Self Defense/in need of advice


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.

Dear Filipe,

Thank you for the question. I can understand your concerns and confusions, so many arts out there to choose from. Finding the right one can be difficult. Here's my advice first and foremost...whatever art you decide, just make sure you are having fun with it. Without the enjoyment part, you won't stick to anything no matter if it JKD, KM, WC, TKD or anything else. So first...make sure you are enjoying what you are doing.

As for the WC to JKD comparison, there really isn't one. They are completely different, and although JKD did have some WC influence in it in the early days, much of it was kind of discarded. Hand trapping is a lot of fun, but not exactly the most useful in application. The true core of JKD is actually not WC, or Fencing, or anything is the individual. The true purpose of JKD is "discover the cause of one's own ignorance" as Bruce Lee said. Discovering your own individuality and limitations, then conquering them. JKD is more of a filter or lens to view information thru. So if you follow the tenaments of JKD (simplicity, directness, fluidity, economy of motion, and directness) then you can look at any martial art and be able to pull something out of it. Keep in mind what Bruce was doing...he was taking high level martial artists of his time and saying "Show me what you do....then I will show you how to do it better."

That doesn't mean that JKD is just a philosophy, it is a combat science in the way we plug things together or take them apart. But the concept of JKD is much greater than any technique!For example, I can show you how to take some of the kicks from TKD, and show you how they work in JKD applications. So is the kick from TKD or JKD? Neither, a kick is a kick and a punch is a punch.

But without the philisophical answer...I will give you some things to think about to help your dilema. Let me say that neither WC or KM is "like" JKD. Both have great aspects, and flaws as well. To be functional in self defense, it's NEVER the "art," rather it is the practitioner. You have to constantly work your attributes such as timing, distancing, footwork, line familiarization etc. That's why you can't put one art vs another, it's more true to say one practitioner vs another. You can take a very well developed Karate student and put him against an average Muay Thai practitioner, and the Muay Thai fellow will get his butt kicked! Why? It wasn't the art or the technique, it was the application of knowledge...that my friend is "attribute development." I urge you not to discard WC or KM or anything else, because once again the truth is about the practitioner.

I like the WC training because I think trapping is fun as well. WC to me is not the most practical FOR ME because I feel it lacks in footwork, mobility, ground work and weaponry. However, I love forwarding pressure, sensitivity, and center line dominance mindset.

Krav, here in the U.S. has become more of a fitness martial art than anything else and is taught in a "step 1, step 2, step 3 etc" manner which lacks the liveness and randomness of a true fight. So I befriended an ex-Israeli Commando and he's been showing me authentic Krav. I quickly realized that it is based on the thrusting, butt striking and manipulation of an assualt rifle. Not exactly what we see in a Krav class is it? Because the average citizen doesn't walk around with an AK-47 all day. However, I find their responses to chokes, knives, and guns much more functional than WC.

I would tell you this, if you want Functionality, then go with Krav. If you want to learn the art...then go with WC. But neither is close to JKD, we're all just different. And don't worry about the crowded class of Krav...try to find the slower nights and attend then, besides, fights happen in crowds, that element is great for learning environmental awareness.

Other arts you might try to find are Silat, Kali, Jiu Jitsu, Western Boxing, and Muay Thai. JKD has elements from all of these. How about this...take Krav for 6 months, then take WC for 6 months. Then you will truly be able to see what you like better. 2 class trial will tell you nothing of the need time.

Hope this helps!  

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Nik Farooqui


Although I can offer expertise in several areas of "self defense," the following are some frequent questions I often answer. These are just a few examples, and my experience takes me much further than these questions. 1) What exactly is Jeet Kune Do and how does it apply to today's self defense? 2) What is women's role in martial arts/self defense and why should they learn? 3) What kind of things can I do to AVOID combative situations? 4) Is there a particular art or style that I should know? 5) What kind of weapons are involved in self defense tactics? 6) What precautionary measures can I take at home to prevent intrusion? 7) How do I know what techniques I should be using? 8) How will learning self defense change my life beyond just physical gain? 9) How has Jeet Kune Do evolved and why? 10) I've never been in a fight, so why should I train now?


1) Owner/Chief Instructor of Xtreme Training Academy, and S2 Strategic Defense. 2) Fully Certified Jeet Kune Do/Filipino Martial Arts Instructor under Sifu Paul Vunak, Sifu Thomas Cruse, Sifu Harrinder Singh, Sifu Roy Harris and more. 3) Fully Certified Instructor in Edged Weapons tactics 4) 20 years total martial arts experience including Muay Thai, Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Kali, FMA, Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu, White Crane Kung Fu, and more! 5) Teaching elite military/law enforcement groups since 2004. 6) Teaching civilian classes since 2000. 7) Teachng domestic violence victim programs since 2002. 8) Over 100 seminars taught covering various subjects in 16 states, and 3 countries. 9) First JKD instructor to bring a JKD seminar in Puerto Rico 10) Featured multiple times in SWAT Magazine, Black Belt Magazine, and others 11) Member and Instructor at International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Assoc 12) Featured Speaker at events such as Int'l Chief of Police Conference, Chicagoland Gun Show, and more 13) Recipient of Instructor of the Year, LEO Instructor of the Year, and Achievements in Martial Arts awards. 14) Program and Business coach to nearly 12 martial arts academies/academy owners.

Author of upcoming book "The JKD Chronicals"

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