I had the honor of training under Sifu Inosanto starting in 1982 to about 1989 at the IMB Academy when it was located in Torrance.
The JKD concepts class curriculum mainly consisted of basic stretching to music, leg lockouts, focus mitt training, football shield kicking, sparring and culminated with conditioning exercises. There were also different phases of training depending on an individuals’ level.
Some of the techniques consisted of Jun Fan Kung Fu and Western boxing which made use of deflecting, the four corners as well as counterattacks.
We also practiced leg locks, takedowns and ground fighting. Leg checking and destruction techniques were also applied. The Muay Thai techniques were taught later on by other instructors but were not part of the class curriculum.
The class heavily emphasized on full contact sparring, using protective equipment. Some of the training equipment included: mouth guard, shin pads, finger gloves, hockey gloves, headgear, knee and elbow protectors. A typical sparring day could be a grueling workout which included: punching, kicking, trapping, grappling, ground sparring and two or more persons against one with all-out sparring. Bleeding noses, broken teeth, and groin kicks were not uncommon during sparring sessions, even if they were unintentional. The sparring sessions would typically end with conditioning exercises such as solid punches to the stomach, shin kicks to the thighs, neck bridges, and finger pushups.
Some of the students, like myself, also competed in full contact tournaments. Nevertheless, the concept class gave one a sense of self-confidence in the use of all techniques with full contact. Some of my former concepts classmates were Jeff Imada, Paul Vunak, Cass Magda, and the late Brandon Lee.
The Sifu Inosanto’s JKD concepts training taught me the different styles, techniques and offered me physical conditioning while training with a lot of individuals. The class was valuable in helping me shape my growth as a martial artist.
Sifu Inosanto is one of the most knowledgeable masters that I have studied with, and is also a man of humanity and substance. I have the utmost respect for his steadfast dedication to the promotion of the Filipino arts. At a time when the art was not yet firmly established and whoever championed it had to overcome opposition and disapproval, he successfully became one of the most authoritative figures in the art today. He also taught me what the power of dedication to personal conviction could accomplish. His contributions to the martial arts world are truly to be commended.
PS - If you are in Los Angeles in August 16-19, I am hosting a screening of my new film “Gung Fu, JKD & MMA” as well as some other JKD and filmmaking seminars during this time. I hope you can join me. You can reserve tickets here.