The essence of Jeet Kune Do begins in the BiJong stance. Without a thorough understanding of the BiJong stance your Jeet Kune Do will never fully develop. In this article, I would like to discuss some of the important keys that lie in the overall development of this unique stance. Bruce Lee's BiJong stance clearly allowed him to explode with maximum energy while using minimum effort. The first key in allowing maximum power is to have the body in a semi-relaxed state, like a coiled snake ready to strike. When the body is too tense there will be a constant draw of energy from it. The second key is to achieve correct body alignment within the BiJong stance. Your body will then work as a solid unit. The third key is the ability to draw needed energy from the ground. You need to have a solid connection from the ground to your body to channel power. Channeling power is like a baseball player as he begins his swing towards the baseball, its all based on body mechanics. The BiJong stance done correctly will help facilitate totality fighting by enabling your body to become a catalyst to bring forth energy from the ground to the weapon of choice. Your body is capable of becoming a channeling device for the transference of energy and it all starts from the ground.
Lets look at he BiJong stance broken down. First you need solid ground support. Then you need to transfer the energy from the ground to 6 junctions of the body. The junctions are the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow and wrist. Each junction produces momentum from the previous allowing your body to produce a whipping force. Similar to switching on a light, the energy transfer is immediate. This is sometimes referred to as internal rotation. You want to quickly twist your body around your spine to achieve maximum torque.
Proper alignment and a pure understanding of your body will help maximize the efficiency of the BiJong stance. Proper alignment will also help you channel the power through your body without a significant loss of power, equating to maximum efficiency. You need to spend time training your body to be a superior conductor of energy like copper, which makes a better conductor for electricity than wood. Visualize a bolt of lightning coming from the ground through your body to your target. All Jeet Kune Do techniques are a direct result of the BiJong stance. Think of the BiJong stance as a launching pad. Through all the advances in missile technology one thing remains, the need for a launching pad. You can compare a smart bomb to a man highly trained in Jeet Kune Do and the outdated Scud missile to an untrained street fighter. The smart bomb and the scud missile can both cause great harm, the difference is accuracy, speed and the power of the payload. If you continue to hone the BiJong stance all other skills will be intensified. The BiJong stance is what will truly catapult you into greatness. Without a refined BiJong stance, execution of techniques will have a moderate result. Let me reiterate that all the techniques in the Jeet Kune Do approach are simple extensions of the BiJong stance. It is the BiJong stance that starts the theory of economics in Jeet Kune Do. "Economy of motion means all motions start from the BiJong position" Bruce Lee.
What is Bijong?To properly get into the BiJong position you begin by taking a natural step forward with your strong side. Next turn your lead and rear foot to approximately 11 o'clock. At this point your lead hip should be between 1 - 2 o'clock. Then bring up your rear heal so you are on the ball of the foot. Make sure there is a slight bend in both of the knees to allow a feeling of suspension. Next bring your lead shoulder between 1 -2 o'clock and check to make sure it's closely aligned with your lead hip. Then bring you rear fist up close to your rear cheek while keeping your elbow tucked to your side. Then position your lead fist approximately 12 inches in front of your lead cheek. These are a few basic elements to get started. Your Jeet Kune Do instructor should be able to help you fine-tune your BiJong stance.
Once you truly understand the body mechanics of the BiJong position you can begin to investigate the multitude of weapons at your disposal. To comprehend Bruce Lee's truth of combat, your thinking must eventually exist outside the parameters of traditional martial arts. You need to understand that humans only have two arms and two legs and unless there is a new species introduced on earth that has four legs and three arms, your task as a Jeet Kune Do practitioner is to find the cause of ignorance. Bruce Lee based his fighting approach with the daily understanding of hacking away the unessential. My Sifu Ted Wong always reminds me that it's not the techniques that you possess but the understanding and the refinement of each technique. You need to own each technique and remember it's not the daily increase but the daily decrease. You should also take into consideration that you need to accumulate a certain amount of viable information and have a thorough understanding of the martial art material that you posses. You can then make an educational decision of what information needs to be discarded.
Bruce Lee had an uncanny way to filter unrealistic and impractical movements; you need to strive for a fighting eye. Time is a precious commodity, use it wisely. In your BiJong position, quick recovery after execution of techniques is essential. You need to fire your weapons quickly and recover to continue your offensive or defensive maneuver. Remember the five ways of attack all posses an important key word to understand Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK! Your BiJong stance done correctly will conceal your intentions. The BiJong will become your strength or your weakness and it is in this position that totality fighting can be attained. I feel the same way Bruce Lee did, you must have the ability to adapt to your environment and attain excellence outside of all fixed patterns. You must attain chameleon attributes and you must be able to blend the concepts of yin yang philosophy and graft it to your physical and mental being.
Yip Man once said it is difficult to find a good student but it's just as difficult to find a good Sifu. I am fortunate to have Sifu Ted Wong as my instructor. He has given me the essence of Jeet Kune Do as taught to him personally by Bruce Lee. Bruce showed Ted Wong how to be self-expressive and to free his mind of restrictions and limitations. Ted Wong has passed that knowledge to me and I am very grateful. His footwork, hand speed and combinations have been a powerful influence in my training. I have been privileged to train with many other Bruce Lee students which has also helped in expanding my Jeet Kune Do. Dan Lee has a unique way to convey the philosophy of JKD and his broken rhythm is incredible. Jessie Glover has helped strengthen my yang Chi Sau structure and truly made me realize how important structure, position and body alignment are in JKD. Steve Golden has given me his prospective on trapping and sparring as well as Chi Sau and other components of the JKD method. I would also like to give credit to Master Samuel Kwok, my Wing Chun instructor. Sifu Kwok is the most senior instructor under Yip Man sons Yip Chun Yip Jing. He has helped me immensely in understanding the original Wing Chun system. Our recent trip to Hong Kong and China will be memorable for years to come. My solid understanding of the Wing Chun system certainly has to do with Sifu Kwok. His Chi Sau is rock solid and his understanding of Wing Chun is very thorough. I would also like to mention another man that has recently influenced my training, Jerry Poteet. Jerry and I have only known each other for a short time. He recently did a closed seminar for my students at my academy. Jerry possesses a great deal of knowledge on JKD and was also trained by Bruce Lee in the Chinatown school. I enjoy his straightforward personality. Our private time was spent on stories and Bruce and the famous sparring sessions and techniques of the Chinatown school. I consider myself blessed to have many great influences in my Gung Fu training.
To conclude, there are no shortcuts in Jeet Kune Do. My Sifu always told me, "if you want Bruce Lee results you must put in Bruce Lee hours." No matter who you are, if you want excellence in Jeet Kune Do, you must clock in the hours of Bruce Lee. Practice intelligently and seek simplicity.
Sifu David Gallaher is certified to teach Jeet Kune Do under Sifu Ted Wong. He is available for seminars and can be reached at the Gung Fu Institute.