JKD Concepts in MMA

JKD techniques and concepts are is used in close-to-real life fight situations in Mixed Martial Art bouts. These techniques might not have been identified as JKD techniques per say but they are governed by the principles and concepts of JKD. Three key aspects of JKD are studied in professional bouts. We can see a number of combat situations in MMA (Ultimate Fighting Championship – UFC USA / Full Contact Fighting, FCF Russia etc.). Some are illustrated below;

Interception

Interception is at the heart of Jeet Kune Do. Bruce Lee said “every attack from your opponent offers you an opportunity to intercept it with an attack of your own”. As mentioned earlier, it is the single most useful aspect of JKD in a combat. Not to say it requires a high degree of expertise and skill.

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Bruce Lee intercepting the left Jab of his opponent with a Lead Hook, shown in the video of Longstreet

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Conor McGregor intercepting his opponents lead Jab with his own Lead Jab in a live MMA fight in UFC

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A MMA fighter (in Black Gloves) intercepting his opponents rear cross with his own Lead Jab in a live MMA fight.


Lead Leg Attacks

In principle JKD does not exclude any technique. One can use any technique he deems useful in a fight. However it highly scientific and favorable to adhere to attacks done by lead hand and lead legs. Lead Leg attacks provide a great advantage of quick reach to the target as the distance between the attacking hand/leg and the target is shorter. This principle also allows one to naturally develop Non-telegraphic movement. These techniques are based on the principle of "longest weapon against nearest target"

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Bruce Lee demonstrating a Lead leg front kick on the opponents wrist/forearm.

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Conor McGregor using the technique of Lead leg side Kick on the opponents Knee in a MMA bout in UFC.

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Jon Jones using the technique of Lead leg side Kick on the opponents Knee in a MMA bout in UFC.


Jab-Double Leg Pick-up

Bruce Lee developed this combination technique as a transition from striking range to grappling range. Although it is a simple combination it is highly effective in a combat. It starts with a Jab to force the opponents guard up and follows up with a double leg pickup. It is one of the strategic techniques mentioned in Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

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Illustration of the technique in the book Tao of Jeet Kune Do

First phase of the technique

First phase of the technique, a straight jab, executed by Georges St-Pierre on an opponent in UFC.

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Final phase of the technique, a double leg pickup, executed by Georges St-Pierre on an opponent in UFC.


Single Leg Pick-up

Another simple technique elaborated in Tao of Jeet Kune Do is to catch the kicking leg of the opponent at an opportune moment in the execution of the kick by the opponent and lift the leg to eventually throw the opponent on ground.

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The photo below shows the technique elaborated as an inset and the same executed by Georges St-Pierre on an opponent in UFC.


Trapping

Trapping is one of the least focused but most useful technique in MMA if used correctly. These techniques act like a great tool to attack the opponent by immobilising his key weapon (his hand/hands). They also greatly help in transitioning from boxing to knee – elbow or grappling range. Some of the MMA professionals have been using the trapping in a very subtle manner.

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Bruce Lee demonstrating the Pak-Sao Eye gouge on an opponent in the movie Enter The Dragon.

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Conor McGregor executing a Lop-Sao Cross punch on his opponent in a live MMA fight in UFC.

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Conor McGregor executing a Pak-Sao Cross punch on his opponent in a live MMA fight in UFC.


Non-telegraphic Attacks

Lee felt that explosive attacks with no telegraphing signs of intention were best. He argued that the attacks should catch the opponent off-guard, throwing them off their balance and leaving them unable to defend against further attacks. "The concept behind this is that when you initiate your punch without any forewarning, such as tensing your shoulders or moving your foot or body, the opponent will not have enough time to react," Lee wrote. The key is that one must keep one's body and arms loose, weaving one's arms slightly and only becoming tense upon impact. Lee wanted no wind-up movements or "get ready poses" to prelude any JKD attacks. Lee explained that any twitches or slight movements before striking should be avoided as they will give the opponent signs or hints as to what is being planned and then they will be able to strike first while one is preparing an attack. Consequently, non-telegraphed movement is an essential part of Jeet Kune Do philosophy.

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Bruce Lee demonstrating a non-telegraphic oblique kick on his opponent in a movie Way of the Dragon.

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Jon Jones executing a non-telegraphic oblique kick on his opponent in a live MMA bout in UFC.