Adaptability is the Key
(Originally posted in Facebook in 2011)
Ted Wong stated that, according to Bruce Lee, the highest quality that any martial artist can possess is adaptability; to be able to adapt to any opponent and any situation. When it comes to any combative situation, there are numerous variables that you do not get to dictate. These variables include such things as:
• The size, weight, and body-type of the opponent -- tall and long-limbed, short and stocky, heavy, skinny, etc.
• The opponent’s mental or emotional state -- cool and calm, angry, nervous and agitated, etc.
• The relative speed, power and agility of the opponent
• What lead (if any) the opponent chooses to fight from -- right lead, left lead.
• What type of on-guard position the opponent is in -- open, closed, tight and compact, crouching, etc.
• What method or style of fighting the opponent will use -- martial arts, boxing, grappling, street-fighting, etc.
• The type(s) of attacks the opponent may try to use -- punching, kicking, elbows/knees, throwing, grappling, locking, etc.
• The type of fighter the opponent is -- runner, blocker, counter-fighter, crasher, etc.
• The number of opponents you have to face -- one, several, etc.
• The environment the situation takes place in -- city street, beach, woods, etc.
• Whether the opponent is unarmed or has a weapon
While you may be able to influence one or more of the above variables, you don’t get to dictate any of them. So one of the primary goals of training in JKD is to know what you can do. Not what techniques you can do if you are attacked, but what you can do, what your body is capable of. Remember, adaptability is the key. So develop your ability to adapt and fit in with any type of opponent and learn how to express yourself to the highest degree at any given moment and in any given position.