things like molinelli, as well as how to push and pull cuts (i.e., execute drawcuts)--things which are not seen in modern competition at all. Compare the above to modern sabreurs, who are more comfortable scoring their touches with the flat of the blade. Indeed, the modern saber isn't even realistically weighted, for a cutting weapon. Sir Alfred Hutton called the light "Radaellian" duelling saber a "silly little toy", so what would he have thought of the current "weapon"?

Now don't get me wrong--I love modern fencing. My own background is in the French school of foil and saber. When the superfluous elements that plague modern competition are removed (flick attacks in foil, "cuts" with the flat in saber, etc), one still has a nice, functional base to work from, which can blend well with other weapon arts (in my own experience, my fencing background been predominantly beneficial to my FMA training).

And it was also nice to see Sada Jacobson win a medal for the USA this year in women's saber. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

In any case, I'd like to know more about why you feel as you do on these matters. Please feel free to elaborate, as I am admittedly intrigued.

Peace,

A_M_P



[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 11-10-2004).]

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#135670 - 11/12/04 02:44 PM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Hi AMP

I agree that the weapons have got lighter but then the athletes have merely developed to use the tools given. Given the same weapons and the new training methods I believe that superior fencers would have developed nowerdays.

I believe the recorded history of fencing is vague in the extreme. This is much the same as martial arts. In fact that may be why kata's have been used to record techniques rather than a written history. It may just be a better recording methodology?

I can't comment on the grappling argument you put forward as I don't have enough knowledge to argue one way or another, however i do believe that current grapplers are superior to past due to the advancement of training methods and the more free exchange of information.

Womens sabre. (Ugh!!!! We should never have given them the vote!)

JohnL

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#135671 - 11/12/04 07:40 PM Re: Fencing influence on JKD
Anonymous
Unregistered


John,

[QUOTE]Originally posted by JohnL:
Hi AMP

I agree that the weapons have got lighter but then the athletes have merely developed to use the tools given. Given the same weapons and the new training methods I believe that superior fencers would have developed nowerdays.[/QUOTE]


It's not simply a matter of lighter weapons--it's also a matter of the introduction of techniques which have no application whatsoever with real swords.

[QUOTE]I believe the recorded history of fencing is vague in the extreme. This is much the same as martial arts. In fact that may be why kata's have been used to record techniques rather than a written history. It may just be a better recording methodology?[/QUOTE]

We have plenty of surviving manuals from the Renaissance period onwards, and we even have a few from the Middle Ages. We also have other primary sources which comment on the martial practices in various European countries at that time. I contend that the "recorded history of fencing" is not nearly so "vague" as you claim.

[QUOTE]I can't comment on the grappling argument you put forward as I don't have enough knowledge to argue one way or another, however i do believe that current grapplers are superior to past due to the advancement of training methods and the more free exchange of information.[/QUOTE]

Current MMA/NHB grapplers are arguably "superior" to old-time catch-as-catch-can wrestlers, due to both the advances in sports science (exercise, nutrition, supplementation, etc), and rigorous cross-training in other styles (especially Brazilian jiu-jitsu). However, during BL's time, such things weren't generally available. If Bruce wanted to study Western wrestling, he would have been predominantly limited to amateur catch (i.e., freestyle wrestling without submission holds) and Greco-Roman. Such wrestlers would have arguably been superior athletes due to more advanced sport science, etc., but they would not have been as effective from a combative grappling standpoint.

And that's where Gene LeBell comes in.

LeBell was an AAU Heavyweight judo champ, but he also knew non-judo submissions and control techniques from professional CACC wrestling, which by that time had been largely reduced to the "show" wrestling (i.e, modern "pro wrestling") that the unthinking public seems so enamored with. However, there were still legitimate "shooters" in LeBell's day, and they had knowledge in CACC subs that nobody else had--they were the preservers of what was otherwise a "dead" art. Their knowledge of actual historical wrestling technique served them well (an led ultimately to the establishment of Japanese shootfighting, Pancrase, etc).

[QUOTE]Womens sabre. (Ugh!!!! We should never have given them the vote!)[/QUOTE]

LOL!

C'mon, bro--female fencers (and figure skaters) have the best legs and backsides in the modern sports world! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

Peace,

A_M_P




[This message has been edited by Armed_Man_Piker (edited 11-12-2004).]

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