The following is a review of Teri Tom's work of JKD fiction. If I'm not mistaken, Rick is a student of Sifu Patrick Strong. Enjoy.
Good intention, but falls short, August 17, 2009
By Rick Bulwicz
I bought this book with great anticipation, but was severely disappointed. Teri Tom studied with Ted Wong (no disrespect to Sifu Wong) for a few years and thinks she's an authority on JKD? Mmmm...
I've studied Jun Fan and JKD for 19 years, with direct students of Bruce Lee from Seattle, Oakland, and L.A. eras. Ms. Tom has A LOT to learn.
This book covers good, basic information about stance and the straight lead, although it is incomplete. It's all stuff I've seen for years in Black Belt and Inside Kung Fu magazines. Nothing new except for the notes on Bruce's research from his books.
Although Tom claims JKD is not modified Wing Chun, sorry... that's what it is. The JKD stance is a Wing Chun right-facing forward stance with a raised heel and forward attack weight. Nothing more. See the book "Advanced Wing Chun" by William Cheung on page 21 for the proof. The JKD stance has all of the triangulation, loaded hip, and internal alignment of the WC stance. Of course if you asked her, she wouldn't have any idea of what you're asking about. You cannot fully understand JKD unless you have the Wing Chun principals! That's why Bruce could make other things work - he used the WC principals to improve and integrate other techniques. This is also why there aren't many great JKD fighters... they don't have any understanding of the WC attributes that made JKD work for Bruce Lee. Pat Strong and James Demile (both Seattle students) told me how Bruce Lee came back to Seattle after moving to Oakland to show them how he modified his stance. He MODIFIED the WC stance, he DID NOT invent a new one based on boxing and fencing as Tom indicates. That's absurd.
Tom also claims Bruce abandoned Wing Chun. He didn't... it abandoned him. Bruce didn't finish his WC training. When he went back to Yip Man years later, he was refused because he had disrespected traditional martial arts openly. So Bruce had to integrate other things into his art to make up for the shortcomings he never learned. This is documented and common knowledge.
The straight lead is also a plain ol' traditional Wing Chun punch (Chun Chuie). Bruce did not invent either the JKD stance or straight lead by combining boxing and fencing. They have existed for a hundreds of years before he was born within Wing Chun. He had notes on boxing in books. I have notes on different religions in my books. It doesn't mean I practice all of them. They are REFERENCES. Bruce didn't need books on WC because he studied it for years under Yip Man and knew it. There also weren't any WC books available at that time. That's why Teri Tom finds so many boxing books and notes at her disposal. But she takes this as being all Bruce was interested in. Is this what she considers research?
Teri also failed to include some of the mechanical principals in describing the lead punch. She left out the immovable elbow, hammer principal, final power (fa-jing), penetration, back/shoulder sealing and unity, sinking weight, small arc (cam) principal, non-intention... I can go on. Her footwork is also an incomplete mess... no spring energy, hip loading, critical edge, start speed, short arc, tilted hip... I can rip this book apart page-by-page, but space is limited here. She even mistakes low-line hooks for a Straight Blast in one of the Bruce documentary films. C'mon, you don't know what a straight blast is? (page 179) She also doesn't understand falling step power, stating to land the punch BEFORE your foot hits the ground. The power comes up from the ground when you contact it through the locked knee.
Even her "interview" with Ted Wong is skewed. She blatantly asks questions that point into the direction of her beliefs. They are clearly manipulative in nature.
This book basically contains beginner info written by a beginner. Nothing replaces a good instructor, especially a bad book. Her knowledge of Wing Chun is so superficial that she makes bad comparisons between WC and JKD. How can you criticize and art you barely have any knowledge of? Teri Tom needs to take the blinders off and gain a little humility.