Martial Arts/need some advice

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i am a 19 years old kid who loves bruce lee and his jkd. i've been researching and studying them since 2008 trough all kinds of videos and books i can get.
I really want to practice jkd but so far i couldn't find any instructor in my area and since the possibility is a bit low i am thinking about alternatives and right now what i found that i think the best are wing chun and krav maga. The WC instructor is a student (and certified instructor) under sifu randy williams and the KM one studied and is certified under haim gidon from IKMA. I had the chance to try out both for 2 classes and in one hand i was tempted to go to wing chun because i love trapping and it was the base system for the development of jkd but there are some things i really don't like (forms, too much limitation of movement, weird defense techniques etc) and other things that bother me a bit and make me question if what they teach me can actually be useful for a self defense situation. In the other hand krav maga is well known to be a very practical system for self defense and can be learn a bit faster but one of the problems is the class has so much students that we can't move freely without colliding with each other, among some other less good things.
My top priority is choosing which one is more like jkd. is it WC because of being the "core" of jkd and some principles they share in common or is it KM because of being a modern system without wasting time on forms and other useless stuff like jkd does?
My second priority is choosing  something that can help me defend myself and does not build a false sense of confidence. I have trained taekwondo ITF for 7 years and when i quit i did not feel that i could defend myself if a situation arise and felt that more than 80% of the things i learnt were garbage (like forms, pre-coordinated drills, sparring in a straight line etc) and i don't want to feel that again after so much time of training.
Sorry for such a long question, i just need some advice having those things i said in mind, what would you recommend me doing? There are other martial arts around here so you can give your opinion if you feel that there are better options than these.
Thank you very much for your time.

Answer
Hello,

Thank you for writing to me with your martial arts query.  You pose a very valid question...one that was well thought out in advance.  Let me say up front that both Wing Chun and Krav Maga are fine systems and both can be very effective if the practitioner becomes adept.  There are no superior martial arts... only superior martial artists.

That said, let me get to the meat of your question.

Both Krav and Wing Chun share similarities with Jeet Kune Do.  Obviously, as you pointed out, Ip Man's Wing Chun was the base system from which Bruce Lee built his Jun Fan Gungfu, which ultimately became the JKD you admire.  JKD and WC share similar trapping, straight blast punching, and methods of entering, intercepting and deflecting.  Krav Maga, being without preset forms, shares that eclectic, "freestyle" aspect with JKD, along with its focus on "real world" combat effectiveness and no frills simplicity.  I have studied (briefly) both WC (Yuen Kay San lineage) and Krav Maga while I was doing the 'martial tourist' thing and experimenting with various fighting disciplines.  They both offer viable fighting skills to the dedicated student.

Wing Chun will provide you what most folks consider advanced hand skills, similar to those you encounter in JKD.  Wing Chun tends to be without many of the frills you may see in other systems of Chinese boxing.  For a traditional Chinese martial art form, WC is widely considered to be to-the-point with a focus on street effectiveness.  You are, however, correct in your observation that WC is a structured, traditional fighting form that incorporates form sets and prescribed methods of movement.  It also involves traditional weapons training at some point.  

Bottom line, making WC a reliable means of self defense will take time, and will be dependent on (a) how well you absorb its mechanics of movement, and (b) whether you personally like the system.  If the system feels "wrong" to you and you simply don't like it, you likely will never develop an acceptable degree of competency.  If you lack confidence in the system's methodologies, you will not be an effective fighter using its techniques.  That is true of all the fighting arts, for the most part.  If you like practicing WC, you will be diligent in your training and will eventually become capable.

Krav Maga was created, similar to JKD, from an amalgamation of techniques from other, established martial art disciplines.  The creator of Krav assembled what he believed to be the simplest, most effective techniques that could be taught to fighters in an accelerated fashion, taking much less time to build proficiency than traditional fighting forms.  The Israeli martial arts---Krav Maga, Commando Krav Maga, Haganah, and KAPAP--- are all excellent choices for someone wishing to develop street worthy self defense capability without the structure of more traditional martial systems.  Krav is battle tested and proven effective in 21st century scenarios.

Think back to your experiences in both the Wing Chun and the Krav schools.  Which one did you like the best, overall?  Which school would you be most energetic and optimistic about going to class at and training?  At the end of the day, the best advice I can offer you is to choose the system that feels best to you... the one you like the best.  If you like it, you will practice it often.  If you practice often, you will get good.  It really is as simple as that.

Some other things to consider:  You also have to like the studio environment at whatever school you pick, and the school needs to be within a reasonable commute.  The cost needs to be acceptable and you have to like the instructor staff as well as your fellow students.  Class schedules have to be consistent with your personal and work schedule so it is convenient for you to attend.  Those things all play a role in shaping whether you enjoy your training experience.  That makes them important elements to consider when choosing a school.  

Hope this helps and good luck.  You can't go wrong regardless of which system you ultimately elect to go with.  

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Phillip A. Humphries

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Common sense application of martial art in self defense situations involving common street threats. I am a novelist, associate producer, dj, cook and martial arts writer. My martial arts fantasy novel is available on Amazon in paperback & Kindle ebook - "Legend of the Four Dragons Sword." I am a former police officer, soldier, sailor and a retiree from CIA. Martial arts focus is on realistic approach to self defense for common H2H encounters. My advice is tailored to the everyday Joe/Jane who attends a Karate, Aikido or Taekwondo class maybe once a week and seeks reassurance that they can apply basic concepts from what they learn in the world we live in.

Experience

I have a 40-year background in martial art. I hold Dan grade in USKS Karate from USA Martial Arts Alliance's Dr. Jim Thomas, Sensei, as well as Dan grade in kempo karate from Shodai Gary Dill of Self Defense Systems, Intl. I have been a personal student of Wushu Master Lu Xiaolin of O-Mei Wushu Center & I have trained with the martial monks at the Herndon, Virginia temple of Shaolin USA, an official US component of the famous Songshan Shaolin Temple in China. I have had exposure over the years to multiple systems of combat. I have over 20 years professional experience in street policing and law enforcement at the city, county and federal levels, in addition to overseas service in hostile environments. My background includes a career with the US Govt in national intelligence (CIA) and active duty in the US Military. My experience includes, but is not limited to, technical intelligence operations and supervision, security, counterintelligence, SWAT, detective, in-service police academy instructor, u/c narcotics investigator, major crime unit investigator, patrol sergeant, security specialist & investigator with the US Navy, and intelligence analyst and CI Special Agent with the Army National Guard. I have served in multiple high threat areas abroad while serving within the national security arena. I am retired from Central Intelligence Agency.

Organizations
CEO of Lucky Buzzard LLC, a diversified entertainment company based in the Milwaukee WI metropolitan area; USA Martial Arts Alliance - Lifetime member, Inductee - Hall of Fame; United States Karate System (Master Jim Thomas); American Karate Association (AKA); World Blackbelt; Laohu Kenpo/Tobosa Kali Hombu Dojo, Sterling, VA (Soke Stephen Blackburn); SDS Bushido Kempo-Kai - Prof. Gary Dill's Self Defense Systems Intl (SDS), 1st Dan Kempo; Former member & student: Shaolin Temple - Shaolin USA, Herndon, VA

Publications
Amazon Paperback and Kindle Books; Shotokan Magazine - UK; Multiple web-based martial arts e-magazines, including The Martial Edge and USADOJO; Author of the Amazon nanobook "Quest for the Way"; Author of the martial arts novel "Legend of the Four Dragons Sword" which is in paperback & Kindle on Amazon.

Education/Credentials
I am a graduate of various federal intelligence and law enforcement training institutions, multiple state-level police training academies, as well as military LE/Security training programs with the US Armed Forces. My college level and university studies were in criminal justice, administration of justice, and commercial art.

Awards and Honors
Honor graduate status from federal, state, and military training institutions. Multiple exceptional performance awards - Central Intelligence Agency.

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