JKD Curriculum

Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do

Trapping Concepts

Reference Points

1. Outside to Outside (Both Sides)
2. Inside to Outside (Both Sides)
3. Inside to Inside (Both Sides)

1. Closed gate
2. Open Gate
3. High and Low

Reference Points are points of possible contact between two participants in a physical confrontation. These Reference Points were originally designed by the late Bruce Lee and were further developed by Guro Dan Inosanto.

This training method will give you a basic understanding of trapping and will promote:

  1. Structural Examination

  2. Muscle Memory

  3. Power Base

  4. Speed

  5. Flow

Objectives of Trapping (Reasons to Trap)
1. To limit your opponent's offensive potential
2. To set up your major tools (a big shot)
3. To create space for a hit (referring to both physical space and also timing)
4. To change the Attribute Set (to favor a trained Martial Artist)
5. To use your opponent's energy against them
6. You'll end up there anyway

Standard Trapping Sequences:
1. Pak Sao - (Rear Hand Barrier - Past Centerline) - Lop Sao - Gum Sao
2. Pak Sao - (Rear Hand Barrier - On Centerline) - Loy Pak Sao - Sut Sao
3. Pak Sao - (Lead Hand Barrier) - Lop Sao - Sut Sao
4. Pak Sao - (Rear Hand Barrier) - Wedge - Pak Sao
5. Pak Sao - (Rear Hand Barrier) - Wedge - Lop Sao
6. Pak Sao - (Rear Hand Barrier) - Gaun Sao
7. Pak Sao - (Lead Hand Barrier) - Biu Sao - Gua Choy - Gum Sao

Follow-Up Combinations:
1. Jik Chung Choy (Straight Blast )
2. Chung Choy - Sut Sao - Chung Choy
3. Cross - Hook - Cross/Hook - Cross - Hook
4. Headbutt - Knee - Elbows (HKE)
5. Push Elbows - Fade Away - Jut Tek (Side Kick)
6. 2 Right Kicks

About Trapping

     There are a number of very good drills that can be used to develop the kind of effective trapping skills enjoyed by Bruce Lee in what I like to call his personal art.  This simply means the way "he" did it.  The principles and mechanics that he used and what made him so astoundingly effective.

     To be sure, there are different kinds of trapping for different systems.  For instance, Filipino martial arts make use of extremely effective trapping, designed around its structure, tools, and strategies.  The same holds true for other martial arts like American Kenpo where trapping is a component of the system.  Bruce's trapping was born from Wing Chun Gung Fu, an art that is very much different in nearly every respect to other arts, including its trapping methodology.

     When Bruce trapped you there was a lot more going on than opening a line of attack and/or tying up your arms.  He disrupted and broke down your structure, a key strategic point.  He corrupted your balance, froze your timing, and sent shock into your body like electricity through copper wire.  By virtual of his technique, he was able to automatically measure the correct distance for optimal striking power and accuracy, the kind needed for deep penetration to attack the body's nervous system.  While he re-angled his attack to open new lines, he took away the distance that you needed to be effective in your counter attack.  And to make all of this work, he depended on body structure, proper mechanics, a variety of carefully forged tools, and a high degree of tactile sensitivity and knowledge of energies.  To put is simply, he trapped with the entirety of his body, not just his hands.

     Bruce's inner body structure had been uniquely developed for the most part from his earlier Wing Chun training.  Yet he still had some knowledge of other gung fu arts, including Tai Chi and, to a lesser degree, Preying Mantis.  Although he later modified his fighting stance, you can be sure that his inner structure did not change.  It still afforded him the kind of grounding needed for exerting and holding pressure while jamming and trapping, along with all of those special mechanical advantages that were so often mistaken by observers as sheer acts of strength.  These mechanical advantages constituted many of the details that not only went into Bruce's trapping, but also into every phase of his personal art.  In other words, the way he did it.

     One of the things that made Bruce so different from other martial artists in the US was that he more directly faced his opponent.  Rarely, if ever, was Bruce caught in a position where he would be forced to give away one side to his opponent.  At the same time, he would always be in position to gain control of either the opponent's side or his center, both basic strategies of Wing Chun.  This facing principle was a central part of Bruce's method fighting method and of core importance to his trapping and striking, in particular.  So that I might narrow this discussion a bit, I'll limit myself to just a few of the mechanical advantages enjoyed by Bruce that made his trapping so incredibly effective.  Of course, this requires a brief mention of his tools.

     Bruce compared a tool like tan sao (palm up hand) to a car jack.  "If you want to lift a Cadillac," said Bruce, "use a jack made to lift a Cadillac, not a Volkswage".   What Bruce was saying here is that your tools must be strong enough to do the biggest jobs.  At less than 135 pounds, Bruce jacked up a professional wrestler holding him pinned to a wall with double tan saos.

Trapping Principles

     So, to make the tools strong requires a number of important factors and attention to some small details.  Here are a few:

1)  Immovable Elbow Principle.  The elbow must be maintained on or close to your centerline, and should never be positioned less than one fist length from your body.  "If your elbow gives," I recall Bruce saying, "then your structure is destroyed".  About this, Bruce was adamant!

2)  Structure Softening.  Learn to soften and concave the chest so that you are all shoulders, back, and forearms.  This allows structural strength and firmer grounding while reducing tension in the body.  It keeps your mid-body at further reach from your opponent while, at the same time, naturally extending your reach to him.  The soft curvature of the body face is also used for setting up gaps that you may need for exercising powerful mechanical advantages in the use of your tools.

3)  Sealing down the shoulder.  Raise it and your structure will be both offensively and defensively weakened.  This is not only important while jamming and trapping, but also in striking.  The Sil Lum Tao form teaches how to weld down the shoulders so that your structure will powerfully unitized, rather than weakly disjointed.

4)  Triangle structure.  Bruce's structure was based on triangles.  A number of triangles beginning at the feet work all the way up the body and end with the tools.  For instance, even the simple tan sao if done correctly provides the angles for five separate triangles.  See if you can you find them.

5)  Chi.  To improve chi energy for greater strength in your tool you must be sure to keep open a space between your index finger and middle finger, particularly in tan sao, jut sao, bon sao, wu sao.  In tan sao, keeping the palm flat up and angled slightly will also create a natural mechanical advantage and line of deflection.  Bruce believed in chi!

6)  Wrist Mechanics.  The practice of wu sao, huen sao, and jut sao (as in the Sil Lum Tao form) teaches powerful and indomitable wrist mechanics.  Pay close attention to the drilling and adduction principles using the joints of ankles, knees, hips, forearms and wrists.  These are the mechanics that will move a bigger man around with seemingly little effort on your part.  A Bruce specialty!

7)  Ball Principle.  If you were to roll around on a big ball, you would be rolling on multiple planes of movement.  You can go under, over, around on either side and in either direction, or at any one of 360 degrees of direction, or push straight through.  Learn to use these planes to your mechanical advantages.  For instance, you might lift or push down the opponent's arms or elbows to break down and move his structure.  Bruce was great at this!

8)  Switching.  The switching movements both at the heels and the balls of the feet offer certain mechanical advantages.  For power and uprooting your opponent switch on the heels.  For instance, a bon sao that not only deflects an attack, but also serves to put shock into the opponent and disrupt him, switch on the heels.  To create angles and cover single ground in a single movement switch on the toes.  To cover ground, as in snake-stepping alternate switching on heels and toes.  Bruce could either come straight at you or retreat without ever taking a step!

9)  Falling Step Power.  True Bruce picked this one up from Jack Dempsey's book, but he was also quite familiar with its principle from his gung fu training.  It has to do with landing your punch or trapping a hand in timing with your lead step and weight transfer.  Actually, there is an exercise that develops this power.  It's one of those tricky things that looks like a feat of strength, but also provides a clearer understanding of how to optimize the falling step effect.  (See: "Falling Step Drill").  I still wear Bruce's palm print on my chest! ;-)

10)  Bow Action of Hip.  Here the hip acts like a bow (as in bow and arrow), flexing and building tension, then releasing it directionally.  A fundamental power source provided by the wing chun structure and well known to Bruce.  It's the very kind of thing that you don't see, but you can be sure it's there!  (see: "Hip Loading Drill)

11)  Tactile Sensitivity.  Bruce developed this mostly from Wing Chun's Chi Sao's sticking hands, but also from Tai Chi's pushing hands.  The only way to learn this correctly is to learn it from a good instructor, hands on.  When Bruce trapped he became one with his opponent.  But one trap is not always enough.  The highly skilled practitioner will be able to go to the next move, and the next move, and whatever is needed to finish the job.  Bruce did not get stuck after the first move!

12)  Helping Hand.  Sometimes a single tool is just not enough and you need a little help.  This is where the other hand comes into play, a mechanical reinforcement or engine for maximizing results.  It made Bruce's traps indomitable!

13)  Third Hand Principle.  Tactile sensitivity teaches how to use the full arm as a tool.  Often times you will be in a position to trap or jam down with your opponent by using your upper forearm while, at the same instant, freeing both of your hands.  This is how Bruce fought with three hands.

14)  Expanding Triangle.  One of the greatest forces throughout the universe is the Principle of Compression and Expansion.  Compressing and expanding the body's structure and the use of its tools was a powerful component to Bruce's art.  The Expanding Triangle involves setting up a triangle structure with the arms, backed by the triangle structure of the body and expanding it.  The effect is unbelievably incredible mechanical forces, but with very little effort.

15)  Needless to say, this list does include all of the principles and mechanics used by Bruce, such as grounding, slipping, poling, vectoring, oscillation, plyometrics, slanting, joint selectivity, jing (final power), simplicity, and more.  I always find it amusing to think how utterly simple Bruce's art is if you understand all that complexity of details.

Trapping Drills

Drill #1 Falling Step

     Standing in front of your partner fully extend your right arm at chest level with fingers pointed upward, palm facing his chest.  Now stand on your left leg, hooking your right leg behind the knee.  You are not punching, as this is only an exercise to better understand an important principle.  Fall forward until your palm strikes his chest.  Be sure to keep the arm straight.  At the same instant that your palm lands, your foot hits the ground.  It is this timing of hand and foot striking simultaneously that maximizes weight transfer at the critical moment.  If done correctly, your partner will be hurled backward, if not knocked flat on his back.  Be careful with this and have him wear a protective pad.  Important points to remember are don't hit, just fall forward keeping arm straight.  Most important, don't bend the knee when your foot impacts the ground, as this will absorb shock.  Be sure you are standing far enough away so that your impact takes place at the point of maximum acceleration.  Think of a big oak tree falling.  The closer it comes to the ground the more the acceleration and the greater the impact.

Drill #2 Bow Hip Power

     To get an idea of what it feels like and just how powerful it is. . . try this:  Place both palms on a wall, shoulder width apart.  Step back about 4 or 5 feet with your left leg, while dropping your left hip and lifting your right foot, extending it out in front of you as though you are taking a huge step forward.  The closer you reach your extended foot to the wall, the greater you will exert force.

     Now have your partner brace both of his arms parallel at chest level.  Placing your palms on his arms tell him to resist your effort to push him back.  As you step back about 4 feet with your right leg, lift your left foot and extend it beyond and slightly to the side of him.  You should feel the power build before hurling him backward.

     Now, have him push against you.  As he pushes, simply lift that same left leg and extend it past him.  See if you can hold against his pressure.  If done correctly you will be able to accomplish this with little, if any, effort.

     Learn how to use this power source in your trapping.  It will crush your opponent's defenses because you are now trapping with the mechanics of your body, not just your arms.

     The construction of the hip joints and connective tissues backed by the large muscle groups are capable of exerting tremendous power.

     When striking or trapping, the bow action of the hip can be applied with the falling step.  Add rotation to this, and you have three power sources with accumulated effect.  Very powerful, indeed!

Drill #3 Immovable Stance

     A good wing chun trick is to pick up the long teak pole (very, very heavy) and lift it at chest level, holding your arms straight out in front of you.  Likewise, Bruce was able to demonstrate this technique with very heavy dumbbells.  The secret is not in strength, but mostly in correct hip structure.  Put to practice in combat it becomes an effective way of uplifting your opponent and breaking his structure, or holding against his pressure.

     But even without this incredible mechanical advantage you can easily perform the following trick, or drill:

     Have your partner place both hands on your chest or shoulders.  He will easily be able to push you backward.  This time, place your palms facing upward under his elbows.  As he pushes, lift his elbows upward.  No matter how hard he tries, he will not be able to push you backward.  If this is not interesting enough, tell him to push as hard as he can, as if he were pushing a car down the road.  Only this time, you stand on just one leg.

Drill #4 Contact Sensitivity

     Chi Sao drills develops sensitivity throughout the body and tools.  But here is a good solitary chi sao drill that Bruce used to help develop his proprioceptive sensitivity, proper neuro-efficiencies, drilling and adduction mechanics, non-intention movement, contraction and expansion triangles, third hand, ball principle, switching, final power (Bruce called it "sparking").  It's one of my favorites, too.

     Stand crossing your wrists at chest level, palms facing inward.  Now circle your arms away from you (out, down, back, and up to original position).  Repeat until you get the natural flow of this.  Now try it alternating your wrists.  For example, you begin with the right wrist on the inside.  At the end of a full revolution you have switched to the left wrist on the inside.  As you speed up the movement, work on relaxing the arms.  Feel the contact where the arms touch.  Begin to put on and take off pressure.  At any given instant, suddenly fling your hands apart snapping into double fuk saos, or a tool punch combination.  Try it watching television.  Every time the camera cuts from one scene or view to another you let your hands fly.  You will be amazed at how this will build speed and jing power.

     Now, build in different techniques into the spinning motion.  For instance, quan sao, kan sao, double jut sao, jut sao/bon sao, whatever.   Make up things.  The more you invent the more you will learn.  Feel it.

Drill # 5 - Pak Sao Drill

     I will assume that everyone knows this drill.  However, here are some pointers.  When punching against your opponent who pak saos, punch with your elbows in to the middle, otherwise you will be giving him bars, which are easier to stop.

     And when doing pak sao keep the elbows in so that you are giving him poles reinforced by your structure.  Pak with a cupped loose hand so that you don't take shock into the body.

     Learn to drive him back with your pak saos even when he is chain punching as hard as he can.  When punching, drive him back through his pak saos.

     Add different drills to your pak sao, by switching in and out of other tools.  For example with your left hand, begin with pak sao, then tan sao, then back to pak sao.  Repeat with your other hand as he continues his chain punching.

     As with the mechanics and principles, there are many more drills, but these all teach some very basic understandings.

Original Jeet Kune Do Basic Trapping Progressions

1) Pak Sao Da
a) By reference point attachment
b) Bridging the gap to attachment
c) By feinting then bridging the gap to pak sao da by capturing
d) Pak sao da by capturing
i) In flight during attack
ii) In chambering position before attack
iii) In chambering position after attack

2) Types of Pak Sao Da

a) Gnoy da or O’ouy da
b) Loy da (two types)
i) Inside of wu sao
ii) Outside of wu sao
c) Jung da
d) Ha da

3) Pak sao da to Jik chung chuie

4) Pak sao da – Bong sao – Lop sao da with qua chuie or Sut sao (Fak sao) – Gum sao da

5) Pak sao da – Loy Pak sao da

6) Pak sao da – Chung chuie – Loy Pak sao da

7) Pak sao da – Biu sao as wedge – Pak sao da – Lop sao da - Pak sao da

8) Pak sao da – Biu sao as wedge – Lop sao with chung chuie - Pak sao da

9) Pak sao da – Biu sao as wedge – Lop sao da – right Sut sao (Fak sao) – Gum sao da

10) Pak sao da – Biu sao as wedge – Pak sao da – left Sut sao (Fak sao)

11) Pak sao da – Biu sao as wedge – Lop sao da – Pak sao da – left Sut sao da (Fak sao)

12) Pak sao da – Biu sao as wedge – Lop sao da – right Sut sao (Fak sao) – Cup sao da (Kao sao da)

13) Pak sao da – Jao sao – double Jut Sao – gum sao da – Jang (elbow)

14) Pak sao da – Jao sao – double Jut Sao – Dum tek – Gum sao da - Jang (elbow)

15) Pak sao da – Jao sao – double Jut Sao – rear hand Biu gee or rear chung chuie – Gum sao da to any type of follow up

16) Pak sao da – Jao sao – double Jut Sao – Jong tao (Headbutt) – Sut (knee) – Jang (Elbow) or Gum sao da (Vice versa)

17) Pak sao da – Jao sao – double Jut Sao – Sut (Knee) – Gum sao da – Jang (Elbow)

18) Pak sao da – Jao sao – double Jut Sao – Dum loy tek to knee – Gum sao da – Jang (Elbow)

19) Pak sao da – Jao sao – double Jut Sao – with any combination of headbutt (Jong tao), punch (Chung chuie), knee (Sut), foot stomp (Dum tek), elbow (Jang), Finger jab (Biu gee), any palm strike (Jern), inside stomp kick (Loy dum tek), backhand knifehand (wisk hand), Sut sao / Fak sao etc.

20) Pak sao da – Go Jao sao da – Ha Jao sao da – Go Jao sao da – double Jut sao – rear hand Biu gee – Gum sao da – Jang (Elbow)

21) Pak sao da – Go Jao sao da – Ha Jao sao da – Go Jao sao da – double Jut sao - Gum sao da – Jang (Elbow) – to other combination routes

22) Pak sao da – Go Jao sao da – Ha Jao sao da – pak sao with qua chuie - to other combination routes by energy

23) Half Pak sao da – Lop sao da – Kao sao da inside of lead arm

24) Half Pak sao da – Lop sao da – Pak sao when parry hand passes – Pak Lop sao da

25) Half Pak sao da – Lop sao da – Chung chuie after parry hand passes – Jut Pak sao da – Gum sao da

26) Half Pak sao da – Lop sao da – Huen sao to rear hand Sut sao – gum sao da

27) Fake Pak sao da with delay – Chung chuie after parry hand passes – Jut Pak sao da – Gum sao da

28) Pak sao da – Gnoy Lop sao da – Pak sao da

29) Pak sao da - Gnoy Lop sao da – Loy Kao sao da

30) Gnoy woang pak sao da – Gnoy Lop sao da – Gnoy Lop sao da on the rear arm

31) Half Pak sao da – Lop sao da – Chung chuie behind rear parry – Jut sao da – Gum sao da

32) Half Pak sao da – Lop sao da - Chung chuie behind rear parry - Pak sao da – Lop sao da – Pak sao da

33) Half Pak sao da – Lop sao da - Chung chuie behind rear parry - Chung chuie behind returning parry – Gum sao da – Fak sao da – Gum sao da

34) Choap chuie – Qua chuie – Lop sao with Qua chuie (Rear hand block)

35) Choap chuie – Qua chuie – Pak sao da – bong sao with Lop sao with Qua chuie or Fak sao (Sut sao) (for lead hand block)

36) Choap chuie – Qua chuie –Jao sao to all the basics in the Jao sao series

37) Choap chuie – Qua chuie –Gnoy Lop sao da – Pak sao da

38) Fake Choap chuie – Fake Qua chuie to :-

1. Juk tek (Ha, Jung, Go)
2. O’ou tek (Ha, Jung, Go)
3. Jik tek (Ha, Jung, Go)
4. Ha hou O’ou tek
5. Hou sut
6. Jung dum tek
7. Jun juk tek
8. Jun qua tek
9. Jun so tek
10. Jun o’ou tek
11. Jun jung dum tek
12. Jun jik tek

Numbers 1 to 12 are in the Jun Fan Gung Fu Chum Kiu series. The Jun fan Chum Kiu techniques are not to be mistaken for the Wing Chun Chum Kiu techniques. Jun Fan Chum Kiu techniques are “seeking the bridge” or attachment entering techniques or bridging the gap techniques.

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