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By Dr Deepak Rao

Mbbs, Md, PhD(Alt Med), DSc(Military Sc, Usa), Clet(Usa), Frsh(Uk), Founder, 6th degree BB, Advanced Commando Combat System

 It is often wondered, why there should be different styles of fighting. There will always be different martial arts styles, but why should there be rules applied to “contact fighting”?

 Bruce Lee has said “As long as an individual has two hands and two legs, he will fight in the same way” Then why do we have Karate Kumite, taekwondo sparring, Judo randori, and wrestling and boxing bouts?

 I think fighting is divided only for convenience into different ranges.

Long distance kicking range, medium distance hand range, intermediate knee & elbow range, close grappling and groundwork ranges.

 Different ethnic groups have developed their own versions of each range, like kicking developed from China would be termed Shaolin Gung Fu, from Japan as Karate, from Korea as Taekwondo, from France as Savate, etc.

 Similarly hand attacks are developed in western boxing, eastern karate, and Filipino Kali.

 Knee elbow attacks are predominantly practiced in Filipino Kali, and in Muoy Thai from Thailand .

 Westerners grapple and do groundwork with Wrestling and easterners with Judo and Dumog.

 So we can conclude that martial arts are divided depending on predominant range and ethnic method of using that range.

But how can free style contact fighting develop without the combination of all ranges and styles?

 Practitioners learn one style and get stuck to its limitations and start believing in it as the only truth. Then they say that they respect other styles. You can only respect a style when you derive from it. When you adopt its advantages and discard its limitations, yes for this you have to first open your mind to learning it. That means starting off as a beginner with the novices after already being an expert in your own style (which can at times seem demoralizing).

 Bruce Lee advocated studying all ranges and imbibing the useful and rejecting the limitations.

So the difficult to execute high kicks of taekwondo may be replaced by the groin and knee kicks, the high guard of boxing be rejected as it does not protect below the belt, while the rabbit and kidney fouls be absorbed. In grappling the fouls of head, neck locks and hammerlocks be absorbed, while the jacket throws be rejected.

 Even on the mat the impact blows of karate be used along with the matwork principles of pinning of judo, along with the locking techniques of Filipino dumog and western wrestling.

 Bruce Lee outlined these principles in his Jeet Kune Do and firmly stated that JKD is not a new system. But there are spates of JKD style schools all over the world. The immature martial artists’ search for a new style will never end.

 All full contact martial artists must therefore advocate fighting in all ranges as part of their training curriculum. 


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