Whilst it is widely known as a sport, the 'noble art' of Boxing is, in its purest form, a no nonsense highly effective art which has developed through being tested 'in the fire' almost everyday, somewhere in the world. A perfect example of the 'less is more' approach, its simplicity is one of its greatest assets but in this case 'simple' should not be mistaken for 'easy' as the art requires the development of attributes which are at the very core of our being.
With the element of contact ever present, the reality of its training methods (including sparring) has lead to it being incorporated into a number of modern day approaches to Martial Arts. Many Martial Artists consider their ability to deal with the Boxer's arsenal one of the ultimate 'acid tests' within their training.
Combat Submission Wrestling
Devised by former World Light-Heavyweight Shoot Fighting Champion Erik Paulson, Combat Submission Wrestling is a distillation of his tremendous experience as both a competitor and a teacher. Uniquely blending almost all of the ground fighting systems, the breadth of the floor portion of Combat Submission Wrestling is awe-inspiring.
Erik's ability to devise drills that challenge practitioners on all levels is why he is considered by many as the 'teacher's teacher'.
Comprehensive in both standing and takedown phases, Combat Submission Wrestling is a modern day Martial Art which reflects the current trend for reality based Martial Arts.
Jeet Kune Do (JKD)
JKD refers to a set of concepts laid down by the late Bruce Lee to govern effective Martial Arts practice. With the development of the individual as its ultimate goal it is this quest that can often lead an individual to investigate a number of Martial Arts systems. Heavily grounded in the training of attributes such as timing, and distance awareness, it is often felt that JKD practitioners view the Martial Arts as a menu from which that which best suits them can be picked. However, if someone finds all they need to be effective within one system then that is every bit as valid an example of JKD as those that draw from more than one art.
For me, the JKD approach goes way beyond Martial Arts. It is an approach to life that seeks to help you consolidate strengths, identify weaknesses and continue to grow into the unknown. Bruce lee once said of JKD, "it's just a name, don't fuss over it", that advice still seems valid today with the process being more important than its name.
The Filipino Martial Arts (as taught by Guro Dan Inosanto)
Combining both weapons based and empty hand training, the Filipino Martial Arts are incredibly well rounded with all ranges of combat fully addressed. The two approaches to training are complimentary with the weapons based approach magnifying the body mechanics that can later be translated into the empty hand phases.
With no restrictions, the entire body is used to strike and deflect in a continuous flow of motion; there is almost a total absence of any blocking in the traditional sense. The variety of options found within the weapons practice includes single & double stick, single & double knife, stick and knife, and flexible weapons. The length of the weapon directly affects the type of body mechanic enhanced and the emphasis on the need to flow between ranges mirrors that of its empty hand counterpart.
The empty hand phase includes the sub-sections of Panantukan and Pananjakman that cover use of the upper and lower limbs for striking and off-setting of balance to influence the opponent's position. The translation of weapons based movements to empty hand allows for a unique approach to destroying limbs prior to attacking the major targets so as to facilitate a more humane approach to a combative situation. This phase also includes the practice of 'Hubud', a flowing exercise used to both develop sensitivity and to recreate the combative energy feel of a centre line attack.
Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)
Like it's Western counterpart, Muay Thai has its roots in reality but is able to offer a greater variety of tools with elbows, knees, and shins all being thrown into the mix. Guro Inosanto's early observation that "the secret to Thai Boxing is that there is no secret…just hard work" pays homage to the work ethic that sets this art apart. The 'tie up' or 'plumb' position is almost an art in itself and this, allied with the brutal onslaught of punching and kicking combinations, has led to it being recognised and respected by practitioners of all arts.
Many people have incorporated the use of the 'Thai Pad' into their repertoire thereby allowing them to blend technical training with what is arguably one of the toughest cardio-vascular workouts that the Martial Arts can offer. The Integrated Arts Thai Boxing lineage comes from the wonderful Master Toddy (who is now located in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) who taught both Gary Derrick and Gordon McAdam, the men who were good enough to share the art with me.
The Jun Fan Martial Arts
Jun Fan Gung Fu takes its name from Bruce Lee's Chinese name of 'Lee Jun Fan', combined with Gung-Fu, the Cantonese spelling of the term Kung-Fu.
A definable system comprising of both 'Jun Fan Kickboxing' and 'Jun Fan Wing Chun' (Lee's modified version of the art) its practice includes the use of punching, kicking, trapping, take-downs and groundwork. Drawing heavily on Western Boxing and the more traditional kicking methods found within Japanese and Korean Martial Arts, 'Jun Fan Kickboxing' is a fine 'base' system for anyone later interested in delving further into the JKD concepts. It allows for the development of the basic tools of combat as well as the attributes which need to be developed for their effective execution.
Whilst devoid of the traditional art's forms, 'Jun Fan Wing Chun' does incorporate the wooden dummy sets albeit in a modified form (these are later augmented by the JKD sets). The use of 'reference points' to recreate positions within combat allows for the development of trapping skills which are enhanced within the practice of 'Chi-Sau' (sticking hands). The use of training equipment such as focus gloves and kicking shields allows the practitioner to move away from static drilling and develop within an environment closer to the unrehearsed atmosphere of combat.