The Jeet Kune Do concept of intercepting has roots in Wing Chun Kung Fu. From the proper distance, it’s easier to see an attack coming and to perhaps intercept. However, how do you intercept or deal with an attack when you’re not at the proper distance? At the proper distance, you have time to (1) see the attack, (2) recognize it, (3) identify how to deal with it, and (4) to do so before it reaches you. However, when you are too close, there is no time. Which step in the process do you cut out to avoid getting hit?
In a competition fight, both fighters start off in the same position facing each other prepared to square off. They close the distance to just within striking range where they can hit their opponent with their longest attack, but they can also be hit. This is the longest distance from which both fighters can fight. Any distance beyond this, neither fighter can hit the other. From this distance, a fighter can more easily recognize an incoming jab or leg kick. Bruce Lee used the term fighting measure to describe this distance. This is the idea distance from which to intercept your opponent’s movements because they are easier to detect.
Often, in a fight, however, you never stay at this perfect fighting measure. No matter how good of a fighter you are, eventually, you will break this measure or your opponent will. What do you do? How else can you intercept your opponent when the time and distance is significantly less? Based on positioning. The idea in fighting is to hit your opponent from a position where they cannot hit you. That is why we use trapping in Wing Chun to use our one hand to control two of the opponent’s hands hitting him with our free hand. Despite how effective trapping is defensively, the best defense in any fight is to just simply not be there. When your opponent strikes, don’t be there, be somewhere else, preferable a position from which to counter.
Therefore, positioning is the next stage after the fighting measure. From the fighting measure, let’s say you successfully intercept your opponent’s attack with a straight lead punch. However, he continued to come forward after getting hit and now he is dangerously close to you. After throwing any attack, even a successful one, always assume the worst; that it missed or did not hurt your opponent , then you will always be prepared. From your straight lead, you should position yourself in such a way as to first get out of the way of his counter and second, to set up your next attack. If you’ve completed a straight lead, don’t wait for your opponent’s response. Because there is no time, position yourself to move your head and defend any critical area, then look for how to attack from that position.
From a straight lead punch, possible follow up positions could be a slip or bob and weave to either side. Ideally, try to move your feet first because this gets your whole body out of the way and sets up the best possible counter attacks. Torso movements like swaying, slips, or a bob and weave are typically used when there is no time to move your feet, but these work best when you can combine them with short footwork. Another option from the straight lead punch is just to jam forward with your hands and forearms up covering the head. This allows you to get on the inside of his potential counter punch. You can also go for a takedown from here. Another option is to sway back after the straight lead, but when you sway back, shift your weight to your back leg and kick him with your lead leg.
Positioning relies heavily on your footwork. It’s the idea that I don’t want to just think about intercepting, but also two or three steps ahead of that. Always position yourself after your attack in the best defensive posture and ideally one that allows you to hit without getting hit. Again, the best defensive posture is always to not be there. Yes, you can block, cover, guard, check, parry, and trap, but you can also miss with any one of these. It’s best to move the target, then if you’re still in his range, you can cover, guard, trap, etc. Most fighters like to circle to the outside of their opponent as this typically moves them away from their opponent’s power rear hand. If you can, after you attack, circle or triangle step to the outside; this is ideal. If you can’t, any small movement you can make to the outside will help while also maintaining your guard. Always be alert at all times knowing where you are in relation to you opponent.
I hope this article has been helpful for you in your study of Wing Chun Kung Fu and the Martial Arts. Thank you for reading.
Wishing you happiness and peace of mind.
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