Defense can be classified as anything that opposes attack and either prevents it from scoring, or renders it less effective. There are four basic methods of defense. These are:

  • Footwork control and regulation of distance or position.

  • Parries actions of the hand that deflect an attack.


  • Evasion body movements such as ducking, slipping, etc.

  • Blockingplacing something in the path of an attack.



Strong footwork skills allow you to control and regulate the distance to get out of the way of an opponent’s attack, thereby causing it to miss. You can use footwork to open the distance or move off-line from the attack and thereby evade it.


A parry is a defensive motion of the hand that is used to deflect an attack from its original path. As opposed to a block, which is force-against-force, a parry is a light, easy movement that relies on timing. The objective of a parry is to deflect the opponent’s incoming energy rather than meeting it head-on. The idea is not so much to knock the opponent’s attacking limb aside, but to place a barrier into the line on which the attack is launched. Think of using your parry to “close the door” on an attack rather than “slamming the door.”


The prime requirements of any parry is that it (a) provides sufficient protection, and (b) ensures conditions for immediate countering. 


The following points should be remembered when using any parry:

a) Never parry a blow until the last moment, just before it’s about to hit you. If you reach out when parrying, you will not only create openings for counter blows, but also give the opponent an opportunity to switch his attack onto another line.

b) Control your motion. Your parry should stop as soon as the attack is deflected.



Various Types of Parries --


In Jeet Kune Do, the major types of parries include:


Lateral -- arm motion goes horizontally right to left (or vice versa) while staying in either high or low line

Vertical -- travels in a vertical line (usually high to low) as in the use of a low slapping parry (ha pak)

Semi-circular -- arm executes a semi-circle going from high line to low line or vice versa. 

Circular -- arm describes a circular motion in the movement, picking up the opponent’s arm and bringing it outside target line in the process



You literally “snap” your upper body backward and away from either a straight or a curved line attack aimed at your head, causing the attack to miss. Rear guarding hand is held in front of the chin for additional protection, but should not reach out to meet the blow. The idea is to not let the force of the punch have any effect on you. Sometimes the snap-away can also be combined with a small step backward.



Ducking can be used to escape underneath swinging or hooking blows aimed at your head. Ducking is done by bending your waist and shifting your trunk slightly forward, while at the same time keeping your hands high and watching your opponent as the blow continues over your head. It's important to keep yourself well covered with your arms close to your body and be ready to defend if necessary. Some people define ducking as simply bending the knees while in the  on-guard position so the blow passes over your head.


Slipping is primarily used against straight shots aimed at your head. You can slip to the inside or the outside of an opponent's attack,


Rolling Away (Shoulder Roll)
Rolling away is about nullifying the force of the blow by moving with the force of the blow. Usually used against straight punches to the head, the upper body rolls backward away from the blow, bringing the shoulder up a little to protect the chin. Your lead hand is either carried high or lowered. Sometimes the roll-away combined is with a small step backward.


The bob action  takes your upper body forward and inside the circumference of the attacking blow, causing it to miss and allowing it continue over your head without stopping, and the weave action moves you in the opposite direction of the attacking blow’s force. The primary purpose of the bob-and-weave is to allow you to slide under an opponent’s curved line attack and move into close range.


This is weaving combined with slipping. For example, you might slip outside the opponent’s rear straight punch aimed at your head, then weave under his lead hook to change your position. 



When you block an attack you halt it by placing something in its path such as your arm or leg. While in Jeet Kune Do blocking is considered the least efficient of all of the defensive actions, and should only be used as a last resort or if absolutely necessary, sometimes no other option is open to you.



Jamming  relates to crashing into the attacking line in order to nullify it. It is important to jam an attack as early as possible, before it has time to pick up power.