JKD Stance

Readying Your Body & Mind

1.) Dress for ease of movement. In any martial art, proper attire will be the difference between being able to carry out a move or getting tangled in your own clothing. Whatever you choose to wear, you'll want it to provide free range of motion without being loose enough to entangle yourself or allow your opponent to easily grab a hold of you.

  • Simple gym gear might be suitable for your martial arts training. A pair of athletic shorts and a t-shirt won't get in your way and will provide minimal chances for an opponent to grab on to.

2.)  Warm up your muscles and stretch. If your muscles are stiff, it could negatively impact your ability to adopt the proper stance and pull off even simple moves. Consider taking a warm up jog so you're body is fully ready to practice your art and be sure you stretch all your muscles thoroughly.

  • Some studies have shown that you cannot get the best stretch without warming up first. Other warm up activities include push ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, bicycling, and more.
  • Warming up and stretching could also prevent you from straining yourself while practicing your Jeet Kune Do. Straining your muscles before you are ready could result in a pulled muscle.

3.) Understand the mechanics behind a lead step stance. The lead step stance is an active body position that limits potential strikes to your body while enabling you to defend or attack easily. The key feature of the lead step is its thrust. All motion and force should begin with your back leg, extending through your body and into whatever move you try.

  • Body alignment is an important part of any martial art stance. This will reinforce whatever stance you take. A bent back will negatively impact your balance and limbs unaligned at joints will be more prone to sprains, strains, and breaks.
  • Always try to limit the potential for counters and strikes in your stance. Provide your opponent as few of targets as possible by angling your body to him so one of your sides, and not your front or back, faces him as often as possible.
  • Especially when training with a partner, but also in real life scenarios, it's important to coordinate your motion with your opponent. Train your reflexes so that you begin your attacks/blocks to coincide with your opponent. This will limit his ability to respond or change his approach

4.) Know the path of force. The thrust of all your martial movements will begin in your back leg, extending through your body and target. A common mistake of novices is to aim at the target and not through it. This, however, will limit the force with which you hit since you'll be stopping your strike at the surface of the target. To ensure you hit with the full brunt of your blow, always punch through your target to the space beyond it.

  • Since the goal of most martial arts is to train you for self-defense in potentially dangerous situations, you should train your reflexes to have the greatest effect. This means you'll have to break bad habits, like stopping your strike preemptively at the surface of your target.
  • While training, you'll should always begin with slow, precise, concentrated movements. This will prevent you from hurting your training partner or yourself if you are practicing on a heavy back or some other kind of equipment. As your precision and muscle memory improves, you can begin to speed up your motions.

Stance JKD Concepts stance is too open (balls)/close off a little – front toe should line up with rear arch Practice everything from complete stillness – no preparation 

Adopting the Lead Step Stance

1.) Lead with your dominant foot. If you don't know which foot is dominant, you can find this out by performing a simple test. Stand with your feet should width apart and begin to lean forward until you fall. The foot you catch yourself with is generally your dominant foot. You'll also want to...

  • Have the left or right side of your body facing your target/opponent, never the front or back. Facing a real life opponent with the front or back of your body will open up many vulnerable points, like your stomach and groin.
  • Coordinate your dominant foot with the side of your body. If your dominant foot in your right foot, face your opponent with the right side of your body. If your dominant foot is your left, face him with the left side of your body.
  • Experienced martial artists are able to change fluidly between leftward/rightward orientation. However, this can be awkward for beginners. It may take time and practice before you are comfortable leading with your non-dominant side

 2.) Close off your body. Angle your lead foot slightly toward the front of your body. You want your lead foot to mostly face your target/opponent, but by turning your foot slightly inward toward your body, your body will naturally be oriented in a way that limits you from presenting vulnerable points on your body.

3.) Position your feet and legs. Standing flat footed will create an imbalanced stance, and standing too far forward on your feet will do the same. Your weight should be concentrated at a point slightly behind the balls of your feet, and your knees should have a small bend. Your rear leg should be a little more bent than your front, and your legs should be roughly shoulder width apart.

  • Your back leg being the place where the force of your strike originates in lead step stance, should be more active than your front. This means that your weight will be distributed on your rear foot a little farther forward than that of your front, resulting in a slightly raised heel.
  • Bending your legs too much, often referred to as a "deep stance," will make it difficult for you to spring into action. A neutral, at-the-ready stance will prepare you best to be like water and meet whatever situation may come

4.)  Ready your hands. Bend your arms so that each is close to your body. Leading too far with your front hand will give opponents the ability to slap your hand out of the way, compromising your stance. Your front hand should be at about chin level a small distance in front of you. Your back hand should be at about the same position, placed so that it is at or slightly below chin level.

  • You may want to curl your hands into fists so that you are ready to punch, or you may want a more defensive open-hand position. Either of these work well with lead step stance

5.) Align your body. To execute most moves, you'll have to bend your elbows and knees, transferring your weight and motion into the force of a strike or block. However, a well-aligned limb will withstand force better, protecting you from sprains, strains, and breaks. In particular, you should...

  • Keep your back straight, your shoulders down (don't hunch), and relax your body. Generally, your posture should be tall without being strained, straight without being overextended, and at ease without being lazy. Your head should be down, but your eyes should be up.
  • Keep your hands aligned with your forearms. Striking an opponent/target with a bent wrist is likely to do as much damage to you as your target

Natural Stance

From a natural stance (arms crossed or whatever)  

  • Hit without preparation
  • Other man tries to read his attack and parry it

By-Jong Stance (small phasic bent knee stance “SPBKS”)

The stance that is used in JKD is the by-jong stance (small phasic bent knee stance “SPBKS”). It is not a deep/powerful stance like in other martial arts, but one that concentrates on mobility first and foremost. A wide stance is fine if you are a Karate practitioner in a tournament where side-kicks to the knee are not permitted, but in the real world if you are in a stance like that your knee will be shattered effortlessly by your opponent if it is attacked. In the street you must be able to move well to survive! Your feet must be far enough apart so your stance is not lacking the application of power, but not so wide that you cannot move quickly (about shoulder width apart, not too wide, not too close). Your body must be in a medium crouch and leaning slightly forward. Make sure you are light on your feet. Maintain your balance when moving quickly. Be up on the balls of your feet, alert in the feet means you are alert in your mind too, and have balance split evenly between your right foot and the ball of your left foot. Do not commit yourself too much in movement, this decreases mobility. It is more important for the individual to feel comfortable in his/her stance so stances can vary from individual to individual. Your feet should be at a 45 degree angle, keeping your hands by your head for protection, and always covering your centerline (i.e. do not let your hands pass your nose on either side, if they must move more pivot the body instead of the arm). Once you feel comfortable you must begin to practice moving around. Practice starting from a standing position and then get into your stance as fast as possible then stop and see what is out of place or needs to be fixed. Do this until it is done without thought, everything is perfect and how you want it instantly.   

Use small quick steps for speed and to control your balance when you are bridging the gap between you and your opponent (small shifting steps). You must be ready to adapt to your opponents movements and be able to change stance or movement in any direction at any moment. Bent knees and being up on your toes insures that you are ready. It is of utmost importance to be at ease and relaxed in your stance then you will move smoothly. Your left hand should be up by your face like you are talking on the telephone (your main defending hand), and your right hand should be in front of the body in level with your chest (your main attacking hand), but not too far forward or else your opponent may attack it. Your chin and shoulder should come towards each other to protect your chin and face. Keep your elbows close to your body to protect your ribs. Be loose and relaxed, do not tense any of your muscles, loose is fast! Practice all punches and kicks from your stance, but make sure that there is no unnecessary movement (telegraphing), all tools should come directly from the stance position straight towards the target and should end in the position they started in. In this stance you will attack primarily with the lead hand/foot.  

JKD Footwork

Jeet Kune Do Symbol

“Footwork and the straight lead are the back bone of JKD”

Footwork (Right Lead) 

1. Lead Step (3 ways) 

2. Rear Step (To Kick or Avoid Punch) (Or to Punch) – One step back with rear foot 

3. Step & Slide 

4. Step & Slide (Quick Advance) 

5. Slide Forward 

6. Slide Back 

7. Pendulum 

8. Step Right & Left 

9. Curve Right & Left 

10. Step Out Right & Left 

11. Rear Leg Slide Out Right with Side Kick 

12. Quick Step Left 13. Push Step 

14. Lead Step & Slide 

15. Heel & Toe Sway 

16. Rocker Shuffle 

17. Step Thru Forward & Back 

18. Circle Right & Left 

19. Only Front Foot Slides Back (Can do this by stepping up with left & crash & hit) 

20. Angle Right with Punch (By stepping out and back with right foot & step left with left foot and hit with left.) 

21. Pivot (clock pivot) 

22. Replace 

"Footwork is the transportation for your JKD techniques." -Dan Inosanto

Footwork Drills

1. Mirror Drill 

2. Shadow Closing  

a. A: Moves forward – bridges the gap (Doesn’t touch B)   B: Retreats  

b. Same but B moves back, Left, Right, O, Stop, Stop and Move  

c. Do with B wearing focus gloves 

3. Slide back to push step forward (To punch) 

4. Rear foot step back to push step forward (To punch) 

5. Slide forward to push step forward (To punch) 

6. Slide back keeping weight on front foot to slide up and kick. 

7. Push step forward 2 or 3 times 

8. Quick Advance 2 or 3 times (step & step) 

9. Pivot to slide forward, back, push step, or lead step 

10. Push step back to lead step forward 

11. Curve right to lead step, push step slide step, counter to shoot 

12. Quick step left to lead step, push step, or slide 

13. Curve left to slide, lead step. Push step (Work on body feel) 

14. Slide back to slide or push step forward depending on where your weight is. 

15. Slide back to curve right 

16. Push step forward to slide forward or slide to step. 

17. Burst to slide or push forward 

18. Mirror drill right to left 

19. Step thru forward or back to some of above  

"The essence of fighting is the art of moving at the right time." -Bruce Lee

Control distance, so you can control time  

  • Your footwork is what controls the distance

Quick Steps (Ted Wong Footwork)  

  • Multiple steps – advance (don’t slide your feet, sliding your feet puts on the brakes)
  • Retreat
  • Also don’t hop or bounce
  • Keep upper body loose
  • Vary the distances
  • Bruce called them rabbit steps
  • Use with the straight blast

Side step (left and right)  Application:  Use with hits (straight lead or hooks)