Smoky Mountain Jeet Kune Do Association hosted a day seminar in Blairsville, GA today. I was invited by a co-worker who I've discussed MA with for years. His instructor Brent Lance was the primary at the seminar, but they had a bunch of instructors and assistant instructors for lots of one-on-one. Most were longtime students of Vic Payne.

As I was a visitor, I don't want to try to quote the whole lineage from memory, and I don't claim any prior experience with JKD. I posted in Newbietown since it wasn't a proper "school" review and I don't know enough to critique, just sharing my experience instead.

I had an awesome time. If I heard correctly Sifu Lance has a day-job as a physics teacher (high-school I think). So his explanations were framed in the physics behind each technique, which seemed to suit the JKD philosophy well. He is also in a great enough physical condition to look geniunely dangerous regardless of his years of martial arts training. His bio and a quick google show he has spent time in the ring, boxing, kickboxing, and unsanctioned "toughman style" competitions. Organization certified + ring time + public educator + fighting level of fitness = seems like a qualified instructor, in my opinion.

We warmed up, the assistants demonstrated some applications, then Sifu Lance would explain a concept and a drill that applied it. We then performed the drill while the instructors went around making corrections and answering questions.

This went on from about 10-12:30, short break for lunch, then a several more hours of the same. We covered different types of footwork, attacks, slipping, counter-punching, the Hammer Principle, crispy/uncrispy, kicks, leg obstructions, and a lot that escapes my memory at the moment.

With each technique came a brief explanation of the reasoning behind it, including the physics, applications, and reasoning behind it. Sometimes variations for body-type or situations were included. Anything he discussed or demonstrated we practice in partner work, with the exception of leg obstructions. Most came with an explanation on how we could practice alone or with a partner later to explore each further.

After this, Sifu Larry Rice gave a Filipino MA demonstration with a couple of his assistants. The gentleman on the other end, whose name eludes me, seemed to be fully resisting, or nearly so on every demonstration. It was painful to watch at times, and I can only imagine how it felt. Sifu Rice stopped mid-technique several times for a quick verbal safety check. When they were done, they both had the marks of guys who had been rolling hard on the mats. There was full reciprocation, so a couple times Sifu Rice seemed to get countered as hard as he was giving.

Next Abraham Patrick demonstrated and drilled us on a few Muay Thai techniques, and the principles behind them. My partner was an older gentleman, former military and very tough. On the clench and breaking clench drills my ears got rubbed real good, and he nearly put me into the floor a couple times.

It was a hell of a good time, and since we got about 6 1/2 hours actual instruction for $40, it was cheaper than most ways I could have spent my Saturday. I've got a lot of new tools to play with, got sweaty and sore, and learned some fundamentals of an art I've long been curious about. Very happy.

The most important personal thing I learned, was that I'm going to have to strengthen my feet. I've had an ankle injury, and flat feet, so I walk around basically just dropping them in front of me. All the foot work in the beginning really taxed the small muscles in my feet and ankles that have been underused, even though I was in decent shoes. I'm going to spend more time barefoot, moving around instead of just clopping along.