Recent Interview with Sifu Lamar M. Davis II

Interviewer: It has been quite a few years since your last interview. What have you been up to lately?

Sifu LMD II: Well, I have had lots of new projects that I started, and I am still working on most of them. Most notably the forming of a new Professional Instructor's Organization for the perpetuation of Hardcore Jeet Kune Do, a series of DVDs for Black Belt magazine, further development of my DragonBlast project and we have completely overhauled the Hardcore Jeet Kune Do website. Then there is a new website, accessible to anyone, but primarily for the members of my organization. I am also looking forward to Hardcore Jeet Kune Do magazine, which is my most involved upcoming project. I have other things that I am working on as well, but more about those later on as they develop.

Interviewer: Tell us more about this Instructor's Organization.

Sifu LMD II: In October 2010 I held a week long training camp here in Birmingham, Alabama. I had quite a few guys come in to train with me. Several of them had never trained with me before, but had strong martial arts backgrounds. The camp went very well, and everyone who attended had an excellent attitude. It was a very refreshing overall experience for me.

At the end of the camp, on the last night, we had a very important meeting, where everyone discussed their personal goals, and where they wanted to go with their Hardcore Jeet Kune Do training. It was decided that we needed a more involved, more detailed program for those who wish to become Instructors in my lineage. Out of that meeting came the birth of this new organization.

I am still mapping out all of the details, but we will be having another week long camp early in 2012. At this camp, many things will be decided and all of the organizational details will be ironed out. I will be appointing representatives for each state/country to represent me and Hardcore Jeet Kune Do. This has been a long time coming, but the time is right for this, and we are going to make it happen.

Interviewer: How did this new DVD series with Black Belt magazine come about?

Sifu LMD II: I was out in Los Angeles early in 2010 for a Black Belt photo shoot. The special projects director for Black Belt, Mr. Raymond Horwitz, asked if I would be interested in doing a DVD series for Black Belt. Of course I said yes.

After returning home, I planned out the content for three DVDs one on attack and defense, one on energy/sensitivity training and one on trapping hands. I was more interested in doing a very in depth series for them, but they wanted to hold at three for the time being.

I went out to Valencia, California in early July 2010 to the Black Belt studios to do the DVD shoot. My students Ken Jones and Andrew Corona joined me to be in the DVDs with me. We shot one DVD per day, for a total of three days shooting. Everything went as planned, and at the end of the three days, everyone was pleased. The DVDs were released in November 2010.

Interviewer: Do you have any other DVD projects on the horizon?

Sifu LMD II: In early 2012, I plan to start filming on my ultimate DVD series, which will be called Hardcore Jeet Kune Do. Currently I have ten DVDs planned for the series. I'm sure that more will be added before the series actually starts shooting. I have a tendency to be rather thorough. I will have total creative control over the production of this series, so it will be exactly what I want it to be. This will be the DVD collection to own. I am planning to go all out on this series, teaching it like it is, showing the world what real Jeet Kune Do is all about.

Interviewer: You mentioned your DragonBlast project. Tell us more about that.

Sifu LMD II: DragonBlast is the name that I decided to call my martial arts supply business. I have designed a unique series of training equipment especially suited for Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do practitioners. The most notable of these devices is the springarm, which is a spring loaded device representing the arm that can be used for various energy/sensitivity drills, trapping hands and sliding leverage striking. I have designed some interesting wall mounts for this device, and even a doorway mounting system. There is also a mook jong featuring the spring loaded arms and wooden leg. I have developed a unique forearm training device that is awesome for those of us who spend a lot of time striking with the vertical fist. I am in the process of developing a special mook jong just for Hardcore Jeet Kune Do practitioners as well. It will be very affordable, yet extremely functional in its design and applications.
Along with this , I will also be selling my instructional DVDs, featuring the Original Jeet Kune Do Complete series, the Original Jeet Kune Do Seminar series, the Sil Lim Tao series and a few specialized topic DVDs that are not a part of any series. As already mentioned, the Hardcore Jeet Kune Do series will be coming soon.

Then there is my official Hardcore Jeet Kune Do clothing line. Currently, I offer a full line of embroidered clothing, with the official Hardcore Jeet Kune Do logo embroidered on the right chest of the tops and right thigh of the pants. This includes short sleeve and long sleeve t-shirts, polo shirts, sweatpants and sweatshirts, hooded sweatshirts, gung fu pants and gung fu uniforms. There is also a really cool backpack that is available with the logo embroidered on it. There are also screen printed t-shirts available in red or black with the logo screen printed small on the right chest and large on the upper back in athletic gold ink. I have also released a line of really awesome shirts that I call Hardcore Jeet Kune Do Attitude shirts. There is the basic Attitude line, then there is what I call the Extreme Attitude line! These are shirts with various sayings on the upper back of the shirt and the hardcore JKD logo on the right chest.

Interviewer: Wow. It sounds like there is a lot of great stuff in store for those who are into Jeet Kune Do. What else can we expect from you in the near future?

Sifu LMD II: I have several magazine articles that are written, and I will write many more. Early in 2011, I was in Black Belt magazine (the February 2011 issue). Since then I have have been in there two more times, plus the Jeet Kune Do technical article in the Black Belt Bruce Lee special (December 2011). I am in every issue of Combat Network, and online martial arts magazine. I am also featured in every issue of Wing Chun Illustratedwith my own column on Jeet Kune Do.

Wing Chun Illustrated (WCI) is the world s only magazine dedicated to Wing Chun, regardless of lineage or style! Each bi-monthly 60-page, full-colour issue is available as Print-on-Demand. WCI is also available on the following mobile devices: iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It will be possible to purchase single issues, subscriptions and back issues in the Apple App Store. The magazine is also available for Android 3.0 devices and BlackBerry Playbook. I am very excited about this project, as I have always been a firm believer in the fact that Wing Chun Gung Fu forms the very foundation structure of Jeet Kune Do.

Interviewer: Speaking of Wing Chun Gung Fu, is it true that certain Jeet Kune Do practitioners have tried to remove the Wing Chun from the Jeet Kune Do curriculum?

Sifu LMD II: Yes, unfortunately that is true. I have heard many even go so far as to say that Wing Chun has nothing to do with Jeet Kune Do, and that it consists primarily of boxing and fencing. This is sad. How could someone be so misinformed. Wing Chun forms the very foundation structure of Jeet Kune Do. Sifu Dan Inosanto has even said that at least 50% of Jeet Kune Do comes directly from Wing Chun. He even went so far as to say that without Wing Chun, there would be no Jeet Kune Do. From my personal experience, I would say that this is very true.

Some say that once Bruce Lee fully developed Jeet Kune Do, the Wing Chun no longer fit into the structure, and that the primary focus became boxing and fencing. All I can say is that these people do not understand the true structure of Bruce Lee's art. If they did, they would have no problem with the integration of the Wing Chun into the structure. In fact, if you truly understand the art, the primary elements from Wing Chun, boxing and fencing fit together perfectly like the pieces of a puzzle.

I think that the truth of the matter is that some of them never learned the Wing Chun structure, and do not understand how it fits into Jeet Kune Do. Of course something is not going to work if you do not understand it, or never even tried to. I have found from my personal training and research, that the more I learn about Wing Chun, the better my understanding of Jeet Kune Do gets.

This lack of knowledge of Wing Chun also explains why some say that trapping does not work. If you do not have the economical, centerline preserving structure, as well as an in-depth understanding of energy/sensitivity, there is no way that you will be effective at trapping. It also helps to have a mook jong and train on it daily. This will tighten up your structure, toughen your arms for contact, and strengthen all of your trapping hand movements. All of these elements come directly from the Wing Chun part of the Jeet Kune Do structure.

The only form that we practice comes from Wing Chun Gung Fu. It is called Sil Lim Tao, and is the first form taught in the Wing Chun system. Bruce Lee was a well known advocate of practicing the Sil Lim Tao form, and went through the form several times daily. I first learned the form from Sifu Joseph Cowles, who trained with Bruce Lee in Seattle. He taught the form to me exactly as he had learned if from Bruce Lee. I have practiced the form for many years, and never get tired of going through the movements. When you first start practicing the form, it brings about a lot of questions, and finding the answers to those questions are very beneficial to your Jeet Kune Do structure. Consistent practice of the form really tightens up your defensive movements and centerline striking skills. I would say that the form is so beneficial, that anyone under my lineage should practice the form at least five times a day. You will not regret it.

Interviewer: What prompted you to start your own organization, and your own approach to training in Jeet Kune Do, and why do you refer to it as "Hardcore" Jeet Kune Do?

Sifu LMD II: The more I learned about Jeet Kune Do, and the better known I became, I had people all over the world contacting me, wanting to actually train with me. I started doing seminars all over the world. As a result of this, I have Instructors of various levels under my supervision scattered throughout the world. The Hardcore Jeet Kune Do Chinese Gung Fu Association came about as an effort to unite everyone under my lineage, and have a specific curriculum followed by everyone and a ranking system by which members could progress in their Jeet Kune Do education. In other words, an organized structure for the learning of the skills and progression in rank.

As most people already know, there have been several groups and organizations formed in the name of teaching and promoting some version of Jeet Kune Do or another. Some are completely legitimate, while others are just out and out frauds, and have no business using the words Jeet Kune Do ... PERIOD. The most noticeable divisions are known as "Original" Jeet Kune Do and Jeet Kune Do "Concepts". The Original Jeet Kune Do practitioners prefer Bruce Lee's original teaching, training and fighting methods, and usually go to great links to preserve these elements. The Jeet Kune Do Concepts practitioners use some of Bruce Lee's ideas, and apply these ideas to various arts that they wish to train in. They may or may not have a strong foundation in Bruce Lee's original methods. There have also been some other offshoots, although based on what they are doing, I fail to see why they should even be using the term Jeet Kune Do in relation to what they are doing.

One person, who shall remain nameless, has even promoted himself using so-called "press releases" (which, as it turns out, were self made), saying that he is trying to stop fraud in Jeet Kune Do. Without a doubt, this person is the biggest fraud ever in the history of this art. It amazes me what people are getting away with these days. It is as if they have no conscience or morals whatsoever.

While I am definitely on the Original Jeet Kune Do side of the fence, I felt the need to separate myself from other "so-called" original groups that I would not want to be even mistakenly associated with. Especially with the existence of individuals such as the fraud that I already mentioned. The word "hardcore" definitely describes my approach to Jeet Kune Do, as we are all about the preservation, promotion and perpetuation of Bruce Lee's original teaching, training and fighting methods. We are also about the REAL WORLD application of Jeet Kune Do for self defense purposes only. There is no sport or competition aspect to what we do whatsoever.

Taking all of this into consideration, I adopted the term Hardcore Jeet Kune Do to describe what I do. Now anyone who hears the term Hardcore Jeet Kune Do knows immediately that it has to do with either me or someone under me. I guess you could say that it is a form of branding, and Hardcore Jeet Kune Do is my brand. While we do consider ourselves a "private" group, membership is open to all races and I welcome anyone with a serious attitude and proper morals to apply for training with me, after an extensive interview, of course.

Interviewer: Interesting. I noticed you use the words "private group", "serious attitude" and "proper morals". Most schools are open to anyone who walks in off the street with the money to join or the ability to sign a contract. What makes you different?

Sifu LMD II: I will not teach anyone that I feel would abuse the skills they want to learn from me. Therefore, we maintain the private club atmosphere. This gives us the right to refuse membership to anyone that we feel might abuse Jeet Kune Do. I want only those who have a serious need or interest in learning self defense, and want to come in and train hard toward achieving their goals. I have never believed in the use of martial arts for sport or competition, and have no interest in training someone for such things. We are also not into the "ground" thing, but instead prefer to stay on our feet. Going to the ground in the street can mean death.

I have some pretty strong morals, and prefer to teach those who share similar beliefs. I an a Christian by faith, and do not drink, smoke or use illegal drugs. I have a saying that goes like this ... "If you take care of your body, it will take care of you. If you let your body down, it will let you down". Working out and staying in shape are all a part of the Hardcore Jeet Kune Do lifestyle. Bruce Lee once said that fitness if the most important thing for a martial artist. Some seem to have misread that, apparently thinking that he said "fatness".

Interviewer: OK, the more I hear, the more I understand your use of the term "hardcore". And speaking of health, there have been some deaths in the Jeet Kune Do community lately. What do you have to say about that?

Sifu LMD II: My close friend, Sifu William (Bill) Holland passed away recently. He was the same age as me. He was a strong Christian man, a good husband, a good father to his kids and an awesome martial artist and highly respected Instructor. He had some health problems in recent years, and underwent heart surgery and had a stroke since then as well. I do not know exactly what the cause of his death was at this time, but I do know that it was a tremendous loss to all who knew him, and to the Jeet Kune Do world in general. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.

Of course, I am sure that everyone who knows anything about Jeet Kune Do knows about the passing of Sifu Ted Wong. Sifu Wong was an original First Generation student of Bruce Lee. He was loved and respected by all who knew him. I had the pleasure to meet Sifu Wong in Los Angeles in 1990. I also hosted him for a seminar in 1992. He was one of the kindest men that I have ever known, and a real pleasure to be around. He had a strong group of followers, many of whom are my friends, and his approach to Jeet Kune Do will be well represented by those who trained with him. His passing was a tremendous loss to the Jeet Kune Do community. May he rest in peace.

Interviewer: You are currently 54 years old. How is your health holding up, and what are your plans to help keep yourself going strong?

Sifu LMD II: I am in pretty good shape for my age, but I know that I could be in a lot better shape. I have been putting so much time into so many other things lately, that my personal workouts have been put on the back burner. I am now pretty much where I want to be with everything, so I have returned to my normal workout schedule. I have recently been working on my home gym, getting everything that I need to be able to just walk in there and get the best workouts possible. I recently acquired a professional gym quality lat pull down machine, which was the last thing I needed for my home gym to be complete!

Interviewer: So what is a "normal" workout schedule for you?

Sifu LMD II: I normally workout with weights six days a week, alternating between chest/shoulders/triceps and back/biceps/legs. Sometimes I switch it up and workout four or five days per week, based on what all I have going on at the time. I work abdominal and forearm specialization exercises everyday, and also put in some time on the stationary bike. As already mentioned, I go through the Sil Lim Tao form an average of five to eight times per day, and also put in some time daily on the mook jong, Wing Chun wall bag and the heavy bag, as well as other pieces of training equipment that I designed specifically for Jeet Kune Do training. Having my home gym completed really helps a lot, and there is no excuse for missing a workout!

Interviewer: How about your diet?

Sifu LMD II: I follow a sensible diet, concentrating on high protein/complex carbohydrate/low fat and try to take in as little refined sugar as possible. I actually attempt to avoid refined sugar completely. I drink several protein drinks a day, made from whey protein isolate and almond milk. I also try to get a couple of teaspoons of honey a day, along with some powdered cinnamon. I also try to drink lots of water, but never tap water. I am a strong believer in nutritional supplements, and take supplements several times throughout the day. I have been taking supplements for a long time, and I very seldom get sick or have any health problems at all. I am firmly convinced that my supplement routine, along with the fact that I do not drink alcohol, smoke or use drugs, is responsible for my continued good health.

Interviewer: I have heard that you have a huge library of martial arts and fitness books and videos. What kind of books do you like to read?

Sifu LMD II: I am definitely not one for fiction. All of the books/videos that I have are related to Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, street fighting, self defense, bodybuilding, physical training, proper diet and nutritional supplements. I also have a huge collection of books on Bruce Lee in all languages. I buy various martial arts and fitness magazines every month. I usually take several books and magazines with me whenever I travel, and spend a lot of time reading on airplanes and in airports. I usually keep a few Jeet Kune Do books in my car, just in case the opportunity to do some reading presents itself during the day. You can learn from all forms of media, and I am all about getting my hands on anything and everything that may teach me something new, or shed a different light on something that I am already doing.

Interviewer: The latest craze in the martial arts is MMA. What is your opinion of the MMA competitions such as UFC, etc.?

Sifu LMD II: No interest whatsoever ... NONE. If is ceased to exist today, it would not bother me in the least. I think it is easily the WORSE thing that has ever happened to the martial arts! As I stated earlier, Hardcore Jeet Kune Do is not about sport or competition. To be the best that you can be at something, you must set your target and stay focused on it. I stay focused on Hardcore Jeet Kune Do.

Interviewer: What training opportunities do you have available for those who are interested in training with you?

Sifu LMD II: I teach group classes, private lessons and training camps at my private training academy. The location is only known to those who have applied for and been approved for membership. I have class every Tuesday evening from 7:30 to 9:00, and twice a month on Saturdays from 2:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon. It is a private club, and prospective students must first apply for membership by email. I offer four three day training camps each year. I also travel frequently to teach seminars in other states/countries. Then there is my H.I.T. program. This involves two people coming in and training with me for a weekend (six hours or ten hours) or for an entire week (twenty hours). Longer periods of time can be arranged well in advance by appointment. A non-refundable deposit is necessary to hold the time slot once the dates have been set. I am also available for private or semi-private instruction by appointment.

Interviewer: Sifu Davis, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. It has been extremely informative.

Sifu LMD II: It was my pleasure. I hope that my words will be beneficial to someone.